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The Brontë Society is in “crisis” and urgently needs to change the way it operates and address poor morale among staff at the Parsonage Museum, according to an expert.The Christian Science Monitor reviews Mallory Ortberg's Texts from Jane Eyre and picks one of Jane and Rochester's exchanges as a favourite.
The literary society’s recent extraordinary general meeting, called by 53 disgruntled members, was told by an independent adviser that it needed to review its structure and ask “whether it is now fit for purpose”.
In minutes seen by The Yorkshire Post, the adviser says that four problems faced by the Society added up to a “crisis situation”.
“You are currently without a chief executive of the museum, without a chair of your Council, you’ve got a body of staff who are asking for recognition by a union and you’ve got a group of members who have called an EGM. Any one of those individual situations would put any society under stress and pressure but having four at once is a very, very unusual situation.”
The adviser questioned the structure of the society.
“You are in a very unusual situation, as a literary society but with responsibility for a museum...you need to look at your structure and ask yourself whether it is now fit for purpose in the 21st century with the responsibilities that you have.”
The adviser said that museum staff were “clearly unhappy” and that it was clear that the Society board “should not be involved in the day to day running of any operation, that should be paid employees.”
The adviser added: “This board, for whatever reasons, are very involved in the day to running of that museum and that’s very unusual.”
One Brontë Society council member is quoted in the minutes saying that it had “made huge efforts to become strategic and to separate its work” from the running of the Parsonage.
Another member claimed that museum staff “feel undermined and interfered with, but do not speak about it”.
There was also criticism that the Society does not work closely enough with the village of Haworth, home of the museum.
The EGM was called by members who wanted to elect a new governing council but were unable to do so because of company law.
Yesterday a spokesman for the Brontë Society stressed that the transcript of the meeting was not an official document.
He said a governance review had started last year and will progress into 2015 with the support of an external advisor and a specialist in charity law.
Society members will be invited to participate in the governance review.
“We are aware that some members would like to see the Parsonage Museum run separately from the Brontë Society. However, the Parsonage Museum was given ‘in perpetuity’ to the Brontë Society in 1928 and has been run by Society members ever since...Any proposed changes to the constitution of the Society would be subject to a vote among the whole membership and would need to be put to the AGM in June 2015.” (Andrew Robinson)
1. Between Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester:The Christian Times joins the ranks of those trying to guess what Emily Brontë's poem in the title of the next episode of Sons of Anarchy may imply:
R: "AH YES MY CAGED SPRITE, COMMUNE WITH NATURE AND UPON YOUR RETURN RELATE TO ME THE VAGRANT GLORIES OF THE RUINED WOODS."
J: "do you really want me to describe my walk to you."
R: "MORE THAN ANYTHING MY POCKET WITCH."
J: "it is fairly cloudy out. looks like rain soon." (Molly Driscol)
. . . the title of the upcoming episode is actually taken from a poem written by Emily Brontë. The poem implies that there is death around the corner and a "sweet trusting child" could be involved in the plot. (Virginia D'Cruz)The Irish Times reports that a forthcoming auction
contains a handwritten set of lyrics for Kate Bush's first hit 'Wuthering Heights'. She wrote them out and posted them to a teenage fan who had contacted her record company requesting them. They are expected to sell for up to €2,500.The Brussels Brontë Blog looks into the connection between Constantin Heger and Constantin Meunier, a 19th-century Belgian artist. Escritoras inglesas writes in Pottuguese about Jane Eyre. Gordon Book Review Blog posts about Wuthering Heights. Vonnie's Reading Corner is reading Jane Eyre.