11 hours ago
Her first and only “proper” job after leaving Oxford, where she studied history, was as librarian and curator at The Brontë Parsonage in Haworth. “I would see writers coming in and researching for their books, but most of them them just looked at what other people had written. They ignored all that mass of original material we had there just waiting to be looked at.”PQ Monthly has an article on Céline Dion:
In the end, she was driven to write her own – much acclaimed – biography of the Brontës, which turned previous accounts pretty much on their head. “We’ve all bought Mrs Gaskell’s version of this isolated family living miles from nowhere, but Haworth is just four miles from Keighley. By the time the Brontës were there, it was a busy industrial area with 15 mills.”
As part of her decade of research Juliet spent read two years reading local newspapers of the time. “Addled my brain, but gave me so much information about the Brontës in the community that no one had ever bothered with before,” she says.
The Brontës ended up as a stonking great book, winning awards and establishing her as a writer who really knew her stuff. Despite its scholarship, it’s wonderfully readable.
“I hate it when academics just seem to write in their own language for each other and ignore everyone else,” says this Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature fiercely, over a cappuccino in the Little Chocolate Shop in Leyburn. “I want my books to be for anyone who’s interested.”
So she writes and rewrites them to get the tone just right, “treading that fine line between not making assumptions about how much people know, but not talking down to them either”. [...[
She has, she says, no great plans for another book ticking away at the back of her brain. “But there are a lot of anniversaries coming up in the next few years… Agincourt, various Brontës…”
You can be sure she’s not going to be sitting idly, resting on her laurels. She’s much too Yorkshire for that. (Sharon Griffiths)
For a glimpse of the career she might have had, had she and her managers desired to position as more of a daring, envelope-pushing artist, one can turn to “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now,” in which she collaborated with Meatloaf producer Jim Steinman. Inspired by “Wuthering Heights,” Steinman described this as his attempt to write “the most passionate, romantic song” he could. (Leela Ginelle)Culturamas (Spain) mentions that Le Fanu's tale A Chapter in the History of a Tyrone Family may have influenced Jane Eyre.