Christmas Lunch and Entertainment 2016 - The annual Brontë Group Christmas Lunch took place last Saturday, 3 December. Around 40 members turned up to enjoy a three-course meal, drinks and entertai...
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pp. 1-2 Author: Adams, Amber M.
Charlotte’s Letter, Heger and the Shoemaker
pp. 3-10 Author: Bracken, Brian
On 18 November 1845 Charlotte Brontë wrote the last of her four surviving letters to Constantin Heger. The letter’s margins contain some pencil notes mentioning a Brussels shoemaker, most probably written by the Belgian professor. Over the years, several Brontë critics have contrasted the desperate fire of Charlotte’s words in this letter, to which Heger never replied, and the seeming banality of his jotted notes. Was this really all he had to add to his former pupil’s impassioned pleas? Charlotte’s letter to Heger has been commented on by a multitude of critics, while its marginal notes have never been subjected to any close analysis. This article attempts to establish, firstly, what is written in the notes and, secondly, to give a plausible reason why Heger might have written them – a reason which may show that the notes are, ultimately, not banal.
Joseph Henry Dixon’s Oatlands Museum, Harrogate
pp. 11-28 Author: Wood, Steven
J. H. Dixon’s Wuthering Heights Collection at Oatlands in Harrogate was an outstanding private museum which was devoted to the Brontës, J. M. Barrie, domestic furnishings and textile machinery. Despite its very considerable importance it has been almost totally forgotten since it was broken up a century ago. This, the first study of Dixon, his collections and his museum, should go some way to correcting that neglect.
Lockwood the Liar: a Call to Reconsider Wuthering Heights as a Metafictional Work on the Limits of Narrative
pp. 29-38 Author: Frangipane, Nicholas
Wuthering Heights is full of hints that Lockwood could not possibly know everything that he narrates: he stretches our belief in the abilities of human memory and his rendering of outside sources reminds us that he is doing more creative writing than recording. I think this reveals that Wuthering Heights is a novel about writing, a metafiction, and that there is a secondary aim of the book: by showing that the process of narrating must lead to fabricating, the novel calls into question the mimetic abilities of fiction and, ultimately, the usefulness of narrative as a mode to transmit knowledge.
Weather in Wuthering Heights
pp. 39-47 Author: Tytler, Graeme
References to weather in Wuthering Heights deserve critical attention for the ways in which they are incorporated in the text. Noteworthy, among other things, is the extent to which such references underpin the realism of the narrative, doing so through mention of all manner of weather conditions, including extremes of heat and cold, to say nothing of the contradictions now and again shown to exist between weather and seasons. But as well as being of structural or thematic interest, Emily’s weather references are especially important for throwing light on some of the characters, Lockwood and Nelly Dean in particular, both of whom are conspicuous for their concern with weather, though not always with good reason. How far weather also serves a symbolic function in the novel is a question which, though given due consideration here, admits of only tentative answers.
‘The toad in the block of marble’: Charlotte Brontë’s Figures in Stone
pp. 48-59 Author: Taylor, Susan B.
Building upon scholarship about the Brontës and the visual arts, this article connects Charlotte Brontë’s writings to the art of sculpture through her figures in stone. Beginning with an analysis of the strik-ing image of a living toad imprisoned in a block of marble found in Shirley and in a letter by Charlotte Brontë, this article examines her sculptural portrayals of characters and, ultimately, her depiction of the writer-as-sculptor in her portrait of Emily Brontë in the 1850 ‘Editor’s Preface to the New Edition of Wuthering Heights’, to demonstrate how sculpture informs her understanding of women’s vitality and creativity.
Appearing Before the Public: Charlotte Brontë and the Author Portrait in the 1830s
pp. 60-74 Author: North, Julian
This essay reassesses Charlotte Brontë’s attitude to the pub-lic visibility of the author by looking at her early art work and writings. The fo-cus is on two pencil drawings she made of characters from the juvenilia: Alexander Soult, a poet, and one of Branwell’s pseudonyms, and Zenobia Marchioness Ellrington, known as ‘the Madame De Staël of Verdopolis’. The essay situates Charlotte’s visual and verbal portraits of Soult and Zenobia within a broader culture of the author portrait in the literary albums and magazines of the 1830s. It identifies, for the first time, her sources for the image of Zenobia, and links her fantasy author portraits to Branwell’s ‘Pillar’ portrait.
‘Roland’ or ‘Rowland’?
pp. 75-82 Author: Gamble, Bob
In February 1840 the Brontë sisters gave the Reverend William Weightman a Rowland for his Oliver, in playful response to the valentines he had sent. Their use of the anglicised variant of the name ‘Rowland’ may have greater significance than previously thought. This article looks more deeply into William Weightman’s relationship with the Walton family of Crackenthorpe and other Westmorland figures of the time.