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Before Charlotte Brontë unleashed Jane Eyre on the world, she was already – in secret – an accomplished fantasy writer. Her and her writer siblings’ collaborative worlds of Glass Town and Angria are as complex as Game of Thrones: fantastical, magical kingdoms, steeped in violence, politics, lust and betrayal. In private letters, Brontë called it her “world below”, a private escape where she could act out her desires and multiple identities.
Written in dozens of miniature books, these manuscripts – with curious, secretive titles such as A Peep into a Picture Book, The Spell, A Leaf from an Unopened Volume – are not only an astonishing example of craftsmanship, but contain extraordinary, uncensored content. The Brontës’ father had poor eyesight and could not read them, so Charlotte was able to write in confidence. Over the course of 10 years, she created characters and events that became inextricably bound with her own selfhood, some of whom we know and love in her later works. (Emma Butcher) (Read more)
Major anniversary of her birth today, on 21 April. A ‘national treasure’, epitomising a certain kind of stoical, homely, female Britishness. Revered and adored by millions. Her family home a major tourist attraction. A life dedicated to self-sacrifice and the service of others. Plainly but elegantly dressed: not a follower of fashion. Rather severe-looking when not smiling.Metro lists the '14 life lessons we learnt from Jane Eyre'.
Yes, I’m thinking of Charlotte Brontë, and so should we all be, in this her 200th anniversary week. The third of six children of the Revd Patrick and Maria Brontë, all of whom died long before their father did, she wrote a revolutionary novel so grippingly, movingly brilliant that people still love it even if it was their set text.
‘There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.’ How I remember first reading that opening sentence of Jane Eyre as a teenager. I myself was avoiding a family outing in order to curl up with a book. The narrator goes on: ‘I was glad of it: I never liked long walks, especially on chilly afternoons: dreadful to me was coming home in the raw twilight, with nipped fingers and toes…’
Exactly. And, Reader, from that moment, you’re hooked. You become that ten-year-old girl, not wanting to go for a freezing walk, living a lonely, unloved life with a vicious aunt and cruel cousins. You are locked into the Red Room and are terrified. When the manuscript (under the masculine pseudonym Currer Bell) landed on the desk of the publisher William Smith Williams at 65 Cornhill in 1846, he was so gripped that he read the whole novel in one sitting, hastily scribbling a note to cancel a midday appointment and asking for sandwiches to be sent up. I know the feeling. This novel gives us the total satisfaction of the perfect Cinderella story. For many of us it was the first ‘grown-up’ novel we read, and it set the bench-mark for (a) novels and (b) our love lives. (Ysenda Maxtone Graham) (Read more)
A good book is always a great escape routeTracy Chevalier lists 10 surprising things about Charlotte Brontë for The Bookseller.
While living with her awful aunt Mrs Reed, Jane’s only escape is via the books she can read in secret and the stories Bessie tells her.
Books and stories are still just as good at helping you find your happy place today.
Suffering in silence won’t get you anywhere
Jane’s friend Helen accepts the cruelties and depravations of Lowood School with grace and stoicism, while Jane is more resistant.
Helen dies of typhus, Jane lives. There’s definitely a lesson there.
Always meet your boss before accepting a job
14 life lessons we learnt from Jane Eyre
Jane accepts her job at Thornfield without ever meeting Mr Rochester, then meets him and realises that he’s broody, cross and totally fanciable.
Would have been useful to know that before she took the job. (Abigail Chandler) (Read more)
Author Tracy Chevalier, creative partner of the Brontë Parsonage Museum in 2016, on 10 things about Charlotte Brontë to mark 200 years since the author's birth.Tracy Chevalier also appears on a video on Sky News on being 'fearless and brave' and how we could learn a thing or two from Jane Eyre.
1. Charlotte Brontë was tiny – 4 feet 10 inches at most, with a 19-inch (corseted) waist. That was small even in Victorian times, to the point where people remarked on it. She told her friend and biographer Mrs Gaskell that she bought children’s clothes.
2. She told ghost stories at her boarding school at night that entertained and scared her fellow students.
3. As a teenager she and her brother Branwell and sisters Emily and Anne made up fantasy worlds that they wrote literally millions of words about.
4. Charlotte had self-belief. Aged 20 she wrote to the Poet Laureate Robert Southey, asking him to look at some of her poems. That would be like sending Paul McCartney some tunes you had recorded and asking what he thought. Southey replied, famously writing: "Literature cannot be the business of a woman’s life, and it ought not to be." Charlotte wrote back politely; luckily for us, she ignored his advice. (Read more)
Nobody walks the Yorkshire moors in winter—as I soon learned one frigid December spent hiking through Brontë Country, where sheep outnumber people 20 to one. Emily Brontë described her native moors as “wuthering,” a word as haunting as it sounds: windy and roaring. When the skies opened and a pelting rainstorm swept in, my first thought was, Wuthering, indeed.Patricia Park also speaks about Charlotte Brontë on KUOW.
Woman versus nature is a recurrent theme in the classic novels of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë. Praised and disparaged alike for their wild imagination—one undoubtedly shaped by their harsh Northern landscape—they left a literary legacy that still speaks to readers two centuries later, hatching film and book retellings, and even a hashtag, #bronte200, to celebrate Charlotte’s bicentenary this April. Their legacy is all the more impressive given that none of the Brontës lived past the age of 39.
As a Brontëphile and lifelong lover of Jane Eyre ("Eyreheads," we’re called), I began my pilgrimage in the Yorkshire village of Thornton. The Brontës’ birthplace is now an Italian café called Emily’s by De la Luca Boutique—with scavenged school desks, French presses, and shabby-chic touches that read more Brooklyn than Blighty. A breakfast of steel-cut oats with milk and fresh berries seemed a fitting way to start my journey, though likely far more sumptuous than any porridge the Brontës would have endured.
The heart of Brontë Country is Haworth, the village where the family settled. From Thornton, the seven miles of impossibly narrow roads break into a vista of the Thornton viaduct. Built as a railway overpass in 1878, the bridge looks like a relic from Roman times. Haworth can also be reached by steam locomotive from Keighley village—the same train featured in the film adaptation of The Railway Children. (Read more)
It’s the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Brontë’s birth today, April 21.Bustle on Charlotte Brontë's death.
It makes me realise that for all his brilliance and understanding of human nature, Shakespeare never wrote a character that I could relate to.
Kate in The Taming of the Shrew was too shrill, Lady Macbeth too conniving, Juliet was too pure and The Tempest’s Miranda too naive.
The honour for creating a character that changed me, and the rest of the world (in my humble opinion), goes to Brontë’s Jane Eyre. (Blanche Clark) (Read more)
The celebrated author of the classic Jane Eyre was born on April 21, 1816, which makes this Thursday, April 21st, Charlotte Brontë's 200th birthday. Brontë died on March 31, 1855, at the young age of 38, so unfortunately she probably won't be able to attend any of her bicentennial celebrations. (Unless she joins us in zombie form, which, as fans of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies will attest, could get a little hairy. )And also on her marriage:
Brontë died just 9 months after getting married to Arthur Bell Nichols, a curate to her father. While it wasn't written on her death certificate, many sources report that Brontë was also pregnant upon her death. There is much speculation that Brontë may have actually died of extreme morning sickness, hyperemesis gravidarum, the same condition that Kate Middleton experienced during her pregnancy. Adding on to the tragedy, Brontë's unborn child died along with her.
However, her official death certificate attributes her death to phthisis, the same type of tuberculosis that had already claimed her talented sisters Emily and Anne, the authors of Wuthering Heights and The Tenant at Wildfell Hall, respectively. Emily died in 1848 and Anne died in 1849. Charlotte was the last of her five siblings to pass away. (Melissa Ragsdale) (Read more)
Run a quick web search of the phrase “Was Charlotte Brontë ever married?” and you’ll find yourself face-to-face with a rather grainy portrait of a gentleman sporting a pair of the most gorgeously manicured mutton chops the 1850s ever knew. (Seriously, I kind of want a set of my own.) But inquiring readers want to know: who was Arthur Bell Nicholls, the man behind the mutton chops? And what was accepting his marriage proposal like for the woman who gave us the unforgettably feisty, feminist, ahead-of-her-time character of Jane Eyre?The Independent (Ireland) lists the 'Top 8 quirkiest adaptations of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre'.
As it turns out Brontë, whose 200th birthday anniversary is on April 21, declined a handful of marriage proposals of her own — not unlike the leading lady of her classic novel Jane Eyre. Brontë ‘s first rejection of marriage occurred on March 5, 1839, to the Reverend Henry Nussey — the brother of Brontë’s lifelong girlfriend and pen-pal, Ellen Nussey. In the letter heard ‘round the world (or, at least, the letter that’s been quoted more times that I suspect Rev. Nussey would have preferred), the always-eloquent Brontë wrote: “My answer to your proposal must be a decided negative.” No mixed messages there, girlfriend. (E. Ce Miller) (Read more)
This daughter of an Irish-born clergyman was, along with the likes of Jane Austen and George Eliot, a pioneering figure in literature, as one of few women published back in those “Father knows best” Victorian times. (Her little sis Emily also wrote a bit; you may have heard of her novel Wuthering Heights, based on a Kate Bush song.)BBC has a special guide on what women today owe the Brontës. HeritageCalling lists seven buildings to mark the anniversary: the Parsonage, North Lees Hall, the Hathersage vicarage, Stone Gappe, Gawthorpe Hall, the Brontë birthplace in Thornton, the Old Bell Chapel also in Thornton,
Charlotte only brought out three novels during her lifetime – in fairness, her death at the young age of 38 may have had something to do with that – and of those, by far the most famous is Jane Eyre. More accurately, the only one anyone has ever heard of, outside English Lit faculties, is Jane Eyre.
But what an impact that one book has had on the culture. Wikipedia lists no less than 109 movie and stage versions, literary retellings, prequels, sequels and assorted other adaptations of Jane Eyre. And we’ve picked out some of the most interesting:
1. Legends Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine starred in a 1943 film version, directed by Robert Stevenson. Which is pretty impressive, though not as impressive as if the director was Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of Treasure Island who had died 49 years earlier. (Darragh McManus) (Read more)
Now, the enchanting love story is being recreated through dance, with Northern Ballet’s first show at the Cast theatre, Doncaster on May 19-21. Further dates follow at Richmond, Aylesbury, Wolverhampton, Stoke and Leicester.
David Nixon, Northern Ballet’s artistic director, said: “Having already adapted Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights it seems appropriate that Northern Ballet should also immortalise her sister’s Jane Eyre through dance and doing so in the bicentennial anniversary of Charlotte Brontë’s birth makes it all the more special.” (Ben Barnett)
To mark the bicentenary of the birth of one of Bradford's most famous daughters, seven buildings closely associated with Charlotte Brontë are being relisted by Historic England.
The buildings, three of which are located in Bradford, are having their entries on the list updated to fully acknowledge the important history of Charlotte Brontë, who was born 200 years ago today.
Haworth Parsonage, a Grade I listed building, (pictured) was the home to the Bronte family when the famous sisters were children and young adults, and their most famous novels were written there; Charlotte's Jane Eyre, Emily's Wuthering Heights, and Anne's Agnes Grey, and was also where Charlotte died in 1855.
The second Bradford building is 74 Market Street, Thornton, which is Grade II listed, and was the birthplace and home of the Brontë sisters until they moved to Haworth in 1820.
The ruins of the Chapel of St James in Thornton is also Grade II listed, and was where Charlotte and her sisters were all baptised and where her father Patrick was curate from 1815 to 1820.
The other buildings are in Lothersdale, near Skipton, in Ightenhill, Lancashire, and two in Derbyshire, including North Lees Hall, which was the inspiration for Thornfield Hall from Jane Eyre. (Martin Heminway)
Actor and comedian Steve Coogan is to set his next film in Haworth.The Boar has an article on Wide Sargasso Sea. Feminists and mental illnesses on Bustle. Actualidad Literatura (Spain) wonders how many final sentences you can identify.
The Alan Partridge star has collaborated again with Jeff Pope, who co-wrote Philomena, to pen another movie about a ten-year-old boy living in Haworth in 1976.
Coogan, 50, told Stuart Maconie and Mark Radcliffe on their BBC 6 radio show, that the script is 'serious but with some laughs'.
“Like Philomena, it's quite a heavy subject but you make people laugh, because there's nothing worse than seeing a very heavy and maudlin, self-righteous film,”he said.
“You've got to put a few laughs in there.”