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Dying of tuberculosis is such a cliche. Tell that to Keats and Kafka. And it hasn’t hurt the Brontës’ memory, which is getting a further boost now that it’s the bicentenary of Charlotte’s birth, with Branwell’s to follow next year, Emily’s the year after and Anne’s in 2020.Jezebel's Pictorial also gives voice to a very sarcastic Charlotte Brontë.
Wow. So how is the Brontë Society marking these exciting anniversaries? By shouting at each other and resigning.
Oh dear. At its AGM on Saturday, members heard that five people from the governing council had stepped down since Christmas. The chair, John Thirlwell, was barracked, causing him to reply: “I’m just trying to deliver my report, if that’s all right with you.” Former chair Alexandra Lesley tried to explain why she left the post after just six months (“a lot of bad behaviour”), but was cut off after her allotted three minutes, upon which another member began “screaming” the words “let her finish” repeatedly until he was threatened with expulsion.
Crumbs. What are they all so angry about? That’s a little murky. They seem to have split into two factions, the “modernisers” and the “conservatives”, who are now battling for the society’s soul.
I see. A bit like Iran then, or the Labour party? Yes. One conservative said that when she saw the modernisers’ new rules, “I felt like I had come into the Stasi!” There was even a failed attempt to exclude a journalist who was taking notes.
Pesky journalists. Putin and Erdoğan and Morsi wouldn’t stand for this. No indeed.
Do say: “The society needs a strong leader who can restrict the media and declare martial law.”
Don’t say: “How about Sepp Blatter? He seems to be out of work.”
There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.New Republic's Minutes accompanies an article with a wonderfully selected gif and this quite appropriate opening sentence:
I was glad of it, dear Reader, for I had never liked walks, preferring instead the company of a dear book where, a poor, unloved, plain woman like myself could find solace. Few individuals could entertain me or bring me that joy of familial love that I so longed for. Yet, there was one small group of passionate intellectuals who could, a few fleeting moments during a grey and balmy day, pry me from my melancholic solitude, giving me the companionship that no human can live entirely without. That group of motley intellectuals called themselves the Brontë Society.
It was with the Brontë Society, rather conveniently named for both myself and my less talented sisters, that I convened with, speaking of Haworth, a small and humble home where the boon of my sisters’ affections gave me a silent fortitude. I was happy at Haworth, happy in a peculiar kind of way. Giving to the untimely deaths of my sisters—kind Anne and monstrous Emily—the Brontë Society provided me with all the human companionship that a queer little bird like myself could stand. So, imagine, dear reader, the pangs of my disappointment on Saturday when my little society of the like-minded descended into a cruel chaos.
The hideous and degrading agonies of the Society’s chaos had been looming for years. Eager ladies and solemn gentlemen had left the Society before, a disagreement lasting some two years had led to the resignation of some fine individuals. Yet on Saturday, that gloomy day, as I took my humble and half-broken chair, the only chair that a wretched beast like myself deserves, I fell deeper into my melancholy when I learned that five more members had quit the Society’s counsel.
And not even a year after President Bonnie Greer quit her position at last year’s annual meeting. Why, dear reader, Ms. Greer, having such a fortune that afforded her fine clothes—not like the mere tweeds of my own humble dress—was once forced to use the heel of her Jimmy Choo shoes to keep order. The spectacle of that fine lady wielding her foreign shoes with such forceful power was enough to drain what little blush I had on my plain cheeks, replacing it with a stark pallor more befitting my situation.
Arguments broke out among the group, such small disagreements manifested themselves with such rage that it seemed that fire rose up from the curtains and burned the room. But alas, that was simply my imagination; there was neither nun, nor fire, nor infamous daughters of infamous mothers. There was simply the Reverend Peter Mayo-Smith, who, according to the Telegraph, the only newspaper I allowed myself, was upset by the presence of a journalist. The Reverend Mayo-Smith who for many years had kept books for the Society objected to the journalist’s presence. It was hard to disagree with the grim Reverend, as journalists can be so gruff of manner and forceful in presence; their society generally unwanted. (Read more)
The Brontë Society has become Wuthering Fight Club. (Alex Shephard)Geographical's Discovering Britain takes a look at a quieter Brontë-related place: Thornton.
Old Thornton still keeps a secret. ‘You’re actually sitting on the spot where all three of the Brontë sisters were born,’ says Mark de Luca, a chef who has recently renovated the parsonage where the writers were born into ‘Emily’s’ café.While Burnley Express also boasts of local connections to the Brontës.
I whip around in my seat to look at a small fireplace behind me, its mantle piece topped with recent histories and illustrations dedicated to the authors, Anne, Emily and Charlotte. ‘We think that, because it’s likely that the mother would gone to the warmest part of the house,’ he says.
‘What we often get are international tourists who have read Brontë books as part of English literature courses. We’ve had Australians, Japanese and American students – people who have been influenced by Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre.’ De Luca occasionally finds the commitment of bookish pilgrims overwhelming. ‘You can spot them coming for miles,’ he jests, ‘they often try to go wandering upstairs, which is just a house now. One was so excited she was visibly shaking.’
Among Britons, Thornton tends to be overlooked. ‘If tourists do come,’ says Derry, ‘they tend to go to the village of Haworth, three miles north of here, where the Brontës moved and grew up.’
In Thornton, meanwhile, the birthplace-as-café aptly speaks to the working heritage of the village, it’s been lived in and used. ‘It has had many manifestations since the Brontës lived there,’ says Derry. ‘It’s been a butcher’s shop, a baker’s, a grocer’s. For a long time, it would have just blended in, it’s only now that the village is just starting to get recognition for its history.’ (Laura Cole)
An exhibition celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of one of our best known author’s birth will go on display in Padiham in June.Key 103 lists the best spots for a romantic picnic such as Yorkshire.
The Literary Lions exhibition will feature Charlotte Brontë and will be at Gawthorpe Hall from this Saturday (June 18th) until Sunday October 30th.
The display showcases the effect that the Jane Eyre author’s friendships, especially with Elizabeth Gaskell, and her visits to Gawthorpe Hall staying with the Kay-Shuttleworth family had on her literary legacy.
The social importance assigned to Charlotte and to Elizabeth Gaskell, by Sir James Kay-Shuttleworth, will also be illustrated. Some of the objects featured in the exhibition have been loaned from the Brontë Parsonage Museum including personal effects owned by Charlotte.
An original letter written by Charlotte to Janet Kay-Shuttleworth, after her first stay at Gawthorpe Hall, is also on display. This has rarely been on public display previously.
Other items include period costume dress from the Gawthorpe Textiles Collection. The exhibition also looks at what Padiham would have been like when Charlotte visited. A pharmacy book from the 1830s, with prescriptions for the Kay-Shuttleworth family, is also on display. This has never been on public display previously.
County Coun. Marcus Johnstone, cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, said: “We know that Charlotte stayed at Gawthorpe Hall twice, and the exhibition will bring out the connection between Charlotte, Elizabeth and the powerful Kay-Shuttleworth family.
“Visitors will be able to gain an insight into what the hall would have been like when Charlotte visited, and also what Charlotte felt about her visits and the adulation she received from Sir James Kay-Shuttleworth.
“Anyone interested in the Brontë’s and their legacy, and also British literature, will find this really interesting.”
From the inspiration for Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, Yorkshire has so many great places for a romantic picnic.Catholic Courier has some recommendations for summer reads:
Orphan Train, a novel by Christina Baker Kline, features the stories of two girls separated by more than 70 years and half a continent. Both children are outsiders, not only because of their life among strangers, but because Molly is a Penobscot Indian and Vivian was an Irish immigrantThis columnist at Austostraddle recalls how she was first introduced to the comic Strangers In Paradise.
Molly, a 17-year-old girl about to age out of the foster system, steals a book (Jane Eyre, no less!) from the school library. The punishment is community service hours, and these lead her to Vivian’s house. As a 9-year-old, Vivian was scooped up by the Children’s Aid Society in New York City and sent to the Midwest to be fostered by any farm family who needed field hands. (Juli Palma)
I was 23 or 24, standing in Galactic Quest comic book shop in Buford, GA, when the owner, Kyle, pressed Strangers in Paradise into my hand. He asked me what kind of books I liked to read and I blurted out “Wuthering Heights” for some reason, and he laughed and told me to take the first SiP trade paperback. He said if I liked it I could come back and pay for it later, and if I didn’t, I could just pass it along to someone else who had a thing for female protagonists who love so deeply the weather changes with their moods. It was a good Brontë joke and when I laughed he flipped the book over and showed me the cast of characters on the back cover: “This is Katchoo,” he said. “She’s in love with her best friend, Francine; this is her. She thinks she’s in love with Freddie, but she’s just scared to admit she’s in love with Katchoo too.” (Heather Hogan)Variety reviews the film Blood Stripe concluding that,
The warm-and-fuzzy church group, Lipinski’s conventional Heathcliff-like romantic figure, the poorly integrated thriller elements (a more congruent film would’ve made those local yokels a constant phantom menace) and a vague, unconvincing climactic catharsis all weaken what had initially seems a tougher-minded film. (Dennis Harvey)My Interdimensional Chaos reviews Lyndsay Faye's Jane Steele.