Friday, December 02, 2016

Here's a lesson on how you should read everything carefully when going to an exhibition and then tweeting about it. Also a lesson on how to go 'viral' by posting something that's not actually real. We have read the following article in Metro, which also gets points for not checking information gleaned online:
But however goth you think you were, Charlotte Brontë (the one who wrote Jane Eyre, not the one who wrote Wuthering Heights) has got you beat, because she literally repaired her shoes with the actual honest to God hair of her dead siblings.
We sh*t you not.
The museum caption, which is pretty blase about this incredible fact, reads ‘long walks over damp ground caused damage to Charlotte’s mourning shoes which she meticulously repaired with the hair of her departed siblings. A sprig of heather, symbolising solitude, is believed to have been stitched with Emily’s hair.’
To be fair, what else is one supposed to do when one’s mourning shoes spring a hole?
Maybe it’s morbid, but we’re quite impressed with Charlie’s needlework skills. Embroidering a sprig of heather using hair can not be easy.
At last look the tweet had over 13,000 likes which (probably) makes them the most popular Victorian mourning shoes on the internet. (Rebecca Reid)
This all comes from this tweet:

The tweet is truly popular and as @bookwitchsara reports it's been liked and retweeted by people like Lin-Manuel Miranda (the staff of the Brontë Parsonage Museum would welcome him at the museum while he's in the UK).

Brontëites with common sense as well as visitors to the Charlotte Great & Small exhibition at the Brontë Parsonage Museum with the ability to read captions properly and understand what they are seeing are rolling their eyes by now. For everybody else, here's a couple of tweets by the same user after receiving an enlightining reply by artist Serena Patridge:

@bookwitchsara has pinned the following tweet at the top of her timeline:
And today's cautionary tale in a nutshell is: think before you tweet!

Anyway, onto real things now. The Boston Globe interviews writer Alice Hoffman about books:
BOOKS: What books have had a big effect on you?
HOFFMAN: Emily Brontë’s “Wuthering Heights” was extremely important to me. So was reading Toni Morrison for the first time. When I read Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye” that was the first time I felt my mind blow open. I thought that book was speaking to me. I was 12 or 13 when I read that. I read everything on my mother’s bookshelves. I read Betty Smith’s “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” all of Shirley Jackson’s books, which I loved. I read “The Group” by Mary McCarthy. It had tons of sex in it, or so I thought at the time. (Amy Sutherland)
Another bookish interview, to Anna Kendrick, in The New York Times:
What kind of reader were you as a child? Which childhood books and authors stick with you most?More serious than I am now. The year I turned 12, I read “The Crucible,” “Jane Eyre” and “The Great Gatsby,” and after I finished each one I was beside myself with rage. Abigail Williams and Daisy Buchanan never get their comeuppance, and Jane never gets to go off (Jerry Springer style) on the Reed family? I’m still mad about it.
The Telegraph has writer Stephenie Meyer recommend a few books and among them is
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. My favorite protagonist. She has a harsh beginning and a limited future but she has integrity.
The Seattle Times has already selected the best books of 2016 and one of them is
Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart” by Claire Harman (Knopf). There have been many biographies of Charlotte Brontë over the years, but Harman’s had this dyed-in-the-wool Brontë fan mesmerized: the details of life at Haworth are told with an almost cinematic vividness, and the excerpts from Brontë’s recently published letters add a moving intimacy. (Moira Macdonald)
Deadline gives the date for the American broadcast of To Walk Invisible:
On March 26 a Masterpiece special, The Brontës: To Walk Invisible, chronicles how Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë’s genius for writing romantic novels was, recognized in a male-dominated 19th-century world. [...]
The Brontës: To Walk Invisible” on MASTERPIECE – Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë, all unmarried, faced a bleak future. Unable to rely on their alcoholic brother or near-blind father to provide for them, they worked as governesses to privileged and often unruly children. This is the story of how — against all odds — their genius for writing romantic novels was recognized in a male-dominated, 19th-century world. Sunday, March 26, 9-11 p.m. ET (Lisa de Moraes)
Keighley News shares the programmed walks in the area for the Christmas season and Adventure Travel Magazine includes a 'Brontë walk' on its selection of '9 of the best winter hikes in the UK'.
Calling all literacy fans, this one’s for you. Haworth is notorious for its association with the Brontë sisters who lived their short but fruitful lives within the village, where they wrote outstanding literacy works, keeping the Haworth Moors popular in the centuries to come. However, the Brontë Walk has a lot to offer, even if you’re not a fan of the literature.
The walk takes you out of Haworth, towards the Brontë waterfalls and infamous Top Withens – the supposed setting of Wuthering Heights. In the winter months, the purple moorland will be covered in a sheet of overwhelming white, with a chilling atmosphere that can be warmed with a post-walk visit at a Haworth pub. (Sophie Goodall)
As you probably know, Tracy Chevalier is doing a Brontë calendar on Twitter, opening a new window each day at 2 pm GMT. Here's yesterday's lovely start:


  1. A cautionary tale for us all! Thank you. I do think though with all the amazing exhibits that the Bronte Parsonage holds I would have loved to have seen a more 'Bronte-related' exhibit in their first advent opening. That is just my opinion of course. I know the card is lovely but the Parsonage hold so many treasures that are not on display at the moment.

  2. Ok Let me stress something because I think you are totally unfair as I also visited the museum four times while I was in Haworth this year. Those shoes are in one of two cases mixed in with real artifact cases stored in an original room in the Parsonage, Those cases are NOT clearly marked and it's very easy to mix reality with artistic fraud. If anything, the Parsonage should be slapped hard on the face for not clearly separating out this exhibit either with a larger sign of some kind, or in the main exhibit part of the museum.

    1. Be advised you are EDUCATING and inspiring people who may know very little about the Bronte's, and this trickery and joking has very little benefit but to build distrust and throw shadow on the some educated elite class.

    2. We don't need to be advised on anything, thank you. We are not the Brontë Society or the Brontë Parsonage. We are not related to the exhibition and we certainly are not, and we do not intend to be, EDUCATING anyone.

      Maybe the Brontë Society was thinking too highly, a known habit of the educated elite class, of the ability to read and integrate an artistic exhibition in the context of an ordinary museum and should have warned visitors about this trickery and joking (maybe a large font sign saying TRICKERY AND JOKING HERE would suffice).

      Or maybe, just maybe, all of this doesn't come from the Brontë academical elites just having a laugh at the expense of the poor visitors and later smirking at their errors but it's just a sign of the times: we're no longer in Bauman's liquid times, but in the more muddy and stinky post-truth times.

    3. Post truth infatuation, lingo, and deflection will not erase the crimes committed against the common Bronte visitor -- poor and struggling as they are -- who have made it their life goal to save their half pence for a chance to travel to Haworth, learn something about the richness of life in the village and adore the Parsonage. They are driven. Learn they must; trust they give freely, entrusting the reputation of the museum and the staff. How shocking for them to have their legs tripped by the chains of the educational and liberal elite who devised this fraud. Next time our visitors will carry a shillelagh and hold their donations close. Or better yet, they should take the Parsonage to court. Sue for intellectual damages and false advertising. They deserve every penny. This is not serving the Bronte memory. It is obscuring it. It is DEVALUING the worth of the authentic objects we DO have.

      Perhaps this is just further evidence of institutions misbehaving to enable mimesis instead of taking a mature lead to squash it with their entrusted responsibility of guarding the authentic and inspiring relics that adorn within those walls. Perhaps the Parsonage couldn't take the responsibility and pressure, were bored with having to do that day in day out, year per year, and wanted, for some dark, sick reason, to poke a spear in their visitors arse and make them bleed. Certainly, they could have put up a sign over the boxes with a clear indication this was an ART exhibit and credits -- not a joke or any blatant message of that. Certainly, they had plenty of room in their main exhibit to add these items so they could clearly be segregated from official primary sources. They did none of that. No it was not a mistake. They made no effort and they had plenty of time last year. CHARLOTTE GREAT AND SMALL is an ambiguous title, not leading to authenticity or warning, not easily parsed considering the viewers main focus was on the art object which drew the visitors attention and fascinated them with it's quirk.

      As a society member, I am appalled; and as much as you, yes you, pretend to be separated and dance in the fogs of post-modern post truth jumbo mumbo, I can still hear the ghost of a small snort and a snicker as your originally wrote this blog article -- clear across the oceans that separate us. I now wonder if you carry a spear or maybe a pitch fork. Come clean. Are you Satan too?

      Bronte rocks. Bronte will lead us in the second coming of Charlotte. No one should distort that message. Perhaps Tracy Chevalier is nothing but the AntiChrist. And yes she's a fraud of a writer as well.

    4. How lovely. We hadn't had a troll in years. And an alt-Brontë lookalike troll. But, you know, we don't make this blog for trolls and stupid discussions. Look somewhere else.