Monday, June 26, 2017

Today, 200 years ago, a boy* named Patrick Branwell Brontë was born in Thornton. Judging by the family's later attitude to the only son, we can imagine the joy and pride of the family. There's a moral to that 19th-century attitude in his unhappy adult years, but let's not think of that today. Today should be a celebration of what was good in his life, which is a lot: his creativity, his humour and imagination, his charm, his way with words, his self-worth. Happy 200th, Branwell! We all know how you would be celebrating the day.

The Brontë Parsonage Museum will of course be marking the day. The Brontë Parsonage website has all the info.
A Brush with Branwell, 11am-4pm, Join us at the Museum for a spot of portrait painting! Have a go at painting Branwell (or yourself!) into the iconic Pillar Portrait. A family friendly workshop, all materials provided.
A short talk about Branwell and his life, 11.30am & 2pm. Join us for a walk around the environs of the Parsonage and find out a little about Branwell Brontë and his live in Haworth. If the weathers really bad, there will be a talk in our Learning area instead.
Meet John Brown, 11.30am-2.30pm. Branwell’s friend John Brown is in and out of the Parsonage today looking for him. John’s in chatty mood, so if you come across him today, he’s sure to share a few Branwell anecdotes…
'A Humble station?' - a screening of a documentary film about Branwell, 3pm. 'A Humble Station? Branwell Brontë's Calder Valley Years", is a new documentary film by Deep Lock Productions which tells the story of Branwell's years living and working in the Calder Valley, Yorkshire.
Branwell, worked on the burgeoning railways at Sowerby Bridge and later Luddenden Foot. With a reputation for drinking, opium and troubled love affairs, Branwell's story has not been looked on kindly by most biographers. However, Deep Lock Productions present a new assessment of Branwell, and the poetry and paintings he produced during his Calder Valley Years.
Filmed and directed by photographer and composer Alan Wrigley, whose score underpins scenic views of the valley, "A Humble Station?" is written and narrated by Calder Valley poet Simon Zonenblick, who has spent the weeks and months leading up to Branwell's bicentenary listening to artists, writers, historians and local people about the life and legacy of this much misunderstood man. With interviews from Brontë biographer Juliet Barker, Brontë Parsonage Collections Manager and author Ann Dinsdale, playwright Caroline Lamb, Performance Poet Geneviève L Walsh, historian David Cant and many, many more, "A Humble Station? Branwell Brontë's Calder Valley Years" is a whole new look at the legacy of Yorkshire's famous Brontë family, through the prism of the talented but troubled Branwell, and a celebration of the beautiful area where some of his most important art and writing were created.
According to Career Girl Daily, Jane Eyre is one of 'Six Books That Will Make You Believe You Can Achieve Anything'.
3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
When it comes to a group of girls way beyond their time, the Brontë sisters take the gold, writing classics at an age most of us were still fighting with our parents about curfews. Charlotte’s Jane Eyre is the original woman making it on her own in a man’s world. Jane represents the intelligent, quick witted, career orientated woman in a society where girls futures were decided by men – talk about a role model. After this classic, you can’t help but feel inspired to go out and achieve your goals. 
Would you describe Wuthering Heights as a ghost story? It is in this article from Times-News Online:
“Something about a ghost story has always intrigued me, especially British ghost stories like Emily Brontë’s “Wuthering Heights” and Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” said Winkler. “Whether tragic, symbolic or just plain horrific, a good ghost story not only gets the heart pounding and blood pumping, it stirs something deep in our souls. I’m looking forward to having that experience as I read the entries for The Apparitionist competition.” (Beth De Bona)
Author Javier Marías writes in El País (Spain) about his dislike for poet Gloria Fuertes (who is having a revival in the year of her centenary), partly because he believes she's only being praised because she was a woman. He goes on to list women writers who he believes worthy of the name.
En contra de esa supuesta y maligna “conspiración”, tenemos el pleno reconocimiento (desde hace ya mucho) de las artistas en verdad valiosas: por ceñirnos a las letras, Jane Austen, Emily y Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, Gaskell, Staël, Sévigné, Dickinson, Dinesen, Rebecca West, Vernon Lee, Jean Rhys, Flannery O’Connor, Janet Lewis, Ajmátova, Arendt, Penelope Fitzgerald, Anne Sexton, Elizabeth Bishop, en el plano del entretenimiento Agatha Christie y la Baronesa Orczy, Crompton y Blyton y centenares más; en España Pardo Bazán, Rosalía, Chacel, Laforet, Fortún, Rodoreda y tantas más. En realidad son legión las mujeres llenas de inteligencia y talento, a las cuales ninguna “conspiración” de varones ha estado interesada en ningunear. (Translation)
Controversy is on, of course, as told by another Spanish news site, El diario. We can't help but think of Charlotte Brontë disliking Jane Austen. Do you like the criticised author? Then why do you care what other writer's opinion of him/her is? It's just that - an opinion.

A columnist from China Daily recalls her mother picking Jane as her English name after Jane Eyre.  Rita Maria Martinez shares a video of her recent talk at Poetry at the Dali.

Finally, locals may be interested to know that Sunderland Echo is giving away two pairs of tickets to Sally Cookson's Jane Eyre at Theatre Royal Newcastle on Monday July 3rd.

* We we very tempted to name this post 'the boy who lived (unhappily)' as a tribute to Harry Potter, 'the boy who lived', who is 20 today, but in the end decided against it.

1 comment:

  1. We can also celebrate his reunion, from unrecognised Tate T10270 with NPG's disgraced 1444, 'formerly known as C. Bronte', sister Charlotte waiting 2 miles downstream. Most Bronte affectionados will recognise Branwell in T10270 (artist William Henry Hunt) instantly- and the concave eyebrow Leyland chose to show..(above). NPG's 1444 has new attachment. Hope all readers, especially fans of Branwell, get to see his lovely face at Tate, and discover the close fraternity of art and affection inspiring and encouraging the vulnerable teens. all, James