Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sunday, June 17, 2018 10:20 am by M. in , , , ,    No comments
This is a very disturbing news item. Daily Express (not the most reliable source, we know) publishes the complaints of a current trustee of the Brontë Society (who is also accused of bullying a member of the staff of the museum) about missing items in the Brontë Parsonage collection:
But this is no novel blueprint – the drama is happening for real at the Brontë Society and it has led to an elderly trustee being partially banned from the Parsonage Museum in a row over “missing” family treasures worth more than £200,000.
Anne Simpson, 79, has been accused of “harassment and bullying” at the museum in Haworth, West Yorkshire, and now faces being forced out of the literary society which preserves the legacy of the Brontë family, the most notable members being Charlotte, Emily and Anne.
Mrs Simpson launched her own inquiry after noticing some items in the society’s inventory, including letters and books, were recorded as “not seen”, but claimed her concerns were brushed aside.
Shortly afterwards, Mrs Simpson received 60 pages of the last official appraisal of the Brontë Collection by auction house Christie’s in 2011.
According to the inventory, posted to Mrs Simpson by a museum source, Brontë artefacts worth £200,000 entrusted to the Parsonage were recorded as “not seen”.
The 15 items, mainly letters and books, donated or bought by society members, are believed to include two letters sent to former servant Martha Brown by the family in 1849 and 1854, together valued at £120,000.
Also worth tens of thousands is correspondence with artist JH Thompson, who produced a portrait of Charlotte, her suitor Henry Nussey and WS Williams, literary editor of publishers Smith Elder.
Mrs Simpson said she was assured by a staff member that they were all accounted for and regarded the case as closed, but the woman complained about her behaviour and she found herself accused of harassment, bullying, fiddling expenses and failing to attend meetings. All four complaints against her were upheld following an investigation.
Mrs Simpson said: “These allegations arose following my request, using due process, for information as to where certain items in the Parsonage Museum Collection were stored. My offers to go to mediation in order to resolve this dispute in private have been refused.” (...)
John Thirlwell, chairman of the society’s board of trustees, said: “The board investigated the concerns raised by Mrs Simpson and satisfied itself that the collection is completely safe and secure and managed in accordance with our accredited museum status.
“In not one of the Christie’s inventory documents is any item marked as ‘missing’ and the specific items referred to in the inquiry from Mrs Simpson are all accounted for and in secure storage. (Mark Branagan)
We wonder, in our naivety, wouldn't it be simpler to show the 'missing' items publicly and end the controversy?
EDIT: The Daily Mail (surprise, surprise) echoes the news. As does The Times.

The Guardian has an article about rose breeder David Austin:
At 92, Austin is still involved in the rose business, meeting every morning with his breeder Carl Bennett to discuss progress. The breeding programme continues apace. Nearly 60 years after his first rose, ‘Constance Spry’, made its debut, three new Austin roses were launched at the Chelsea flower show. Each took a decade or so to develop, from pollinating the parent plant to it finally going on sale to the public: ‘Tottering-By-Gently’ is a buttery yellow single rose that is great for bees and has particularly good hips; The Mill on the Floss is a mid-pink deeply cupped bloom; and ‘Emily Brontë’ is a variety with neat pale pink and apricot flowers. (Jane Perrone)
The Daily Mail interviews the television and radio presenter, Zoë Ball:
The book I give as a gift
I like looking in old bookshops and finding beautiful copies of the classics, so probably an old volume of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. I’m always moved by how she wrote it so young – it was published when she was 29, the year before she died. I find the Brontë sisters in general very impressive, as they managed to be so industrious in a time when women had so few opportunities. (Gwen Smith)
The Sunday Times reviews A View of the Empire at Sunset by Caryl Phillips:
This is not his first conversation with a dead female writer: The Lost Child (2015) was inspired by Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. Rhys, too, had entered into dialogue with a Brontë. Her final masterpiece, Wide Sargasso Sea (1966), explored the life of Jane Eyre’s Bertha before she became the madwoman in Rochester’s attic. Authorial interests, then, are gloriously tangled. (Lucy Atkins)
Anchorage Daily News reviews the novel The Wild Inside by Jamey Bradbury:
Bradbury, who has an M.F.A. degree from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro and has written for this newspaper, has also served in the Peace Corps and worked for two years as an assistant to the novelist John Irving. Irving has praised "The Wild Inside" as "an unusual love story and a creepy horror novel—think of the Bronte sisters and Stephen King." (Nancy Lord)
The Toronto Star talks about the TV series Southern Charm:
For a long time, its biggest juice revolved around Thomas Ravenel — a former politician and very definition of Good Ol’ Boy who once actually went to jail for 10 months for drug trafficking — and his on-off, way younger squeeze, the aforementioned Kathryn, whom he managed to knock up not once but twice! All within the span of the life of the show.
Think of them as a kind of inky-dark answer to Heathcliff and Catherine. With a dash of Get Out. (Shinan Govani)
El Tiempo (Argentina) interviews singer Julieta Venegas:
Sentada en un sillón al fondo de la librería Eterna Cadencia, en Palermo, Buenos Aires, Julieta Venegas lee ‘Jane Eyre’, de Charlotte Brontë. La novela publicada en 1847 es uno de los títulos que la cantante mexicana eligió para compartir con el público en la clase magistral de la temporada 2018 del Ciclo de Letras del Centro Cultural San Martín.
En la charla ‘Mi vida como lectora’, Venegas interpreta algunas de sus canciones y lee fragmentos de los textos que marcaron su experiencia como lectora. “Jane Eyre es un libro muy importante para mí. Como dicen los adultos cuando quieren que un niño lea: ‘Algún día vas a encontrar un libro en el que te veas reflejado’. Eso me pasó a mí con ‘Jane Eyre’ ”. (Natalia Blanc) (Translation)
Grazia (France) quotes actress Lily James saying:
"Ces personnages n'ont rien à voir les uns avec les autres mais partagent le même amour des livres. Ils s'échappent à travers les mots de Jane Austen ou Charlotte Brontë, c'est follement romantique. Le cinéma et la littérature ont cela de magique qu'ils font tomber les barrières." (Perrine Sabbat) (Translation)
Página 12 (Argentina) discusses Angela Carter:
Si se me pide una definición diré que Angela Carter es como una Karen Blixen/Isak Dinesen que se cayó en un burbujeante caldero con LSD hasta los bordes con Kate Bush como música de fondo. O una Brontë liviana de hermanas, independiente y trotamundos. En un mundo mejor y más justo, a Carter deberían volverse adictos los millones de jóvenes que se quedaron sin su dosis de Harry Potter o de vampirismo para escolares. (Rodrigo Fresán) (Translation)
Epic Reads publishes an excerpt from the upcoming novel My Plain JaneMille (et une) lectures de Maeve (in French) reviews Daphne du Maurier's The Infernal World of Branwell Brontë. The Sisters' Room reviews the Italian translation of Emily Brontë by Agnes Mary Robinson.


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