Saturday, June 05, 2021

The Honresfeld Collection is now on display at Sotheby's New York and so The New York Times puts the spotlight on some of its Brontë items (#SaveTheHonresfeldLibrary) in a slideshow.
Sotheby’s said recently that it would offer a “lost library” that includes a cache of Brontë material. “It’s just absolutely gobsmacking,” one Brontë biographer told me.
Highlights are on view in New York through June 9. See some of the rarities.
The star of the auction is an 1844 handwritten manuscript of Emily Brontë’s poems, with pencil edits by Charlotte. It carries an estimate of $1.1 to $1.7 million. If achieved, that would be a near-record for a modern English literature manuscript.
By comparison, the family copy of Thomas Bewick’s “A History of British Birds,” is a bargain, with an estimate of $42,500 to $70,800. The book — featured in “Jane Eyre” — includes copious annotations by Patrick Brontë, the family patriarch.
Other items at Sotheby’s speak to the sisters’ close bonds, like this diary-style note Emily wrote to Anne on her birthday in 1841.
Yes, that is a tiny drawing of Emily at her writing desk in the left-hand corner.
Can we save some love for the least successful sibling, Branwell? In an 1840 letter, he described how, “since my childhood,” he had dedicated himself to “literary composition.”
He died in 1848, his ambitions unfulfilled.
But how was this library “lost”? Known as the Honresfield [sic] Library, it was assembled by two Victorian merchant brothers. It fell out of public view in the 1930s after their heir died, and few scholars knew where the collection was, or if it was still intact.
Not everyone is overjoyed with the auction. The Brontë Society has called for the collection to be kept “intact and whole,” and available to the public. In 2019, the society raised nearly $800,000 to buy this matchbook-sized book written by a 14-year-old Charlotte. (Jennifer Schuessler)
We have noticed that Sotheby's (and therefore sites taking their info from them) spell it 'Honresfield' Library but it was always Honresfeld Library, as it was named after the house it was kept in: Honresfeld House. And hence the hashtag promoted by the Brontë Society: #SaveTheHonresfeldLibrary

The Yorkshire Post features the forthcoming book by Michael Stewart, Walking the Invisible, to be released on June 24th.
Around eight years ago, Michael Stewart embarked on two projects that have led him to a third.
In 2013 the award-winning Bradford-based writer initiated the idea of a literary trail celebrating the Brontës that would also showcase talented contemporary women writers.
Four stones were engraved with poems, written by Kate Bush, Jeanette Winterson, Jackie Kay and Carol Ann Duffy, representing each of the sisters and their legacy.
They were then placed in the landscape that inspired the Brontës’ writing and each stone has a walk associated with it. The project was launched in July 2018 at Bradford Literature Festival.
That year also saw the publication of Stewart’s well-received novel Ill Will sparked by the mystery surrounding Heathcliff who in chapter nine of Emily Brontë’s extraordinary story runs away, returning three years later, quite changed. Stewart’s novel, which is every bit as gritty, shocking and visceral as Emily’s, imagines what Heathcliff got up to during his absence.
“While I was researching both those projects I did a lot of walking up on the moors,” says Stewart. “I also recreated the walk that Cathy’s father Mr Earnshaw made in Wuthering Heights on foot from Yorkshire to Liverpool and the walk that Heathcliff takes in my book – I wrote that section of the book as I walked.
"It was a new way of writing for me – and it really opened things up. I started to think that something that hasn’t really been done before is a kind of hybrid memoir in which the reader walks the landscape with the writer.”
Hence his latest book Walking the Invisible: Following in the Footsteps of the Brontës which encourages people to visit significant locations connected to the Brontës.
“Walking up on the moors, I felt I gained a more profound understanding of the texts,” he says. “I first read Wuthering Heights when I was about 17 and I revisited it when I was writing Ill Will.
"Being out in the landscape definitely gives it another layer – I realised I hadn’t engaged with it fully before. So I think it is really important to encourage others to experience that and get out there.”
The book also contains maps of all the Brontë Stones walks, designed and beautifully illustrated by cartographer Chris Goddard, in the Wainwright tradition.
“When I was a kid I lived in a very urban area and didn’t really do any walking but I used to go to the library and look at the Wainwright books,” says Stewart.
“There is a lot of social history in them and he talks to people along the way; as a child I found them fascinating. Even though I had never been to the places he was describing, I just enjoyed the walks in my head.”
Aside from encouraging people to walk in the landscape, Stewart hopes his book might also lead to a reassessment of the literary sisters and explode some of the myths that have grown up around them. “The coarseness or roughness of the Brontës has been smoothed out over time,” he says.
“I think the heritage industry has done them a bit of a disservice by softening them and I want this book in part to restore their edginess.” (Yvette Huddleston)
The Epoch Times quotes from a poem by Andrew Benson Brown:
“But while you’re sinning, learn from novels:
There’s Rochester—he never grovels.
Onegin has great pistol aim.
Cruel Heathcliff swaggers to acclaim.
Ape Ahab for his hunting skill—
All men need some white whale to kill.”
A mock-epic roll call indeed. This seemingly casual run-through of heroic (deranged?) heroes of 19th-century novels, all with Byronic aspects to their character, is deftly done. (James Sale)
While The Examiner quotes from a poem by Emily Brontë in an article on whether there's such a thing as bad weather.
Emily Brontë concluded in her poem, Spellbound:
"Clouds beyond clouds above me,
Wastes beyond wastes below;
But nothing drear can move me;
I will not, cannot go." (Brian Wightman)
In an article on Marcel Proust, this contributor to The Independent looks back on her reading origins:
When I started reading, I was swept away. The fact now surprises me. I loved reading, but I was wonderfully ignorant, knew nothing of homosexuality or even sexuality, and hadn’t yet reached the age of university pretension. I would read anything and everything: Little Women side by side with Jane Eyre; the latest doctor and nurse romance; a comic or cereal packet. (Lisa Appignanesi)
CBC (Canada) quotes the words of writer Jenny Heijun Wills on why she 'keeps coming back to Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë'.
"The book that I always return to may surprise some people, but it's Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. It's a book that on the surface seems like something I would not be interested in. It's canonical literature. It's British literature. It's literature not authored by a writer of colour. But it is one of the earliest stories that I can recognize of trans-racial adoption.
"Depending on how people feel about Heathcliff, his childhood, the outcome of his life, it tells me a lot about how they understand the experiences of young people of colour being raised in white families." 
Jot Down (Spain) features the life and work of Jean Rhys.
De estilo moderno, mezclaba distintas voces y tiempos en una sola narración, pero su ideario permanecía en el filo del romanticismo, entre el sufrimiento de las mujeres no emancipadas y el rechazo frontal de los esquemas tradicionales, un feminismo visceral pero inteligente. De ahí su apego a figuras inmediatamente anteriores a ella, como las hermanas Brönte [sic] y Emily Dickinson, cuya rebelión se expresó de forma extraña, marginal. Las primeras se encerraron en los grandes espacios abiertos, los páramos de una naturaleza incontrolable. La segunda se recluyó físicamente y creó poesía ultraterrenal en un complejo claustrofóbico. Como ellas, Rhys caminó sola en un viaje continuo por ciudades y continentes, sintiéndose extraña en todas partes, salvo en el universo interior de la escritura. [...]
Por fin, en 1966, se publicó su última novela: Ancho mar de los Sargazos. Esta vez, el mundo entero quedó asombrado con una historia que era, de nuevo, la de Jean Rhys y la expiación personal con la que se castigó dura y excesivamente por el pasado de su familia. Pero ahora se había transmutado en un fantasma: un personaje de la novela de Charlotte Brönte [sic], Jane Eyre, que no dice una sola palabra. Rhys da voz a la primera esposa de Mr. Rochester, esa presencia amenazadora que está encerrada en el ático de la mansión Fairfax y que termina por destruir la hacienda y casi acaba con su marido. La mujer isleña con la que el protagonista se habría casado para lograr una dote, (la avaricia y las leyes puritanas: era hijo segundo y no heredaba un centavo de la fortuna familiar). Rhys no solo es capaz de convertir a ese personaje fantasma que merodea por la novela de Brönte [sic] en un ser humano con una historia extraordinaria de espíritus y venganzas, en la que también escuchamos la versión del joven marido y entendemos esta extraña relación, sino que consigue algo inaudito: que la novela sea una obra maestra a partir de otra obra maestra. Y que las lectoras no podamos volver a leer Jane Eyre con los mismos ojos: quizá la primera esposa de Rochester, la mujer pálida recluida en una habitación, no era una pobre loca con ataques de furia y ninfomanía, sino el resultado de un lento proceso de alienación de la política poscolonial y las fuerzas del nuevo orden capitalista. La obra de Jean Rhys permanece sólida ante las tormentas y el fuego. (Grace Morales) (Translation)
Mail and Guardian (South Africa) has an article 'In praise of African art: How Shona sculpting emerged'.
At the Cyril Jennings Hall, in the Salisbury township of Highfield, in a gesture in which Mugabe involved ordinary Zimbabweans in nationalism, Mugabe’s youth ordered the attendants, estimated to be between 15 000 and 20 000, to take off their shoes, ties and jackets, symbolic of their rejection of European civilisation. 
Those who were thirsty would be served water in clay pots which, until then, had been considered a mark of barbarity, to be used furtively, at night, at ceremonies to honour the ancestor dead. What was going on was reminiscent of  Heathcliff, who, in Emily Brontë’s great novel Wuthering Heights, cried out: “I shall be dirty as I please, and I like to be dirty, and I will be dirty.” (Percy Zvomuya)

Levante (Spain) interviews the writer Purificació Mascarell:

Voro Contreras: «Una historia inglesa», por ejemplo, es una lección de literatura gótica.
P.M.: Si me preguntaras nunca diría que mi literatura preferida es la inglesa. Pero después, pensándolo, me doy cuenta de que me he pasado la vida leyendo literatura inglesa y que siempre me ha gustado. Y por eso he querido hacer un homenaje llevado al presente a esas novelas de institutriz del siglo XIX, a las hermanas Brontë, a Poe, a la literatura gótica… (Translation)
Ghosts in El País Semanal (Spain):
En los primeros momentos del duelo, no deseamos escapar de la memoria, no queremos volver a la vida normal. La idea misma del consuelo suena a deserción, a falsedad, a despropósito. Durante las horas vacías, invitamos al espectro, le rogamos que nos obsesione y embruje nuestra casa. Así lo cuenta Emily Brontë, con torrencial romanticismo, en Cumbres borrascosas. Los protagonistas se enamoran, se traicionan y se aniquilan el uno al otro con desamparada crueldad. Parecen empeñados en destruir toda posibilidad de final feliz, pero cada vez se necesitan más. Cuando Catherine está a punto de morir, Heathcliff le suplica que lo persiga: “Hay espíritus que andan errantes por el mundo. Quédate siempre conmigo, toma cualquier forma, vuélveme loco. Pero no me dejes solo”. Emily escribió la novela mientras cuidaba a su hermano, enfermo de tuberculosis, durante largas vigilias agónicas. En su libro, las apariciones expresan un deseo que reconocemos bien: la permanencia del ser amado. Ella, la recluida hija de un pastor anglicano, pensaba que la fantasía es un distrito de lo cotidiano. Los fantasmas existen —aunque no sean reales— porque los necesitamos. No sabemos vivir sin los muertos. (Irene Vallejo) (Translation)
Noticias de Navarra (Spain) interviews writer Carmen Santos who picks Jane Eyre as her favourite book.


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