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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wednesday, February 25, 2015 10:33 am by Cristina in , , , ,    No comments
The Guardian reports that a copy of Thomas Bewick’s History of British Birds (mentioned in Jane Eyre) that belonged to Frances Currer is for sale.
A rare first edition of Thomas Bewick’s History of British Birds belonging to Frances Currer, the woman believed to have inspired Charlotte Brontë’s pseudonym of Currer Bell, has come to light.
Dubbed “England’s earliest female bibliophile” in Seymour de Ricci’s history of collectors, Frances Mary Richardson Currer’s library in her family home of Eshton Hall, Yorkshire, ran to 15,000 to 20,000 volumes. Among them lay Bewick’s classic of British ornithology - the work Jane Eyre is reading as Charlotte Brontë’s novel opens, and whose “enchanted page[s]” the author also celebrated in poetry. [...]
Currer herself would have been known to the Brontës, said the antiquarian bookseller Bernard Quaritch in its catalogue for the edition: she was the patron of the Cowan Bridge School, attended by Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte and Emily, and was known locally as a generous patron.
“It is thought that she was the ‘benevolent individual, a wealthy lady, in the West Riding of Yorkshire’ who gave £50 in 1821 to a fund to aid the impoverished and recently widowed curate of Howarth [sic] – Patrick Brontë,” said the bookseller.
The first page of the manuscript of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, who wrote the novel under the pseudonym Currer Bell – now believed to be taken from local patron Frances Currer.
In an essay, scholar Marianne Thormahlen goes so far as to suggest that “it is not impossible that Charlotte herself had access to Miss Currer’s books at some point”. Winifred Gérin, meanwhile, writes that “while a governess at the Sidgwicks, Charlotte had certainly heard much of their neighbour, Miss Frances Mary Richardson Currer, of Eshton Hall, Skipton, whose property touched Stonegappe, and whose library was famous throughout the north”.
“There are many points of contact between Currer and the Brontë family,” said Mark James at Bernard Quaritch, “but frustratingly, as far as I know, it is not known whether Charlotte and Frances Currer ever met.”
Despite this, the bookseller writes in its catalogue that it is “generally thought” that Frances Currer inspired the Currer Bell pseudonym Charlotte Brontë would go on to adopt. The novelist would later write that she and her sisters Emily and Anne, who took on the pseudonyms Ellis and Acton Bell, made the “ambiguous choice” of names because of a “sort of conscientious scruple at assuming Christian names positively masculine, while we did not like to declare ourselves women, because — without at that time suspecting that our mode of writing and thinking was not what is called ‘feminine’ — we had a vague impression that authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice”.
Bernard Quaritch acquired Currer’s edition of British Birds at auction from the estate of a private collector, and has priced it at £5,000. Just 1,000 volumes were printed of the first volume and 1,750 of the second, and James at the antiquarian bookseller said that “sets in very good contemporary bindings like this are scarce”. [...]
Bewick’s work was popular for its wood engravings depicting birds in their natural habitats. The Brontë children’s own edition was much read and copied, Christine Alexander going so far as to write in The Brontës in the World of the Arts that “the profound effect that Bewick’s two-volume History of British Birds, in particular, had on the creative development of the Brontës cannot be overestimated”. (Alison Flood)
The Huffington Post on 'How To Be Married To A Writer'.
You have a very hard time believing the Brontë sisters sat around the fire every evening and took the piss out of their father and brother. Perhaps you should have married a modern-day equivalent of a Brontë sister, although to be honest, that doesn't sound like a whole lot of fun, either -- all that depressed scribbling in journals in itty-bitty handwriting and pressure to take part in the parish and whatnot. But still, you believe the Brontë sisters respected their menfolk. At least more than your wife does. (Katherine Heiny)
Vulture has a recap of episode 10 season 19 of The Bachelor in which
 Chris looks longingly to the sea as Becca strolls back and forth aimlessly, like two leads in a tropical Brontë novel. (Ali Barthwell)
Beware of spoilers in this analysis of the second season of Broadchurch on Digital Spy.
By far the most successful additions to the Broadchurch cast in series two were James D'Arcy and Eve Myles as damaged Heathcliff and Cathy wannabes Lee Ashworth and Claire Ripley.
Their relationship was every bit as fascinating as it was toxic and it's been quite a marvel (no pun intended) these past weeks watching D'Arcy simultaneously play out two hugely contrasting performances - as Lee and as mannered gentleman Edwin Jarvis on US series Agent Carter.
Torchwood star Myles meanwhile played wonderfully against type as the troubled Claire - her chemistry with D'Arcy, with David Tennant, with Olivia Colman, was hypnotic and the ambiguity of Claire's relationship with Hardy (did they? didn't they?) was engaging. (Morgan Jeffery)
And finally The Guardian describes Cary Fukunaga's take on Jane Eyre as 'critically adored'.


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