Saturday, May 29, 2021

A highly recommended article in The Guardian on why the Honresfeld Collection should at least stay in a public archive in the UK.
The Brontë Society is calling for immediate government intervention to prevent the “priceless” literary treasures of the Honresfield Library, which include a rare notebook of Emily Brontë’s poetry, from disappearing back into private hands at auction.[...]
But the trustees of the Brontë Society are calling on MPs to take action to save the “unique” collection for the nation. Describing the library as “unrivalled in its holdings of northern British literary treasures”, the society has written to all northern MPs and elected mayors warning that the Sotheby’s auctions will see “trophy items” acquired “at prices beyond the reach of British museums and libraries”, with many liable to “disappear into the bank vaults of international private investors”.
“This calculated act of heritage dispersal has no regard for matters of curation, conservation, scholarly access or public benefit,” writes chair Trish Gurney. “The Honresfield Library is not just paper and ink, but cultural good.”
Oxford academic Professor Kathryn Sutherland, who is working with the society, warned that “without immediate government intervention in the public interest a national collection hidden for 100 years will soon be scattered piecemeal across the world – perhaps never to be seen”.
Sutherland suggested that the library would be “the perfect founding collection for projected developments at British Library North”, which is being planned for Leeds.
“We urge its purchase intact and whole in the national interest. Retained as a coherent collection, it will repay scholarly investigation and provide enjoyment for all lovers of literature for the next 100 years,” said Sutherland.
Ann Dinsdale, the principal curator at the Brontë Parsonage Museum where the family lived, described the manuscripts as priceless.
“My ideal would be for it all to be kept together and for it to be at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, but the main thing is that it goes to a public collection, where it can be cared for appropriately, and where it will be available for generations to come,” Dinsdale said. [...]Dinsdale said she found it heartrending to think about the collection returning to private hands. “I’ve heard of wealthy collectors framing literary artefacts and hanging them on the walls where they’re exposed to light,” she said. “There’s nothing to govern how those things are cared for.”
Sotheby’s said that while the material going up for sale had always been in private ownership, it had all been “fully published and the contents are therefore freely available to those interested in the Brontës”.
“The decision was therefore made to offer it at auction, while ensuring that relevant institutions, including the Brontë Parsonage, were given advance notice of the projected sale in order to allow them time to raise funds should they wish to acquire the originals,” it said in a statement. “It is also worth pointing out that when material like this is acquired by collectors abroad, it often ends up on public view, as an ambassador for British culture.”
The auction house added that “private collectors can be great custodians of such material, and these items have been very well cared for by a private family for almost 130 years. Often private collectors are very happy to allow scholars access to their holdings, and in this case there has been some scholarly access maintained throughout the long line of ownership.” (Alison Flood)
We hope the UK government steps in and saves it for the nation so that scholars (and also fans) don't have to go in search of happy private collectors.

The Yorkshire Post shares 'Ten stunning photos from Emily Bronte film set that take you back to 1800s Haworth'. Judging from the images there appears to be a part in which Emily Brontë is trying to save a small child which she then passes onto William Weightman.

A contributor to Grazia is grateful about seeing black actors and actress in period dramas.
As a Mixed-Race woman of colour who grew up in the UK loving period literature and storytelling - perhaps against the odds - I can tell you first-hand that these casting decisions are pivotal.
The inclusion of Black characters in historical narratives grants Black men and women the agency to say ‘we exist’, ‘we existed’ and we played an important part in shaping British history. And YES, clearly where productions like Anne Boleyn are concerned, we all know creative licence has been applied - and yet, this wonderfully casted storytelling is a gateway to upending the whitewashed history many in Britain have come to see as the only version of history.
I read a lot of Jane Austen when I was younger. Maybe I was precocious, or maybe I have always been a sucker for romantic costumes, tiered skirts, delicate edging, and drama.
Either way, I thumbed my way through the pages of a lot of period literature at a young age. I read Pride and Prejudice, Emma, The Secret Garden of course, Rebecca and Wuthering Heights long before they were on any of my school syllabuses. I always enjoyed the TV and film interpretations too. Simply put - I liked the love stories, and the dramatic ebb and flow of these tales.
In some ways, I am loath to admit that it was not until I watched Bridgerton that I realised that I had never truly experienced period drama in the way that I believe it is supposed to be experienced, because I had never seen someone who looked like me be truly involved in the romance of it. I have always had a rich imagination, and yet, I had never been able to transport myself into one of these scenes. In my mind's eye I was always watching the characters from the other side of the glass. (Emma Slade Edmondson)
Woman & Home recommends '18 books everyone should read at least once' such as
2. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Oozing with atmosphere, this dark and intense gothic romance follows the fate of Cathy and Heathcliff, who meet as children when the former’s father takes in the young boy and spend their youth in blissful union as they traverse the wild moors, exploring, growing up, and eventually falling in love. When life conspires to tear the couple apart, however, it is not simply their own lives that will end up devastated. As a love story, it’s undoubtedly brutal, but there is a majesty to its unashamed wildness, to Brontë’s poetic storytelling, and to the idea of a shared emotion being so potent that it has the power to destroy everything else in its path. [...]
4. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Orphaned in childhood and raised by a cruel aunt, it is little wonder that the eponymous heroine of this classic Victorian gothic romance novel grows up tougher than most. Having accepted the position of governess for the young ward of the brooding and sour-tempered Mr Rochester, Jane Eyre moves to the remote Thornfield Hall determined to stay the course. When her feelings for her master begin to change and the house begins to reveal its secrets, however, Jane must decide whether to stand by the man she’s grown to love or abandon him to stay true to her own convictions. A quietly intense and powerful read, and one of those books everyone should read. (Isabelle Broom)
Illawarra Mercury uses the recent film adaptation of Carmilla to discuss literary adaptations.
Cinematic adaptations of Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights tend to focus on the first half - the Catherine and Heathcliff love story - which makes sense since the story is quite long and the "Next Generation" material isn't as arresting (and if included would make for a long movie). The tone is often a bit more genteel than the novel, which tends towards melodramatics that might appear excessive on screen. (Ron Cerabona)
A contributor to Daily Mail has gone on a five-day coach tour of Yorkshire.
Roaming the ancient woodlands, the wildflower meadows and the little hillocks interspersed with dappled streams, I feel like a character in a Brontë novel. I can barely tell a narcissus pseudonarcissus from a galanthus nivalis but I know beauty when I see it. (Max Davidson)
Letralia (Spain) shares a fragment from the book El arte de la lectura. 25 años de Letralia which reimagines the window scene from Wuthering Heights.

The Sisters' Room goes 'In The Footsteps Of Anne Brontë: The Grand Scarborough Hotel'.


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