Bronteana: Bronte Studies Blog Archives

May 8, 2006


Filed under: Art,Books,Bronteana,Patrick Bronte,Wuthering Heights — by bronteana @ 12:46 am

Today's Brontë News

The following items really don't seem to naturally be on the same page with one another, I think you will agree…

Wuthering Heights gets a mention in an article on why people should read the Kama Sutra:

The pundit Vatsyayana, who wrote the Kama Sutra, is blessedly free of physical disgust, but he isn't naïve. He understands lust; he depicts the stages of erotic obsession in great detail. For example, he gives the stages of romance: making eye contact, exchanging longing glances, having erotic images come to mind that won't go away, followed by thinking of the beloved all the time, losing sleep, making excuses to meet, and finally culminating – if sexual contact is denied – with falling sick and dying.

The whole history of the romantic novel is written in those few observations. If you smile at the notion that sexual desire can make someone grow sick and die, you may be correct medically, but millions have wept over the death of Catherine Earnshaw pining for Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, not to mention a thousand knights languishing for love in medieval romances.

From the Kama Sutra to…

The hometown of the Rev. Patrick Brontë is one of the stops on musican Eliza Gilkyson's tour of the UK and Ireland:

Tue 9. Bronte Centre Churchill Road Drumballyroney Near Rathfriland, N Ireland. BT32 5IX Box Office 02406 23322 TP £12.00 DO 8.30 p.m.

There's more information on the Centre and the town's Brontë-related sites here.

Bronte Homeland Picnic Site, Knockiveagh:The picnic site at Knockiveagh is an ideal place to stop and see the rolling hills where Patrick Bronte grew up and the mountains of Mourne in the background. The picnic area occupies the ruins of a former shebeen – an illicit drinking house.

Alice McClory's Cottage:This cottage was the childhood home of Patrick's mother, Alice McClory. Alice and Hugh used to court secretly and some say they eloped to their wedding in Magherally Church, near Banbridge.

The Birthplace Cottage:Little now remains of the family's two-roomed cottage in the fairy glen at Emdale. The remains have been in the care of the Bronte Homeland Trust since 1956.

Glascar School:Patrick taught here in the 1790's, although the original schoolhouse was replaced by this more modern building in 1844. He is said to have used enlightened teaching methods to bring out the best in his pupils. He was later dismissed for forming a romantic attachment with one of them.

Lastly, tulips and Brontë fan art at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Image is of the Mourne Mountains as seen from near Rathfriland.

May 2, 2006


Today's Brontë News

Today we have, thanks to Austenblog, some news about a very creative blog called Knit the Classics, where members read a classic novel for the month and make needlework (of any variety- crochet, knitting, embroidery etc…) inspired by the work! this month's novel is Pride and Prejudice, and for June the novel will be Wuthering Heights. I think this is a marvellous idea, and not just because embroidery is one of my hobbies.

Here's another article about those Bed Books– books designed for reading in bed. Their assortment includes Brontë titles, such as Wuthering Heights.

There's a wrestling racoon named Jane Eyre

Emily Brontë is a 'spinner who did Yorkshire a good turn.'

Emily Brontë's poetry is also a challenge for a poetry recital contest.

I'm not sure what to make of this: For $1.50, there is Madeleine L'Engle's "Circle of Quiet," a biography in which she tells of days when she feels like Emily Bronte or Jane Austen or Elizabeth Barrett Browning. On those days, she signs her checks with their names, and never once has the bank returned one as fraudulent.

And an article on Justine Picardie's My Mother's Wedding Dress: The Life and Afterlife of Clothes, a book which features a discussion of Jane Eyre's 'shades of grey.'

And lastly, communities in Northern Ireland are hoping that Patrick Brontë can help to bring people together, and hope there may eventually be 'a Bronte Day.' This movement is being promoted by relatives of the Brontes. In a previous post, such a relative of the Brontes wrote in to Brontëana and posted her story here.

March 6, 2006


"Where did you see Latmos?…"

Why, here of course. Thanks to Thisbeciel, we have some clips to show you from the BBC's 1973 Jane Eyre, starring Sorcha Cusack and Michael Jayston, which is due for DVD release this June. It is much loved for its fidelity to the book as well as for the calibre of the cast.

"I was tormented between my idea and my handiwork. Each time I would imagine something- something I was quite powerless to realise…"

The Interrupted Wedding

As you see, there are other Jane Eyre clips on this site, including the 'Sirens' performance from Jane Eyre: The Musical presented at the Tony awards, for which the show was nominated. Also there is a clip from the Hindi film Sangdil, which I will have much to say about at a later date.

Also, I would like to say that the Brontëana resource site also has a bunch of new etexts, mostly juvenilia but there are also some pieces by Branwell, and Patrick Brontë

I may have to be scarce this week. As I told one of my professors today, my workload for the week will probably reduce me to a puddle of goo by Sunday. At least I have that novel edited and annotated… and a commentary written… and… suggested revisions made… I just have to write the backcover copy, then write a paper on writer contracts, another paper on the Romance of the Rose, prepare for an in-class essay on Beckett, and then prepare for my first real conference! I will be presenting a paper on Emperor Claudius- which is fitting because last night I stepped on a thorn and now I have a nice Claudian limp. Here's hoping that those attending the conference think that I'm trying to be amusing.

November 26, 2005


Rose Ann Heslip and the Living Cousins of the Brontës

Today we have a very special guest post here at Brontëana. Without further ado, here is an article written by Kate Bower, to give us all more information on Rose Ann Heslip and the modern descendants of the Irish Brontës- who are not quite so scarce as it seems. (It probably suits the mystique of the Brontes to think of their extended family fading away but such is hardly ever the case). Thank you, Kate, for taking the time to write this for Bronteana.

The commemorative event for Rose Ann was held on 6th October and the sun shone, it turned out to be a glorious day. There was a dinner held at Healds Hall Hotel attended by family members including Rose Anns’ 89 year old great grand daughter Olive Emily, members of the Bronte society and SpenValley Civic Society, and the Deputy Mayor & Mayoress and the Deputy Sheriff of Yorkshire.

“Healds Hall was one of the most fashionable residences in the district when built in 1764. It was the largest house in Spen Valley. The Hall first became famous through links with the Bronte family when it was owned by the Reverend Hammond Roberson, immortalised as the Reverend Matthew Helstone in Charlotte Bronte's novel "Shirley".”

After a very good meal and a ‘photo opportunity’ session, the party (slowly!) made its way to Dewsbury to the church of St Luke with Whitechapel. Flowers were laid on the grave and the local press were there in force – we all felt like minor celebrities for the day! Then into the lovely church for a memorial service (forgive me for saying so, but it has to rate as one of the dullest services I have ever attended). This was followed by a reading of some of Emily Bronte’s poems and a posy was presented to Olive.

Rose Ann was a very special lady I think. She was the kind of indomitable woman beset by tragedy and hardship you often find in a certain kind offiction. She was born in 1821 in Ireland and therefore lived through the famine – she must have seen some terrible things in her life.

Her parents were Sarah (nee Bronte) and Simon Collins and she was the only one of their ten children to marry. She had five (perhaps six) children only to watch them succumb one by one to consumption. Only one daughter, Emily, lived to marry. Emily, and her husband Hugh Bingham emigrated to Scotland where all their five children were born. Then Hugh moved down toYorkshire to take up work as a foreman at a gas works. By this time Emily was sick with consumption herself and her widowed mother aged over 70 came over to nurse her dying daughter.

Together the elderly lady, the sick daughter and five small children made the long and arduous journey by road from Scotland to Yorkshire. Aged just 33 Emily died and was buried at St Lukes with Whitechapel. Rose Ann stayed to look after her son-in-law Hugh and her grandchildren. What a sense of love and duty she must have had to stay in late Victorian industrial Yorkshire after the open spaces and close knit network of family and friends she had left behind in Ireland. It must have been a very grim place indeed.

“Salthorn was a deserted, forlorn place, surrounded by black pit-hills and standing amidst swamps and pools on the rough uncultivated common – at night lighted up by the lurid flames which belch from the furnaces at Low Moor and Bowling.”

Heckmondwike Herald, 24th August 1893

Eventually Rose Ann seems to have developed some kind of dementia and was admitted to the infirmary at the local work house. Full of character to the end, she climbed over the wall and made her way back home on the back of a cart on at least two occasions, according to family tradition. She lived to94. I would have loved to have known her.

Her eldest grand daughter, Mary Jane – my great grandma also died in her thirties of breast cancer, leaving three children – Leonard, Ernest andOlive Emily. But the younger grand daughter Elizabeth Anne lived to a grand old age, and I can just about remember her as a very old lady who smoked imaginary cigarettes (having been banned them by the doctor) and who frightened me very much when she once threw the ‘stub’ into the grate and asked me “Did it go in?”. I wasn’t used to grown ups behaving like this and I had absolutely no idea what to say to her! This aside, my mother and aunt tell me that she was a lovely lady, and ‘Aunty Annies’ sponge cake’ is a recipe which is still used in the family.

I have known that we had a Bronte connection for as long as I can remember. When I was around 16 I wrote to the Bronte Society to try and confirm this particular family tradition. Sadly, they were not really very helpful. They confirmed that Emily Heslip had married Hugh Bingham, but stated that they had no record of any children of the union. It was clear from the tone of their letter that, as far as they were concerned, the matter was closed.

It was only this year, when Imelda Marsden of the present day Bronte Society, ‘found’ us as the present day descendents of Rose Ann. She is researching a book on the relations of the Brontes and she is particularly interested in Rose Ann. This provided the first concrete proof that we did have a blood connection with the Brontes. After the brush off I had previously received, I wondered if Mary Jane and the others were perhaps Hugh’s children from a previous or subsequent marriage.

Because of this I can trace an unbroken maternal line back almost 250 years to Eleanor (Alice) McClory, born around 1759/60, the mother of Patrick and Sarah and the grandmother of the Bronte sisters and Rose Ann. Since I have a particular interest in womens’ history, and tracing a female line is usually quite difficult, this has been a source of special satisfaction to me – even without having famous cousins.

November 18, 2005


'Cottage Poems' by Patrick Brontë

At last! The Cottage Poems have been published by Project Gutenburg! Click here to read the full texts. They were released on november 16th. Could 'Maid of Killarney' be far behind? How very exciting! Other Bronte texts available through the Project include:

A, C, and E Brontë: Poems by Currer, Ellis and, Acton Bell
Anne Brontë: Agnes Grey, Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Charlotte Brontë: Jane Eyre, Villette, The Professor.

Il y a Jane Eyre ou Les mémoires d'une institutrice>>, le roman en Francais aussi. Je ne sais pas qu'est le traducteur de cet roman. C'est tres intéressante. Je pense qu'il est comme lire la roman encore- pour le premier fois. Il a un peu plus …de melodrame. Ou plus de poésie, peut-etre. D'accord. Chacun langue chante son poésie. And, no, there is no text for Shirley! Shame, shame! (Nothing for Branwell either).

Emily Brontë: Wuthering Heights.

Also: Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell: The Life of Charlotte Brontë volume one and two.

A friend of mine is responsible for Really Slow productions of Shakespeare. People volunteer to record their lines, and then this is all pasted together with the magic of the internet into… a really slow production of Shakespeare. Some of my other friends and I were then inspired to try a really slow production of Jane Eyre the Musical. The trouble here was that all of my friends are ladies (the ones who sing, at any rate). And so, we had a soprano Rochester and myself who plays St.John Rivers (also a soprano, although I can sing alto as well). I forget how Brocklehurst came out… Our Jane was a certain classicist from Nova Scotia. Alas, before we ever even took our little horrendous productioni seriously, she ran away to a religious order.

And now, she's back! And she's not a nun. She found true love… in the religious order. I am astounded and amazed, and it is beautiful. She is no longer my soon-to be nun friend who despaired of leaving behind her copy of Villette. I now have a deliriously happy non-nun friend who can have as many books as she likes- and the true love thing is rather nice too.

ps. Don't worry, Martha- I got your email! I think this deserves a post of its own 🙂

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