Tuesday, 13 November 2012
Bronte Parsonage at Haworth is now a museum, which is furnished and decorated as it would have been when the famous literary family lived there from 1820 to 1861. Although the building has been extended and altered since then you get a real feeling of how they lived and their daily life. The house includes many artefacts including tiny shoes and clothes belonging to Charlotte, who was only about 4 ft 10 inches tall, and her wedding bonnet. There are also fragments of fabric and lace and a sampler by Anne, as well as examples of writing and sketches by Emily and Branwell, and many other items too numerous to mention. There is a pervading air of sadness in the house though as so many of the family died early; first their mother at the age of 38 in 1821, then Maria and Elizabeth aged 11 and 10 in 1825, while 23 years later, Branwell, Emily and Anne all died within a year of each other. It seems amazing that the members of one family, living in such a remote spot, who died so young, could have produced so many masterpieces of English literature. However, despite their youth they had many life experiences, first at boarding school and then as governesses in England and Brussels, combined with the effects of illness and death in those around them. As well as drawing on their personal experience and the landscape in which they lived, they also encouraged each others writing and creativity and shared a sublime imagination.
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