I went looking for an audio book to pass the time on our long drive up north, but, found Ann Dinsdale’s The Brontes at Haworth instead. A weekend away with our up north family and a side trip to the Yorkshire Moors and home of one of English literature’s most enduring writers all at the same time. What more could a girl ask for on such short notice? (Well, some Kezzie time, of course, but, that’s for another post).
This well-appointed book is chock full of Simon Warner’s photographs of the Haworth Parsonage, where Charlotte, Emily, and Anne lived and wrote Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and The Tenant of Wildfield Hall, and the general environs of Haworth. There are also within the book photos of the rooms the Brontes lived and worked in, personal items, diaries, and artwork done by the sisters and their only brother, Branwell. A feast for the eyes.
The text; ah, the text is rich in history of the Bronte family, the sadness that plagued them in the illnesses and deaths of their mother, Maria, and of the siblings at early ages. This is not a tome on the Brontes, but, an overview of their lives and legacies. Not quite a coffee table book, more a biography, it is only 160 pages, which include a wonderful chronology of the family and works, and chapters on Bronte biographers and history of the Haworth Parsonage.
I am still devouring The Brontes at Haworth. I get caught in the pictures and go back for another look, sometimes with magnifying glass in hand, the better to see what is on the old desk or bookshelves, and suddenly an hour has passed in my bookish wandering. There is a chapter on Mrs. Gaskell, the noted friend and biographer of Charlotte Bronte that I need to read. I’ve become fascinated by Elizabeth Gaskell ever since the airing of Cranford on PBS. Gaskell is the author of Cranford, as well as North and South and a good many other literary pieces. She was a contemporary of Charles Dickens and her works often appeared in serialized form in his publishings.
It is so exciting to be able to continue to learn something new. I think I will keep The Brontes of Haworth until its due date, but, I promise to return it to the library then, so someone else can enjoy its beauty. Someone like you.