The Brontës' early writings: Combining fantasy and fact



as a family for them if a mother dies very young and they have an extraordinary literary childhood so that their father get on the run of the line way and together they collaborate on these two extraordinary fantasy worlds angrier and gondol and there's an amazing little illustration by Emily brontë she draws ohms working together on these fantasy worlds they create a predator magazines drawings that have maps they have extraordinary violent political events and and together the two younger ones that's Emily and they they play will called gondol and then the two older ones Charlotte and Bramwell they create were called angrier and they they live in it in the most profound way I think throughout their adolescent years and into their early twenties creating and elaborating these fantasy lands in which all sorts of things that couldn't happen in the everyday world can can happen very often quite violently erotic often very military and they live them in the most passionate and excited way so this is a Emily brontë story paper and it's dated June 26 1837 and it's a lovely piece because she's actually included a sketch of herself and I was seated at the dining room table and concealed the papers she always starts out by the city scene so she gives us an account of where each member of the family years at a time so we know that Charlotte's working to enhance room and that bran was read out Amy eppela sitting at the dining room table and they're working on the gondola saga it's evident from the timely paper that Emily's fantasy world of gondola is every barrier to us any of these domestic events that she's kind of chronically in this Stoney paper so it's a weird mixture of fact and fantasy so in the paper any estate turns my veins in gondol and she's talking about the Emperor's and empresses of gondola and gardai preparing to depart from girl don't ondol to prepare for the combination which will be on the 12th of July and then she goes on to say Queen Victoria ascended the throne this man so clearly events that were taking place in the real world were having an influence on things Sealand she's also reporting and conversations as they as they take place are quite mundane conversations for example her honestly walked into them and said come Emily is past four o'clock and Emily – yes and so our what the significance of four o'clock is maybe it's time to clear the table for two but so you get these little conversations reported in the papers it's quite interesting because when Bromwell was a child his father bought himself toy soldiers as a birthday present and this was really the beginning of the Bronte's fantasy world each of the children adopted of the toy soldiers and gave him a name and a character and they would they would create little plays around the toy soldiers which continued as they got older and they got more and more complex and sophisticated so they could be invested these soldiers with character and they went from acting out little players to writing them in these tiny books which were intended to be small enough for the toy soldiers during all this time to teach her overweight school mirror field and she kept what we call the river journal and it's not a journal in the normal sense of the word it's a series of Joplin's poetry and prose along with accounts of what was happening at the school and it's very clear that she was completely absorbed with her fantasy world of Ambria and longing to escape into that world from the realities of duties as a schoolteacher and you get accounts of her being completely absorbed and then being jolted back to reality by one of her pupils demanding something of her you get all kinds of accounts about happening ending in the journal there's a really remarkable piece of writing that Charlotte arts when she's she's a young teacher at her school and she says it's been the end of a very long day she's also tired out and she starts to fantasize about one of these imaginary worlds about Anglia and this is very erotic or other exciting and sexually charged kind of scene set in Africa and then suddenly somebody knocks on the door and brings in a plated Butler and and she just moves seamlessly from one world to the next and so often I think in the earlier writing these two things are separated and gradually as they refine their art and so although they don't write many novels by the time they're writing they're really really experienced writers there tries lots of different genres they've experimented it's been like a literary kind of workshop before of them working together and so by the time they're writing modern Heights or Jane Eyre they're very sophisticated users of those forces and bringing them together into a fiction that can speak to all that and passion at the same time make it disciplined and realistic too you

9 thoughts on “The Brontës' early writings: Combining fantasy and fact

  1. These are indeed two very good lectures presented to us in a wonderful video by the British Library.

  2. That's so cute, the early writing was written small enough for the toy soldiers to read x33 Have the diaries and journals of Emily and Charlotte been digitized or published for online reading?

  3. The English is not my native language,
    so when i watch an English video, the sound quality really helps me to understand 60-90% of the content

    it's hurts me to dislike the video.. but most of it i can hear humm humm from professor Jhon Bowen
    and 'S' letter form Ann Dinsdale.

  4. …of all historical figures, emily brontë is the one i would want to have seen in person…such an enigma…i'm hyperventilating just gazing at that diary paper…

  5. Great video but spoilt because you cannot make out what Ann Dinsdale is saying apart from her pronunciation of the letter 'S'! 

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