Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Religion, learning and expectations for women – Dinah Birch

Dinah Birch, Professor of English Literature at the University of Liverpool, gave a most stimulating and wide-ranging talk on Victorian education systems and the position of women in society when the Brontës were growing up. 

She took in religion, school curriculum and the expectations for women, among other topics. What makes a good school, a good teacher? Should education develop the full potential of the child or train them to fill their position in society? Victorian society expected women to work for a wage when only a few decades earlier they were supported by a father, brother or husband.

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Education, independence and self-improvement: Brontë talk

For the Brontës, education was not only a way to gain financial independence, but more importantly a way to improve oneself. That was one of the main messages of the very interesting talk last week by Dinah Birch, Professor of English Literature at the University of Liverpool, to the Brussels Brontës Group.

It all started with their father Patrick. Eldest son of a large family in County Down in the north of Ireland, he was fond of books. It seems suprising to me that he took to the written word, because we are always told that his father Hugh was a great storyteller, a man of the spoken word. Patrick Brontë was ambitious and determined and seems to have met the right people to help him get to Cambridge University. His hard work at university brought him an ordination in the Church of England. And eventually he made his way to Haworth.

Monday, 18 October 2021

Talk by Dinah Birch: Education and the Brontës

Our 2021-22 season of talks got off to a magnificent start with a Zoom talk by Dinah Birch on 14 October titled Education and the Brontë family: Principles and Practice

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Book review: 'Lies and the Brontës: The Quest for the Jenkins Family' by Monica Kendall

A new book shines the spotlight on the couple who recommended the Pensionnat Heger to the Brontës and found Charlotte and Emily difficult guests at Sunday lunches in their home in Brussels.

Monday, 17 May 2021

Is Isabel Greenberg’s graphic novel 'Glass Town' fanfiction?

During Isabel Greenberg’s talk to the Brussels Brontë Group about her graphic novel Glass Town, one of the members asked her a question about whether she thought Glass Town would qualify as “fanfiction” of the Brontë works.

The jury is still out on where to draw the line on what is fanfiction and what isn’t, but the question made me reflect about why I related so much to this book; it has the spirit of fanfiction in it – especially if we think about the young Brontë siblings as early fanfiction writers.