Sunday 5 July 2009

Meeting in Leiden of Dutch members of the Brussels Brontë group

On Wednesday 24 June, members of the Dutch branch of the Brussels Bronte Group met in Leiden, and enjoyed a splendid afternoon.

Leiden has the oldest university of the Netherlands, and it is to its library that we went first. We saw some very nice old publications about the Brontes, and an 1849 Dutch translation of Jane Eyre.

The third picture is from the 29 January 1853 edition of The Athenaeum, with advertisements for Villette (“This day is published ..”) and Mrs. Gaskell’s Ruth. A few weeks later they published a lengthy review of Villette. Right at the beginning it says the novel is set in Brussels, which makes one wonder how the writer knew that for sure. Even though it was only thinly disguised, he (or she) must have had inside information.

We also saw, among other things, the first editions of the Bronte Society Transactions, dating from the end of the 19th century.

Afterwards we went to the Hortus Botanicus garden nearby, where we had a drink first, and a walk through this splendid garden later. We saw several trees which began their life in 1818, the year of Emily Brontë's birth.

Eric Ruijssenaars

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