Monday 13 July 2020

'Brontë Places and Poems': fascinating view of Brontë world

In these weird corona times when travelling is not advisable, not recommended, not desired or not possible, I came across this book by Geoff and Christine Taylor called Brontë Places & Poems.

The book, which is lavishly illustrated with photographs, was a labour of love. Its authors have lived near Haworth for almost 40 years and the book grew out of their trips to Brontë places in the U.K., Ireland and Belgium, with Chris, a keen amateur photographer and artist, taking the photographs. There are many photos of Brussels.

The beautiful front cover of the book brings you straight to Top Withins and the Haworth moors, and on the back cover it says: “The Brontë children lived tragically short lives but they have left a wonderful legacy not only with their novels and poems but in the descriptions of the places they lived, loved and experienced.” The book invites you to discover these locations and perhaps, if corona allows for it, visit them yourself.

It is not a book that you just read, it is a book that you fully experience. It allows you to travel from  your own home to Belgium, to London, to Ireland, to Haworth, to Scotland, to Cornwall, to Wales and to so many more Brontë-related places all in one day, if you wish. In a year that there is no AGM in Haworth, no annual holidays to Ireland (i.e our normal holiday destination), no Anne Brontë bicentenary conference in Scarborough, and even no events of our Brussels Brontë Group in Brussels, this book was for me a wonderful revelation and a splendid way to travel around Brontë-related places.

It is a journey in images and poetry with explanatory texts from the authors. It is a perfect way to travel in corona times and be near the Brontës without setting a foot outside. The journey is made chronologically and starts in Cornwall (with Maria and Elizabeth Branwell) and in County Down, Northern Ireland (with Rev. Patrick Brontë) and travels through time to visit all other places that are associated in some way with the Brontë family. The beautiful photographs are accompanied by explanatory texts and Brontë poems. You do not have to follow the chronological route, if you do not want to. You can start anywhere in the book, go back and forth as much as you like and discover (or revisit) Brontë places.

I have gone through this book many times now (in all sorts of directions) revisiting the places that I have seen already (and enjoyed seeing again) and discovering places that I have wanted  to visit for ages, but had not succeeded in doing up to now.

This book is the perfect substitute for travelling to Brontë places when you cannot travel yourself. I enjoyed it tremendously, and I will continue to enjoy it! It is a real treasure of a book. To be recommended …

Marina Saegerman

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