Sunday 25 October 2020

Brontë talk: The view from Leeds

How wonderful it was to join the Brussels Brontë Group for Karen Hewitt's marvellous talk about what the word "Gentleman" meant to a Victorian audience.  I could not believe I was sharing the experience with you all, it was almost like being in Brussels.

Like Monica in Dublin, my memories of all the Brontë
events are highlights of my time in Brussels.   

I hope to join you for the Christmas Zoom event if there is room. I shall try to write something if the Brontë muse deigns to approach my shoulder!

It was also most interesting to hear about Karen's links with Russia. I would like to hear more about this aspect of her work, where she has visited places of literary interest and how this enhances her appreciation of Russian authors in the same way as our trips to Haworth do. Is there similar inspiration from the Russian landscape for example?

At the moment I am taking an online course on the Brontës which is quite challenging but which I am enjoying as I learn something new every day. I have found it hard though to knuckle down to do certain tasks as it is so long since I had to do so!  Anyway, I shall keep on and complete it and will let you know how it goes. They have other Victorian literature courses which I would love to do -- Trollope, Dickens, Eliot, Mrs Gaskell, Hardy.  

At the moment I am also enjoying books by Edna O'Brien and Hilary Mantel. I have recently watched a programme on the BBC IPlayer on "The Birth of the Novel" about the 17th Century writers who laid down the ground rules of this new literary form. Robinson Crusoe and Gulliver's Travels started it all off and inspired later works from Jane Austen, the Brontës, etc. 

Have a good autumn one and all and I sincerely hope that the second Covid wave in Belgium soon ebbs away and restrictions are eased once again. It's the same here.  

Take care. 
Sheila Fordham -- Leeds

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