Monday 17 June 2024

'Oblivion: The Lost Diaries of Branwell Brontë'

We were delighted to welcome U.S. professor and novelist Dean de la Motte, who joined us on Saturday 15 June for our annual summer lunch and afterwards gave a talk on his novel Oblivion: The Lost Diaries of Branwell Brontë. The event, arranged to fit in with Dean’s annual summer stay in France, was well-attended and proved to be a very successful addition to the talks originally scheduled for this year. 

Thursday 30 May 2024

Another guided walk led by historian Christophe Loir

Dr Christophe Loir of the ULB’s History, Arts and Archaeology faculty on Sunday 26 May 2024 led a second guided walk devised specially for the Brussels Brontë Group. Dr Loir, an expert on architecture and town planning, devoted his Sunday morning to plunging us into the Brussels of the early 1840s, the Brussels of the Brontës. 

Fourteen of us turned out and we gathered just after a torrential downpour; happily the rain held off almost completely during our two-hour walk. The theme of the walk was ‘Entre les deux gares bruxellois au temps des soeurs Brontë’ — ‘Between the North and South railway stations in the Brontës’ time’ — and Dr Loir highlighted, among other things, changes to the city brought by the arrival of the railway. 

Monday 20 May 2024

Another step on Brontë Sisters Square in Koekelberg

A further step has just been taken towards seeing the Brontë sisters return to the Brussels municipality of Koekelberg, at least in spirit. A public consultation meeting was held on 16 May to update Koekelberg residents on plans to name a square after the Brontë sisters and to invite their comments.

Tuesday 30 April 2024

Octavia Cox on Anne Brontë and sea symbolism

It has been said that what the Yorkshire moors were to Emily Brontë the sea was to her sister Anne – a soul-enlivening physical space and an inspiring imaginative element. Oxford University’s Octavia Cox explained exactly what the sea and the seaside meant to Anne Brontë in an absorbing talk to the Brussels Brontë Group. 

Friday 26 April 2024

Valerie Sanders on clothes in the Brontë novels

University of Hull's Valerie Sanders used Rachel Ferguson’s 1931 novel The Brontës Went to Woolworths as a jumping-off point for a fascinating look at clothes in Charlotte Brontë’s novels – how they are described and what they signify. 

On a sartorial trip through the juvenilia, the letters and the mature novels, Prof. Sanders showed what clothes and dressing meant for Charlotte, both in real life and in her fiction. 

Thursday 14 March 2024

Member talk: The Brontës and fake news

There have been wild speculations and baseless theories about the Brontë sisters and their novels virtually since the books were first published in 1847. Johan Hellinx gave the Brussels Brontë Group a run-down of all the fake news that has circulated, right up to today. 

In his talk on Saturday, 24 February 2024, Johan’s special fake-news focus was the enduring claims that Branwell Brontë must have been the true author of Wuthering Heights. The first serious biography of Emily didn’t come until 1883, when Mary Robinson published her book, so there was plenty of time and scope for speculations.

Tuesday 5 March 2024

Member talk: ‘Wuthering Heights’ and pop culture

Ana Gauthier gave the Brussels Brontë Group a whirlwind tour through the far-reaching influence of Wuthering Heights on the broader culture, showing how Emily Brontë’s novel echoes through our collective consciousness, sometimes in surprising ways. 

In her talk on Saturday 24 February 2024, Ana touched on Kate Bush, Merle Oberon, Celine Dion, Jim Steinman, Giorgio Armani and a host of anonymous social-media users as she demonstrated the widespread echoes of Wuthering Heights that can be found rippling through our culture. 

Saturday 2 March 2024

Enjoying the 'World of the Brontës' in a different way!

I have always enjoyed making jigsaw puzzles, certainly in childhood, but after growing up and having a job and getting married, I just did not have the time to do this anymore. Reading was taking over as a pastime, as this was much easier to do in between study, work or household chores. Puzzling takes space and time. 

During the Covid pandemic, however, as we were all locked up in our homes, I re-discovered this hobby, and to pass the time indoors I started to make the jigsaw puzzles that I found in the cupboards. I really enjoyed this again. A few months ago, I saw an advertisement for a very special jigsaw puzzle – “The World of the Brontës” – and decided to buy it. This was going to be my next puzzle project.

Monday 15 January 2024

The Brontës come to a grocery store in Merchtem

The Brontës Went to Woolworths, the title of a 1931 novel by the British writer Rachel Ferguson, features in a talk by Valerie Sanders to be given to the Brussels Brontë Group later this year, in which Professor Sanders will talk to us about "clothes and shopping in the Brontë novels." 
Here in Belgium this Christmas, the Brontës went not to Woolworths but to a grocery store in Merchtem.