Search This Blog


Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Juliet Barker at the Parsonage

 Richard Wilcocks writes:
Juliet Barker launched the new, revised version of her biography The Brontës, a work normally described, justifiably, as ‘definitive’, on Friday 12 November. She spoke in the Old Schoolroom, all steel and efficiency blended with easy charm, at ease with the tiniest details and the widest speculations. The corrections seem to have been small-scale: “I had many offers of corrections after the first publication in 1994 – and some were taken more seriously than others…

Some letters were redated, others added… and perhaps my worst confession is that I got the wrong Bishop of Ripon, the one who took the grand confirmation service…but it should be easier to read, because the font size has been increased, and there’s more space between lines…

It was originally written to be printed in two volumes but this couldn’t be done, I was told, because it would mean two expensive covers, and the publisher thought that people would buy only one volume and not the other… so it’s still rather large and hard to hold when you’re reading in bed…

I must give my thanks to Parsonage staff who have alerted me to new acquisitions…”

She revealed that she had learned much from Patsy Stoneman’s book on dramatised versions ('Jane Eyre' on Stage, 1848-1882) and that she had laughed out loud at some of the comic scenes in it. She spoke about her special interest in Charlotte’s desire to become an artist, pointing out the fact that two of her paintings – ‘Bolton Abbey’ and ‘Kirkstall Abbey’ had been submitted to the Royal Northern Society for the Encouragement of the Arts for inclusion in its summer exhibition of 1834, which was held in Leeds. They were accepted, and for the eighteen year-old Charlotte, it was a dream come true, with the whole family making the journey to the big city to see her works hanging alongside those of JMW Turner. They had not sold, however, and are now (still) hanging in the Parsonage.

She also touched on her revelation that Branwell never went to the Royal Academy, adding briefly a few brief speculative thoughts about his putative mistresses.

ISBN 978-0-349-12242-7

1 comment:

  1. This was very helpful! I am studying the Bronte's and your site has helped me! Thank you so much!