Tuesday, 15 August 2006

A lucky and unforeseen meeting

Maddalena de Leo writes:

I chose to spend my holidays in August this year to celebrate the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Mozart’s birth.

Just a week before leaving I received a letter from Wilhering, a market town near Linz in Upper Austria, in which a certain Mr Kent Shire, an ESL teacher, complimented me on my article about Brontë-Shakespearean research in the July 2005 Brontë Studies. He found that my five methods of comparison between the two authors sounded straightforward and interesting and, since he is a new member of the Brontë Society, that he would like to read a fuller version of my work, originally written in 1982.

I knew I would have stayed in Salzburg for two whole days, so I immediately answered by priority mail telling Mr Shire about the possibility of meeting in Mozart’s celebrated town of birth. We met on 7th August in front of Mozart’s birthplace.

As soon as we were leisurely seated in the famous Cafè Tomaselli for an Austrian tea, I and Mr Shire had a very pleasant and interesting Brontë talk ranging over many topics. An American by birth, he has been living in Austria for fifteen years where he now has family and teaches English as a foreign language.

It was for him the first time he had met a fellow member of the Brontë Society - even in Austria. In the space of an hour, we talked a lot about Emily and her wonderful novel, the theme of which we both agreed is mainly love, not just hatred and revenge. We also discussed our role as teachers in conveying what Brontë knowledge and culture we can in both Austrian and Italian schools.

At the end of our literary chat, he was kind enough to hand me a precious little book of Emily’s poems in German and English that he signed as a momento of that lucky and unforeseen meeting.

Although it rained all the time, the Brontës lit up my stay in Salzburg!

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