Maddalena De Leo writes:
MOMENTS TO REMEMBER: THE BS CONFERENCE 2009 IN YORK
I had the honour and pleasure to be present this year at a Brontë Society Conference, a major event I had looked forward to for years. Held at the University Campus of York, the Literary Meeting lasted three days, revealing itself to be a real success and a glorious moment to remember in the life of any Brontë fan who was there.
Thanks to the perfect organization of Coreen Turner who arranged full and excellent accommodation for all 130 delegates at Vanbrugh College, the most important Brontë scholars from all over the world were gathered in the same place, surprisingly for the first time, to talk Brontë, propose their views and exchange opinions with members, fellow-scholars and student enthusiasts. What a miracle!
The considerable number of interesting lectures ranged from the biographical aspects to the most technical ones related to the Brontë novels. Every lecturer (Christine Alexander, Paul Edmondson, Michael 0’Neill, Sue Lonoff, Margaret Smith, to name only a few) was at his/her best to guarantee complete immersion in all matters Brontë, and the peak moment was reached during the Saturday evening dinner when the BS President Gyles Brandreth held his so waited for speech and gave a short and delightful performance for all of us.
I was the only representative from Italy and soon felt at home meeting old and new friends who called me simply by name. In fact most of us actually knew the others for their articles and writings if not by person so that coffee breaks and leisure time at the bookshop became precious to feel the friendly Brontë atmosphere pervading the place.
I had the infinite pleasure to meet for the first time after twenty-nine years Mrs. Sally Stonehouse, the former librarian at the Bronte Parsonage, who long ago had helped me from there in my Brontë-Shakespearean research while at Naples University. I also enjoyed friendly talks with Lucasta Miller, Patsy Stoneman, Dudley Green and Akiko Higuchi whose works I have long appreciated. A word in particular I have to reserve for my dear friends Christine Alexander and Paul Edmondson who really were the soul of this conference and spent all their energies to assure its absolute success. One thing for sure: we all delegates won’t easily forget those three Brontë days in Summer 2009.
Below, Maddalena with Christine Alexander, Paul Edmundson and Jane Sellars, Maddalena with Dudley Green, Maddalena with Achiko Higuchi: