Considering Brontë’s ‘everyday’: Angharad’s postcard from Haworth

Angharad outside St Michael and All Angels Church, Haworth. Summer 2009.

Angharad outside St Michael and All Angels Church, Haworth. Summer 2009.

Why I went…

I fell in love with Charlotte Brontë when I was eleven years old and read Jane Eyre and Villette in quick succession. I had always pretended to be above literary tourism so had never visited the Parsonage before. This summer, though, we were in the area just as I was thinking about how Charlotte Brontë would fit into my PhD project, which was shaping up to be more focused on life-writing – and less on novels – than I had expected. I realised that I needed to think more about how the life of the author might be interwoven with her novels.

What I got out of the experience…

As I walked through Haworth, peered into the Sunday school and wandered past the Church, Brontë became more than just an author for me. At the same time, she became more ordinary – less a Genius and more a typical parson’s daughter. I could imagine the routine of her days and weeks: attending services, teaching at the Sunday school, taking a walk on the moor just behind the Parsonage. The Church and Sunday school were closer to the Parsonage than I had imagined. None of her activities would take her far from the house and I finally appreciated the bounded nature of her existence before her temporary escape to Brussels. While at Haworth, her domestic and religious activities dominated her life. Thinking in this way about Brontë’s ‘everyday’ enabled me to think more about what her works say about the difference between literary and ‘real’ women’s lives.

The Brontë Parsonage Museum, Summer 2009.

The Brontë Parsonage Museum, Summer 2009.

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