Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Kilkee (Ireland): another stop on the Irish honeymoon trail of Charlotte Brontë and Arthur Bell Nicholls - Part II

The Kilkee cliff walk is a scenic loop walk which follows a cliff path along the coastline, passing the truly breathtaking and very varied rugged coastline and returns to Kilkee via the ingoing road. It is certainly worthwhile doing this cliff walk as you come along truly magnificent and stunning sea cliff views around every corner you take.



It is of course impossible to know where exactly Charlotte and Arthur sat at the cliffs to enjoy the scenery, but there was one place that I really thought could have been the place described in Charlottes’s letter to Catherine Winkworth (dated 27 July 1854),  in which she expressed great enthusiasm for Kilkee and its surroundings:
“… - went to the coast - such a wild iron-bound coast - with such an ocean-view as I had not yet seen - and such battling of waves with rocks as I had never imagined. My husband is not a poet or a poetical man - and one of my grand doubts before marriage was about 'congenial tastes' and so on. The first morning we went out on to the cliffs and saw the Atlantic coming in all white foam, I did not know whether I should get leave or time to take the matter in my own way. I did not want to talk - but I did want to look and be silent. Having hinted a petition, licence was not refused – covered with a rug to keep of the spray I was allowed to sit where I chose - and he only interrupted me when he thought I crept too near the edge of the cliff. So far he is always good in this way - and this protection which does not interfere or pretend is I believe a thousand times better than any half sort of pseudo sympathy ...”

Friday, 18 August 2017

Kilkee (Ireland): another stop on the Irish honeymoon trail of Charlotte Brontë and Arthur Bell Nicholls - Part I

As becomes tradition on our annual holidays to Ireland , Paul and I do “something Brontë”.
This year our holidays allowed for a two night stay in the area of Kilkee. We stayed in Hilltop B&B,  close to the town of Kilkee.

Kilkee (Irish: Cill Chaoi, meaning "Church of Chaoineadh Ita - lamentation for Ita") is a small town located on the South West coast of Ireland, in county Clare, on the Wild Atlantic Way.
It was in this town in July 1854, that Charlotte and Arthur stayed for about 10 days on their Irish honeymoon.


At that time, Kilkee, situated at the Loop Head peninsula - with its unique climate, natural amenities and bathing areas, beautiful sandy beach and spectacular Atlantic shore and cliff scenery - had become a very popular tourist destination for the Victorians. In July 1854 Kilkee was then little more than a village of about 419 houses and a total population of about 1869 people.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

German Brontë falsifications part 2 - 
Inside German library catalogues

In some of the important German national and university libraries you can still
 find incorrect Brontë entries up to the present day. In the middle of the
19th century, novels of the Brontë sisters were extremely successful. It was therefore
 a great temptation for foreign editors (not only German) to find other
 anonymous English novels to translate and print them as a new ”Brontë” book. 

I found new interesting information about some Brontë titles in the 
old, so-called ”Quartkatalog” belonging to the Bavarian State Library (BSB). They 
are linked with the book titles on the respective online pages. It is absolutely 
fascinating seeing the old original handwritten book records and knowing that in
 those days the authors were researched and compiled with great care.

  Quartkatalog’s are handwritten catalogue cards in the format of 22 x 18 cm from
 the year of their acquisition, in 1841, to the year of publication in 1952. Books are 
here listed alphabetically based on the authors' name. Since the beginning of 
2004 they have been scanned as images to ease net research.

PART ONE



(all shown catalogue cards: Quartkatalog. Bayerische Landesbibliothek. BSB digital)

* note; Das englische Original ist nicht nachweisbar (the English original is not verifiable)

Die Geschwister (= Brother and Sister) / Acton Currer Bell 
[Pseud. für Charlotte Brontë]. 

Aus dem Englischen von L. Th. Fort
 Grimma und Leipzig: Verlags-Comptoir, 1851



First German lines:

„Es war ein kalter Märzabend; die Lampen in Sackville Street 
waren angezündet und warfen ihr bleiches, flackerndes Licht
 durch die Regentropfen.

These are the same first lines that in the original title are named “Ernest Vane”.

The author of the English original is well known since years and just now in 2016 this title got a new German edition:



The English original:




Sunday, 25 June 2017

Another false early German Brontë novel, or my discovery of C. Bell’s "Der Sturmvogel - eine Seegeschichte"

An American collector of Charlotte Brontë’s literature asked me some weeks ago 
to help him with the search for old prints in German language; he needs them 
for a book he is preparing in the future. I live in Hannover, Germany and I love books, but it was a long time ago that I read the Brontës. So it was very thrilling to whisk again into their world and I tried to remember what we learned many years ago at school about Acton, Ellis and Currer Bell. I was surprised to see how many different translations into German happened in the middle of the 19th century and later after 1950 - and how few there were during the two wars.

Looking at websites like Booklooker, Justbooks or viaLibri I found out that it is still possible to get rare books from private booksellers if you patiently try different spellings of names and titles.
So suddenly I found MY BOOK!  Or better, a part of MY BOOK: C. Bell’s Der Sturmvogel - eine Seegeschichte. Vom Verfasser des Rockingham

Title page of my Der Sturmvogel

That it states “Vom Verfasser des Rockingham” (by the author of -) makes it implicitly an Acton Currer Bell book, it appeared from an article on this blog about this author. It refers to Rockingham oder Der Jüngere Bruder, published in 1851 in Leipzig. I posted a comment to the article and I quickly got a response from the author - and it was quite easy to find the original novel!

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Brontë Society plaque on Bozar gets a facelift

It’s all too easy to walk past the bronze plaque on ‘Bozar’ commemorating Charlotte and Emily’s stay in Brussels in 1842-43, as it’s placed rather high on the building. Bozar, as many readers of this blog will know, stands on the site of the Pensionnat Heger (demolished in 1909) where the sisters stayed while in Brussels. The plaque is on Rue Baron Horta/Baron Hortastraat, to the left of the main entrance to Bozar.

Added to its lack of visibility, until a couple of weeks ago the Brontë plaque was looking sorry for itself under the grime deposited by air pollution.

Plaque before cleaning


It now has a brighter look after a spring cleaning. On 2 May it was restored – cleaned, polished and lacquered). The work, which took the best part of a day, was commissioned by the Brontë Society, based in Haworth, Yorkshire, with help from the Brussels Brontë Group. The Society plans to have regular maintenance of the plaque done from now on.

Plaque after cleaning

The plaque, the only memorial in Brussels to the Brontës, was placed by the Society on 28 September 1979 but the unveiling did not take place till 26 June 1980.

According to the report in Brontë Society Transactions, the day of the unveiling ‘dawned bright and sunny but by the time we were assembled for the ceremony stormy conditions prevailed and claps of thunder interrupted the proceedings.’ On 28 June 1980 Le Soir reported that the unveiling had taken place amid a ‘temps de Hurlevent’ – appropriate weather conditions given that Brontë means ‘thunder’ in Greek.

At the unveiling ceremony, members of the Brontë Society were joined by Brussels-based dignitaries including the Director of Bozar, two great-grandsons of Constantin Heger (Paul and René Pechère), the British Ambassador and officials of the British Council. There was an exhibition on the Brontës at the British Council to mark the occasion.

If you haven’t yet seen the plaque, or would like to see it in its present glory, do go and have a look.

Helen MacEwan