Saturday, April 21, 2018

Today is Charlotte Brontë’s birthday

Charlotte Brontë was born in Yorkshire 202 years ago today.

She came into this world on April 21st 1816, in Thornton in Yorkshire.

She appears in many articles on this blog, as both her novels and her life are of great interest and relevance. There were innumerable articles and reviews and some biographies already in existence, but I described some of the unseen influences I detected, producing some original material.

To mark the occasion, here is a quotation from Villette that I particularly like because it mentions London:

"I did well to come," I said ... "I like the spirit of this great London which I feel around me. Who but a coward would pass his whole life in hamlets; and for ever abandon his faculties to the eating rust of obscurity?"

She also mentions St. Paul’s Cathedral in a descriptive paragraph that reminds me of the essence of London near the river on a fine spring morning:

Prodigious was the amount of life I lived that morning. Finding myself before St. Paul's, I went in; I mounted to the dome: I saw thence London, with its river, and its bridges, and its churches; I saw antique Westminster, and the green Temple Gardens, with sun upon them, and a glad, blue sky, of early spring above; and between them and it, not too dense, a cloud of haze.

St. Paul’s with Victorian visitors in 1848, a year in which Charlotte and Anne Brontë visited London together: