The Brontes then and Now,extracts from a “Symposium of Articles”

Source: The Brontes then and Now,extracts from a “Symposium of Articles”


More of the contributions from my old Brontes society booklet ,I am trying to get these finished as I wanted to donate the book to the parsonage I think it would be useful either for their archive or for the second second section in their shop

This is from the Russian Prince D S Mirsky and is from Leeds and a 1923 meeting of the Bronte Society

He gives his impression of how the Brontes appear to what he calls “foreigners” ,primairly he focuses on Emily

He became acquainted with their work late in life as apparently their Governess  thought badly of their works (incredibly she was an English woman from Bingley)

Here are brief extracts which give the overall tenor of the article

“Jane Eyre I came upon in the winter of 1917 to 1918 in the Turkish town of Erzerum.It was a terrible time the Russian front had already collapsed,and we the remainder of the Russian army in Armenia where waiting for the inevitable end,,,,

There I first found Jane Eyre ,I remember the intense thrill of  the first reading and still marvel at the red hot fire of emotion that seems to burn in its flames all the numerous inconsistencies and absurdities of the narrative .”

“Wuthering Heights I read in Athens ,I had it lent to me along with “The mysteries of Udolpho  “The lady who lent me the two books said “If you like sensational blood and thunder stories here you have them”

The Prince disagreed that the writers are in any way similar and goes on to consider the locations in which he read the novels  and makes the now well known links between Heathcliff  specifically and more general the rest of  Wuthering Heights with Emilys poetry before continuing,,,


“I do not hesitate to place both sisters among the foremost writers  of the world ,but of the two which is more likely to last .,,

“The homely sincere humanity of Charlotte or the  unearthly splendor  of Emily .Emily is certainly less bound to her time and if Charlottes was the more immediate success ,Emily seems now to have gained the upper hand  .She is well worth it ,well worth the greatest fame in the world.,,,,

“Wuthering heights is a well regulated and ordered universe ,obedient to the laws of its creator,a terrible universe ,,,that reminds one of the Mancunian legend that the devil created the world.”

Of all human vices ,,,Vanity is most common ,of this vice Emily was entirely exempt ,the opposite vice pride ,is one she had in profusion ..From whatever side we approach her she seems more inhuman and more like the hero of Miltons poem.

Only one point in her seems human ,her relation to her sister Anne,the only creature she seems to have loved .

It has  often been said that Wuthering Heights is a direct  product of the West Riding  ,that detached from its soil it becomes unintelligible, ,,

I think this view is exaggerated ,I cannot accept that Wuthering Heights   is a true depiction of the west riding ,or that the West Yorkshire is all  inhabited by Heathcliffs and Catherine Lintons.

Emilys novel is essentially outside time and space   ,and if it is nondetachable from the West riding ,then the West Riding itself must be outside time and space.




A brief introduction to Prince Mirsky ,I dont normally recomend Wikipedia but in this instance its accurate and concise


About hathawaysofhaworth

I am a Historian and author living in the north
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