Upcoming U.S. Exhibition: Charlotte Brontë: An Independent Will (September 9, 2016, through January 2, 2017)

Engraved portrait of Charlotte Brontë by James Charles Armytage, after a chalk drawing by George Richmond, 1857. 
The Morgan Library & Museum.

The very first Brontë novel I read was 'Jane Eyre' by Charlotte Bronte. I was about twelve years old in grammar school searching the library room shelves when I saw a Gothic looking cover of a woman with raven hair pulled back in a bun with a black cloak tied over her shoulders covering a long white dress.  Smiling and intrigued, I reached for the small, worn, paperback.  I took it out and brought it home where I sat on my bed reading every day and night before and after school until I finished it. My mom was thrilled. To say she was a voracious reader would be an understatement. I overheard  a conversation once between herself and my grandma where my mom said something to the effect of, "I wonder when Kimberly will read books on her own without it being a school assignment?" 
Well, actually 'Jamaica Inn' by Daphne du Maurier was my first book I read on my own at the age of ten years old but Jane Eyre was the second!  

So, my Brontë passion began with Charlotte, progressed to Emily Bronte's, 'Wuthering Heights' which my mom adored. She took me to the movie theatre to watch the film version with Laurence Olivier every single time it hit the theatres!  It was fantastic; just sitting there next to my mom, during my teen years, watching her face light up as 'Larry' walked across the screen.  I get it now Mom. I get it! 
Anyway, I didn't get to Anne Bronte's novels until I was an adult. How moving they both were for me. 

The first time I went to the United Kingdom, it was July 1997 during the World Cup but that's a different story. Although, it introduced me to something called football and the team, 'Manchester United'.  I still love them!  My first trip included the Yorkshire Dales but not Haworth Parsonage Museum. I swore one day, I would return and trace the steps of each Bronte sister. I wanted to walk the moors and attempt to feel what they had.  I have not made it to Haworth yet but this coming September 2016 some of Charlotte Bronte's most treasured items will travel to New York City's Morgan Library and Museum.  

"From the time Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre was first published in 1847, readers have been drawn to the orphan protagonist who declared herself “a free human being with an independent will.” Like her most famous fictional creation, Brontë herself took bold steps throughout her life in pursuit of personal and professional fulfillment. This exhibition, presented on the occasion of the two hundredth anniversary of Brontë’s birth, traces her creative path from reluctant governess to published poet to commanding novelist. From her earliest literary works—written with a quill pen in a minuscule hand designed to mimic the printed page—to the manuscript of her explosive novel Jane Eyre, the exhibition presents an intimate portrait of one of England’s most compelling authors.

The exhibition is a historic collaboration between two of the world’s finest repositories of Brontëana. It brings together literary manuscripts, intimate letters, and rare printed books from the Morgan’s rich collection with personal artifacts, drawings, and photographs from the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, England. Highlights include Brontë’s earliest surviving miniature manuscript, her portable writing desk and paint box, one of her own dresses, and a pair of her ankle boots. Also on view—for the first time in North America—will be a portion of the manuscript of Jane Eyre, from the collection of the British Library, open to the unforgettable scene in which Jane tells Rochester, “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will; which I now exert to leave you.”

Charlotte Brontë: An Independent Will is made possible by Fay and Geoffrey Elliott.
The catalogue is underwritten by the Andrew W. Mellon Fund for Research and Publications.

For further details, The Morgan Library


Kevin Marsh said…
Hello Kimberly,

What a lovely drawing of Charlotte.
Walking the Yorkshire moors at Haworth seems like a very good idea, but only if the weather is fine.
Great blog, thank you for sharing.
Kimberly Eve said…
Hi Kevin,
I will visit Haworth one day and hopefully walk the moors. Thank you for your comment.