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"Bronte Territories: Cornwall and the Unexplored Maternal" Topic

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©1994-2020 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP10 Dec 2019 12:50 p.m. PST

…Legacy 1760

"'Actually… the Bronte girls got their literary talent from the Carne side, as their Aunt Elizabeth spun wonderfully wild and woolly tales of Cornwall. So there!' – Philip Carne. This new book explores the important maternal background of the great literary family. In highlighting the background of their Cornish mother and her family, it provides a major and fresh source of cultural understanding of the Bront milieu. Surprisingly ignored until now, Cornish contextual networks and issues are shown to have been very significant in the creative evolution of the writers. Place-histories of Yorkshire and Ireland have been exhaustively investigated as backdrops to Brontė writings. Largely unacknowledged, however, is the influential agency to their writings that Cornwall, as a mental and spiritual legacy, also offers. Their Cornish kin did much to mould and form capabilities, temperament, and literary concerns. Born and bred in the town and district of Penzance at Land's End, Maria (Carne) Brontė (1783-1821) died young at Haworth in Yorkshire, leaving her six children all under 10 years of age. Travelling far to take over the care of the children, her Cornish elder sister Elizabeth (Carne) Branwell (1776-1842) is also virtually ignored in Brontė history. Yet it was Elizabeth who would provide the general tenor, the daily routines and domestic rhythms for the family as children, adults, and creative beings. This new illustrated study captures the whole milieu in which Maria, Elizabeth and their kinship circle grew up in Cornwall, known even then as a legendary and romantic place. In their everyday life were a number of journalists, travellers, poets, story-tellers, and published academics, critically influential in their day. The legacies of story-telling, journal reading and direct participation in the life of books were vital. This volume presents a full cast-list of possible participants in the lives of the constituent families. The focus pivots on the critically important period in which the Wesleyan Methodist emphasis on education and loving usefulness to family and society was to the fore, transforming the face of Cornwall into the Victorian period. In an age of revolutions American, French and industrial the Branwells, the Carnes, the Battens and the Fennells were laying new roads into the future."


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