HAWORTH HARVEST: The Story of the Brontes by N. Brysson Morrison

HAWORTH HARVEST: The Story of the Brontes

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Certain stories, like that of the Brontes, lend themselves to repetition and one can read them again and again with reminiscent anticipation. With the exception of Muriel Spark's republished monograph Emily Bronte (1966) there has been nothing recently. Miss Morrison is attuned not only sentimentally to their story (as she was to Mary, Queen of Scots--1961) but also to a style more appropriate to their era than to ours. Re the parsonage to which all the Brontes returned as if to a sanctuary--""Its precincts had been jealously guarded since she (Charlotte) and Branwell had held sway in that dangerous, enthralling existence where the tree bearing forbidden fruit grew so exotically luxuriant, that existence which Us Two knew of as the infernal world."" This quotation also leads to points of balance as well as rosegold rhetoric in the biography: the closeness of Charlotte and Branwell's relationship is stressed while her attraction to M. Heger in Brussels is definitely underplayed. And while this is a collective biography, Emily is very shadowy while Anne could, expectably, be ancillary. It seems unnecessary to retrace the sad steps from the vicarage to the graveyard from the time when the first two little girls (Maria and Elizabeth) were returned from school to die. Or Branwell's precarious ""nerviness"" and instability which yield to alcohol and laudanum. Or the writing of the works to which Miss Morrison makes no real critical contribution. But despite the amidsts and amongsts, or perhaps because of them, there will be readers for what is essentially reputable if romantic biography.

Pub Date: Oct. 9th, 1969
Publisher: Vanguard