Bronte Book Set To Return – Poetry News November 19th

Today on My Poetic Side we take a look at the story of the miniature Charlotte Bronte book that is finally set to return to the Parsonage Museum in Haworth following a successful bid at auction by the museum.

Following Museum Success at Auction Rare Charlotte Bronte Book Coming Home

8 years ago the Parsonage Museum which is located in Haworth, West Yorkshire in the old home of the Bronte family, missed out on a rare book that had been written by the author and poet Charlotte Bronte.

Now, following success at an auction in Paris, the book, which was written by Charlotte when she was just 14 years of age, will be returning home. The Bronte Society, who run the museum was able to purchase the book at auction for £512,091 (€600,000) following an extensive fundraising campaign to raise the necessary money.

The book is a miniature work titled “The Young Men’s Magazine”.  It is one of a series of six little books that Charlotte, the oldest of the three Bronte sisters wrote in 1830. Of the six books, it is believed that only 5 have survived and the Bronte Museum already house the other four. The sixth book is believed to have gone missing at some point during the 1930s.

“The Young Men’s Magazines” talk about an imaginary world that the Bronte family created called Glass Town. The books were written for Charlotte’s toy soldiers.

The executive director of The Bronte Society is delighted that they managed to finally achieve their goal and, that 189 years after it was written, the little book will be coming home. The fundraising campaign that they launched in order to put together the funds to purchase the book received support from all over the world. They had the support of numerous celebrities as well including Dame Jacqueline Wilson and Dame Judi Dench. In total, over 1000 people pledged money to the society to help them buy the book.

Dame Judi Dench is president of the Bronte Society and has been fascinated by the works of the Brontes, in particular, these little books for many years. Not only do they give a glimpse into the imaginative world in which the Brontes lived but they also their ambition to be published authors later on.

The book measures just 61mm by 35mm and has 20 pages. Before it was put up for auction by Sotheby’s in 2011 it was not known to exist. Unfortunately, in 2011 the Bronte Society loss the bidding and the book was purchased by an investment scheme that is no longer in operation.

Experts who have had the opportunity to examine the book believe that a portion of the book which talks about a murderer who is driven mad having been haunted by his victims is a “clear precursor” to a scene in Jane Eyre between the Rochester’s. The novel Jane Eyre was published 17 years later.

The museum has not yet revealed their plans for the book although it is widely accepted that it will be reunited with the other books in the series that they own, all of which are viewable online via the museum’s webpage.

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