Thinking About Emily Bronte's Writings
Posted in the Wuthering Heights Forum
#1 Nov 2, 2009
A VISION OF ONENESS
Emily Bronte seemed to be obsessed with what she called her Gondal Poems which she began collecting together in February 1844. This obsession continued right through the publication of Wuthering Heights in 1847 until May 1848. Her poems were about imaginary heroes and heroines and contained a vision of oneness. It was this vision that she sought to communicate in her poetry. These poems and their themes provided a retreat for Emily’s imagination, for her fantasy. They became a necessity for her life. They were a “benignant power” a “solacer of human cares” and a “brighter hope when hope despairs.”-Ron Price with thanks to Juliet Barker, The Brontes, Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1994, pp.435-6.
You started collecting your poems
the same month Samandar was born,
the great Apostle of Baha’u’llah,
one of the many heros and heroines
of the Cause. You finished just before
the Conference of Badasht with the Bab
in the fortress of Chihriq. And now my
imagination has a home among these
saints and martyrs that is a “benignant
poer”, a “sure solacer of human cares”
and a “brighter hope when hope despairs.”1
You died when the siege of the Shrine of
Shaykh Tabarsi began: aged thirty, as tough
as boot leather, an unbending spirit, proud
endurance, gifted soul, genius of liberated
mind and tranquil spirit: perhaps your spirit
was at Tabarsi!2
1 ibid., p. 436.
2 Emily Bronte had “a vision of the essential oneness of life which she gradually and haltingly communicated in her poetry.”(Winifred Gerin, Emily Bronte, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1997, p.149. She died on 19 December 1848 the same day as the siege on Tabarsi began.
26 October 1999
#2 Nov 2, 2009
I saw the last of a two part TV series on the Bronte sisters this afternoon.1
The Brontes are, arguably, literature’s most famous sisters, certainly most famous threesome. Their rise to fame in the literary world and the tragedy of their lives in England could be compared to the rise and the tragic years of the Babi Faith in Persia, all in the same 1840s and early 1850s. Both the Bab and the sisters were all born in the last years of the second decade of the nineteenth century, 1816 to 1819. Until 1848 the Movement of the Bab and the writing of the three sisters enjoyed much success. Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights were published in 1847. The Cause of the Bab flourished in its early years 1844-1847.
But in 1848 and 1849 two of the Bronte sisters died and their brother. In Persia the great massacres of Babis began to take place: 1848-1852. Charlotte died in 1854 at 38. In October 1848 the Babi uprising at Tabarsi began and an insurrectionary period that was to last for four years and with it the loss of the Bab’s popular mass appeal.2 -Ron Price with thanks to 1ABC TV,“In Search of the Brontes,” 2:00-3:00 p.m. March 13th 2005; and 2Peter Smith, The Babi and Baha’i Religions, George Ronald, 1987, p.53.
The wings of hovered,
consumed the fabric of their lives,
took their existence to its lowest ebb
and to what end one might ask?
They finished their days
in obscure, isolated, windswept
corners of this earthly realm, this
mortal coil, with their talents speeding
to their end. Did their deaths set
the seal of failure on their lives?
Such glorious conceptions, such
heroic deeds and, then, gone!
What an apparent, a colossal disaster!
The flame snuffed out by fate’s finger,
swiftly receding into the shadows
of omnipotence and oblivion,
all hope seemingly vanished.
The tide of artistic beauty gone out
and, with it, the tide of enthusiasm
for a Cause crushed to dust,
its devotees cowed and exhausted.
Perhaps we see here just
a fiery phase of transition
on the path to a high destiny,
to an ascendancy that would find
its inspiration in the desperate,
prolonged disappointments of that hour
when new notes were sounded.
Perhaps the yet unborn,
with a cunning that is so
mysteriously subtle come to live
and have their being implanted
by some dispensations of Providence
in their very souls, unbeknownst.
March 13 2005
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