Treasures await Brontë fans this winter at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York. It’s one of my favorite spots to visit when in the Big Apple, and this is an exhibit not to be missed.
Shows at the Morgan always have material of the highest quality, and this one is no exception. They’ve got the original manuscript of Jane Eyre, on loan from the British Library.
William Grimes, author of the New York Times article on the show, manages to mangle the context of this famous quote. He writes, “The exhibition’s subtitle comes from the pivotal chapter in “Jane Eyre” in which the heroine, although deeply in love with Mr. Rochester, the master of the house where she is a governess, spurns his proposal that she live with him, in effect, as his mistress.” (In fact, this is the scene where he proposes marriage, though it’s true that when she insists on leaving, Jane has not yet heard the magic words. After their abortive wedding, he does ask her to live as his mistress, and she runs away from Thornfield to escape the temptation.)
Another choice item is Branwell Brontë’s portrait of his three sisters.
As children, the Brontës developed elaborate fictional worlds and recorded them in a series of miniature manuscripts, of which the Morgan owns a selection. As a miniature collector, I am looking forward to seeing these.
The NYT article doesn’t mention it, but I suspect that they will display another of the Morgan’s Brontë treasures, an entry from Charlotte’s diary which includes an erotic daydream. From outside, she looks through the windows of a palace in her fictional kingdom of Angria, and sees a drunken man reclining on a sofa:
his brown complexion flushed with wine, & his broad chest heaving wildly as the breath issued in spurts from his distended nostrils, while I watched the fluttering of his white shirt ruffles starting through the more than half-unbuttoned waistcoat, & beheld the expression of his Arabian countenance savagely exulting even in sleep
The exhibit also includes an unexpected bonus, one of Charlotte’s dresses. It’s a chance to stand beside her, in a way. A brilliant intellect and a powerful will inhabited that tiny frame, only four feet nine inches tall.
The show runs through January 2.
Lisa @ cheergerm said:
That would be a marvellous exhibition to see, I gather you will get there?
I just bought our plane tickets 🙂 Something to look forward to!
What a brilliant recommendation. I’m not a particular fan of the Brontes, but I’d like to see this all the same!
The Morgan is always worth a visit. Their Edgar Allan Poe exhibit was stunning. I like the idea of seeing Charlotte’s dress, standing next to it and realizing how tiny she was. Just like Jane Eyre.
This will be a wonderful event to attend on a winter visit in New York.
Yes! I am going to be looking forward to it all semester 🙂
Thanks for posting this! I kept seeing the NYT article on the exhibit but hadn’t read it yet. I hope you’ll write up your visit! And I SO want to make that dress now!
I’m glad you enjoyed it. I don’t think the Morgan allows photos, which makes it harder to blog, but I hope to write something about that visit anyway.
Sylvie G said:
Thank you very much for sharing these images of the exhibition, I am a great fan of the Brontes
Glad you enjoyed them! Someday I’d like to go to the Brontë Parsonage in Yorkshire. I have a long list of destinations like that 🙂
Sorry, OT, but have you seen this? Just in from Irish Film and TV network: http://iftn.ie/news/?act1=record&only=1&aid=73&rid=4289667&tpl=archnews&force=1
Yes! We CH fans are all rapt with speculation about what character he might play. I would love to see him as a Native American, because every so often someone on the web asks if that is his heritage (Asian is another common guess.) Must be those cheekbones 🙂
And the dark hair/complexion. I can see how he gets mistaken for native American…
I’ve actually seen him compared with the famous image of Sitting Bull. But… they are already filming and he’s got very short hair right now, so he’s probably Jessica Chastain’s father or something. He’s much in demand for these paternal roles at the moment.
And thank god for paternal roles! They are quite nice, for a change.
He rarely wears a wig, though I’m pretty sure he’s had hair extensions for some roles. If they do a wig, it had better be good. Hard to fool us experts who know every strand of that hairline 🙂
LOL – I suppose, fans are always overfamiliar with their favourite subject…
There was Charlotte Bronte exhibition at the Portrait Gallery in London in the spring when we were there. Didn’t know ahead of time, just ran into it and loved it. The painting of the 3 sisters I have already seen there before, it’s larger than I thought it would be.
Ah, that’s interesting. I imagined it small. It’s very strange because Branwell included himself in the middle and then painted over it.
Yes, if you look closely you can see where the image used to be.
At the portrait gallery in London I also saw a portrait of Jane Austen, which turned out to be much smaller than I thought. It’s strange how you have certain expectations and you didn’t know you even had them until you saw the actual item!
I need to visit that gallery! I’ve been to the National Portrait Gallery in the US, which was great, but the London one goes back a lot further.
It’s great. My fave London museum so far, but then I love people-watching. 🙂