THE LITTLE BOOKS

One of my favourite outings as a young girl was just an hours drive from home.

Nestled in a valley on the West Yorkshire moors, Haworth is an idyllic village, always bustling with visitors. On the top of the Main Street, a misnomer for the rambling cobbled lane, was the house of our regular pilgrimage. The Parsonage was for over forty years the home to Patrick Brontë and his family and later turned into a museum.

In silenced awe, I wandered around the rooms in which they lived, worked, wrote. I gasped at the exhibits, incredible to believe these were their actual writings. The rooms used by the Brontë family are largely unchanged and filled with a collection of furniture, clothes and personal possessions. One display particularly held me in reverential hush … the little books! Absolutely tiny – each the size of a small matchbox! How could they fit so much in these!

One set was produced by Charlotte Brontë in 1830 for her toy soldiers and featured an imaginary world created by the family called Glass Town. Aged 14 she wrote six (all sequenced) of these little books called “The Young Men’s Magazine”. They all included stories and advertisements in Charlotte’s own hand. Today five are still in existence, of which until recently the Brontë Society held four. Earlier this week they acquired the fifth through fundraising for the price of £666,790:- (approx. $860,825:-)

Over 1,000 people pledged money to help buy the book, including the illustrious and gifted actress, Judi Dench. Born in York, she is president of the Brontë Society and she captures the inherent spirit of the books perfectly.

“These tiny manuscripts are like a magical doorway into the imaginary worlds they inhabited, and also hint at their ambition to become published authors.”

Now living in the South East of England my journey to the Brontë Parsonage will take over five hours, yet this is a visit I look forward to making next year. Once there I imagine the young me and present me reunited as we stand in awed respect, admiring all five of the little books, in wonder at these young minds and hearts set on writing!

Note: All photos from Google.

143 thoughts on “THE LITTLE BOOKS

  1. Pingback: Sharing Some Blog Links | quirkywritingcorner

    1. Thank you so much and I agree, it is amazing to visit the places where writers crafted their works, the home/work setting adding an extra dimension their books. Here at the Bronte Parsonage it is as if I could sense their presence!

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  3. What a lovely post and great recommendation, Annika. I immediately looked it up and much to my disappointment, the museum is closed in January. 😦 This would have been the perfect stopover on our way to the Lake District later this month. Since you are familiar with the area, do you have any other bookish stopover suggestions for our journey from Cley to Wast Water?

    1. Darn! That’s such a shame the museum is closed in January but I’m not surprised, that is often the case. You will have to visit another time as it is an incredible place! Have a most special time in the Lakes and I look forward to reading about your travels. Meanwhile, I will give a think about other places in the area and get back to you! hugs xx

    2. Dina, looking around so much is closed this month, including Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top and Wordsworth Dove Cottage! Reading your latest post I noted Klausbernd’s interest in just the right pencil for his notation and wondered if The Pencil Museum https://www.derwentart.com/en-gb/c/about/company/derwent-pencil-museum would be of interest. I haven’t been myself but my husband enjoyed a trip there a few years ago … and came away with the obligatory box of pencils! 😀

      1. Thank you so much for your trouble looking into this, Annika. We spent some time in the Lake District a few years ago and visited all the literary places you mentioned, including the pencil museum. 👍🏻 I was thinking of a place more or less halfway between Cley and our final destination, like a hidden gem for 📚 ish people. 🤔 I‘ll report back to you if I find something interesting 🧐 thanks again! Lots of hugs coming your way 🤗🤗🤗🤗

  4. I’m not a Bronte fan, but you may know that one of my favourite folk groups, the Unthanks, recently turned some of Emily Bronte’s poetry into a song cycle, recording it on the original piano at the Parsonage. Last summer you could hire headphones and listen to the music while following in the sisters’ footsteps onto the moors.

    1. Wow! Roy, thank you so much for letting me know about the song cycle by the Unthanks! I hadn’t heard about this before. I’ve just seen some of this on youtube and it’s a sheer delight and must have been amazing to experience on the moors! Imagine playing the piano in the Parsonage!

      1. Hi Annika. Actually I haven’t listened to the Bronte cycle. However the Unthanks are big favourites of mine. If you want to follow them up I strongly recommend their interpretation of Molly Drake’s poetry, quite brilliant.

  5. Hi Annika,

    Thank you for reading my Spanish letter. I too am a Bronte enthusiast. Around 25 years ago, when we lived in the UK (I was born there), we – husband and I – stayed with friends near Haworth and they drove us there to gaze in awe at the tiny gloves and shoes Charlotte wore and her tiny hand-writing!! Such patience…”Jane Eyre” is my favourite book (read three times) the first time at thirteen, and when her friend at school died, I recall sobbing fit to bust…What a lovely county Yorkshire is! Happy Christmas. Cheers! x

    1. Hi Joy! Thank you so for your wonderful comment! 😀 First, Yorkshire is the best county ever! Well, as far as I’m concerned and part my heart is always there! Having lived there for so long and with family still in the area I’m lucky enough to visit often! Reading your words it’s as if you visited Haworth last week … but I’m not surprised, it is truly memorable and such a special place! Wishing you a very Happy Christmas and a delight to connect with you here via WP! Xx

  6. I would love to visit that village and museum! I think you’re lucky to live a “mere” five hours drive away…I’m all the way across the Atlantic Ocean. Thank you so much for sharing this…now I have added yet another “must see” to my future visit to England!

    1. Yes, I see it is all a matter of perspecitve, Ann! 😀 I do hope you have a chance to visit the museum when you come to England … there is so much more around Yorkshire to tempt you and it is the most beautiful county of all!😀

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