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Charlotte Brontë’s ‘Little Book’, written as a teenager, to come home to Haworth

I’m lucky to live only half an hour’s drive from the home of the Brontë sisters in Haworth, West Yorkshire, one of my favourite places in the world. (If you’re a Brontë fan, you might like to visit my post containing new photos of the parsonage, or my article on a writers’ workshop held at the Brontë parsonage by the poet Jackie Kay.)

helena fairfax, top withens
At Top Withens, said to be the inspiration for Wuthering Heights

We recently heard the great news that the Brontë Society has succeeded in acquiring an incredibly rare ‘little book’, written by the teenage Charlotte Brontë, and that this will be returned to her home in Haworth.

I follow the author Annika Perry’s blog, and today she has a lovely post on a visit of hers to Haworth, and about the ‘little books’. I’m sharing it here. I hope you enjoy as much as I did!

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THE LITTLE BOOKS

Annika Perry

One of my favourite outings as a young girl was just an hour’s 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…

Click here to read more…

haworth, helena fairfax
Haworth Main Street on a cloudy day

13 thoughts on “Charlotte Brontë’s ‘Little Book’, written as a teenager, to come home to Haworth

  1. Helena, thank you so much for sharing my post! You are so lucky to live close to Haworth – the Parsonage, town and moors are all wonderful to visit! It’s fantastic that the final of these five books is now back where it belongs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the fascinating post and photos, Annika. Yes, we’re really lucky to live so nearby, and to be able to walk the same moorland the sisters did. It’s a place I visit often. And it’s brilliant their bid to get the Little Book succeeded! Thanks for letting me share your post.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Took my late mother to Haworth a few years ago, and I myself am a former rare books librarian, so I have a number of aspects of interest in this post. Come to think of it, I was also in regular email contact with a certain Miss Landau (who has a copy of WUTHERING HEIGHTS), took pictures from the Parsonage and Top Withens (actually not sure if it was the Top, might have been Halfway Up Withens or Bottom Withens or Backside Withens) and sent them to her… Being pals with a famous Hollywood actress led to many fine and surreal experiences, and that was only one of them, but I digress again.

    Three thoughts:

    I am sometimes quietly horrified how much time young people (some of whom will have the innate talent to become writers) waste mindlessly yakking on mobile phones whereas they would make much better use of their time if only they would blot out the bawling of the madding crowd and concentrate on writing a tiny book like this. I did a sequel to WINNIE THE POOH at five or six years of age, which set me on the long road towards DEAR MISS LANDAU and THE LEGEND OF JOHN MACNAB. it takes ten to fifteen years of concentrated study to gain real mastery of one’s talent and craft. After some years’ thought on the matter, I will come out and say it: you won’t get there if you waste your time sending each other useless text messages.

    One of the things about rare books is, well, there aren’t many of them (yeah, I know, d’oh) but it is such a seemingly obvious fact there is a real danger of it being overlooked: you cannot just go get another one out of WH Smith if there is only one. And its rarity makes it both historic and valuable. It was worth the cost of acquiring it. Period. There are very, very few rare books librarians/cataloguers left, and when we go, I fear society will have even less care or thought for its past than it does now…

    In my days of hope and glory as a rare book cataloguer (long story), I did ask myself what rare books’ importance was, and came up with two basics:

    Venerate them for their age and rarity. Period. That’s a given.

    But (and this is for all those putzes who think computers and the internet etc. are everything) any literary format is also partly just a means of storing and retrieving information. The information stored in the “little book” by Charlotte Bronte can still be retrieved. I once catalogued a book on carpentry from 1799. I could also have read it and followed the instructions in order to put up a shelf…

    If you can’t get the information out of a format, it’s not much good, and the particular format of rare books has stood the test of time. Online stuff can get difficult to access much more quickly so while it is fair to make the point that each format has its pros and cons, rare books aren’t obsolete. A researcher can now read about just how young Charlotte felt in 1830…

    Weirdly enough, the same thing is true of me. DEAR MISS LANDAU is autobiographical. A hundred years after I am dead, anyone reading it will know EXACTLY how I felt waiting for Miss Landau on Sunset Boulevard that faraway day. There are about 2,000 copies of DEAR MISS LANDAU in existence, but only about a hundred MACNABs. Only two hundred were printed in the first place and my publisher’s warehouse just had a leak, so we’ve lost a few…

    That’s another incidental point: books don’t have to be old to be rare. There aren’t that many first editions of HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER’S STONE, and they’re only twenty-two years old.

    I hope that provides some interesting food for thought!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi James, thanks so much for your comment. It certainly has given some interesting food for thought! Funnily enough I was thinking along the same lines regarding teenagers today. There is a lot to be said for boredom being a catalyst for creativity. Perhaps we do have far too many distractions these days – although there were probably people in Victorian times saying that young people then had too much to distract them. And let’s not forget most people of 14 would have been going out to work. Also, there are some wonderfully creative and thought-provoking computer games around, developed by people brought up with mobile phones.
    To move on another of your points – will those computer games last as long as books? I feel like you do, that in 400 years time the Harry Potter books of today will have outlasted what’s on the internet at the moment, and will have outlasted present computer games. But we won’t be here to see it, so who knows?
    Thanks so much for your great comment. It must have been wonderful to be around so many rare books.

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  4. Hi Helena thanks for this post and your link to Annika’s blog. Such exciting news about the ‘little book’, last weekend I was worried they might not reach the fundraising target, but was amazed to find out on Monday they had gone beyond it! Brilliant. Just shows how much we love books. As part of the celebrations, I put my novella on free download for this coming weekend. It’s set in Haworth, and details are on my blog, out tomorrow. Have a great weekend ;-)

    Liked by 2 people

  5. It was great news about the book. Like you, I never imagined they’d reach their target. I’m so glad it’s coming back to Haworth.
    What a great idea to celebrate with your novella. I’ll look out for your blog post tomorrow and share as much as I can over the weekend. Thanks so much for dropping in, and for your lovely comment!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey, Helena. Love this post and the link to read more about the Little Books. I didn’t know about them, though I’ve certainly read my fair share of Bronte writings. How wonderful for you to live so close. Your FB pictures capture the area beautifully. I’ve shared. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much, Marsha. The Little Books are amazing to see in real life. The script is absolutely tiny and so painstaking. I do hope you get over to the UK some time and have the chance to visit. Thanks for dropping in, and for sharing!

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  7. I marveled at her writings on the tiny pages. The teensy weensy handwriting was legible. Talk about getting writer’s cramp! I enjoyed visiting the museum. So much to see, it’s impossible to absorb it all. But the wonder at those little pages will be with me forever. Thanks, Helena!

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    1. I really enjoyed our trip, JQ! Laurette Long has a great post today with more photos and atmospheric excerpt from her book. The link is in my comment above if you’d like to check it out. (Her book is free this weekend so worth dropping in!)

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