Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Charlotte Bronte's lost love letters revealed
Love letters which reveal Charlotte Brontë's infatuation with her Belgian professor are to be published. The Telegraph - 27 January, 2012
Charlotte Bronte as a young womanPhoto: Mary Evans Picture Library / Alamy
The letters were sent by the Jane Eyre novelist to Professor Constantin Heger, an older man with a wife and children.Heger tore them up in shock, but they were retrieved from a rubbish bin by his wife who sewed them back together and preserved them.
One, composed in French, reads: "If my master withdraws his friendship from me entirely, I shall be absolutely without hope."
Another, with a postscript written in English, reads: "I must say one word to you in English - I wish I would write to you more cheerful letters, for when I read this over, I find it to be somewhat gloomy - but forgive me my dear master - do not be irritated at my sadness - according to the words of the Bible: 'Out of the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaketh', and truly I find it difficult to be cheerful so long as I think I shall never see you more."
The letter was written in 1844, two years after Bronte, then age 28, met Heger, her tutor, and three years before the publication of Jane Eyre, her first major work.
The story echoes the plot of her 1853 novel Villette, about a young women with an unrequited love for her Belgian teacher. Full piece at The Telegraph.