Archive > The Brontës in Brussels (. . . and Paris!)



Walking along the platform in a Paris Métro station recently, I noticed a display with life-size reproductions of some of the nearby Musee des Lettres et Manuscrits’ collection of written documents: ‘A manuscript of Charlotte Brontë that fits in the palm of the hand’ the heading says. These tiny notebook pages (probably no more than 3 by 2 inches in size) written in a neat, still legible, but minuscule hand reminded me of pages in a similar vein that I’d marvelled at some years ago at the Brontë museum in Howarth, West Yorkshire. More recently, I’d re-sized and laid out reproductions of letters by Charlotte along with original illustrations from her novels and photographs of 19th century and modern Brussels in the colour pages of the book we published this year [2014], The Brontës in Brussels by Helen MacEwan. The book charts Charlotte’s and her sister Emily’s stay in Brussels to improve their languages. Two of Charlotte’s four novels were inspired by, and in certain details, based on her stay there between 1842 and 1844. Along with extracts from the novels which show how much she drew from her time in the city, this highly illustrated and entertaining book includes maps and a tour guide of relevant places which any Brontës enthusiast could use to complete their stay in (or their armchair travels to) that historic Belgian city.


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