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Cicely Havely, Lecturer in Literature, looks at a little known aspect of Charlotte Bronte's work: her drawings and paintings. From these strange and beautiful works we can get an insight into Charl...otte's imagination which enhances our understanding of her writing. From childhood her imagination fed on woodcuts and engravings which came her way. In her writing we find her creating word pictures often similar in detail and feeling. Cicely Havely looks at works by Bewick and John Martin which Charlotte knew and Angela Pleasence plays Charlotte Bronte quoting from her writings. Charlotte's obsession with pretty and curvacious fashion ladies tells us about her awareness of her own plainess: the contrast between Jane Eyre and Miss Ingram. Strange scenes are infused with Byronic sensuality and bear witness to the Bronte's elaborate fantasy world which they wrote about in their juvenilia. Cold classical faces, in contrast, remind one of the principled clergymen, like St. John Rivers. The drawings were photographed at the Bronte Parsonage Museum, Haworth.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: A101, An arts foundation course
Item code: A101; 26
First transmission date: 23-08-1978
Published: 1978
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:25:00
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Producer: Nick Levinson
Contributors: Cicely Palser Havely; Angela Pleasance
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Art; Bronte, Charlotte; Glass Town; John Martin; Literature
Footage description: The programme opens with a variety of 19th century illustrations over which Havely describes Charlotte Bronte's fascination with such works. She comments on the relationship between Charlotte's art and her writing. Over prints from Thomas Bewick's History of British Birds she describes their influence on Charlotte. Actress Angela Pleasance reads a passage from Jane Eyre in which Jane shows Rochester her paintings. Havely comments briefly on this. Havely comments on a variety of works by members of the Bronte family. A number of Charlotte's portratis of imaginery women are shown and discussed. Pleasance reads the passage from Jane Eyre in which Jane's and Blanche's portraits are described. Havely describes the influence of Byronic Romanticism on Charlotte. Illustrations of Byron's works by William Finden are examined in the context of Romanticism. Likewise, the influence of The Keepsake of 1829 on Charlotte is described. Pleasance reads the description of Lady Ingram from Jane Eyre. Charlotte's imaginery world, Glasstown, is briefly described. Print of the Maid of Saragossa. Havely comments on sketches for St. John Rivers, and Pleasance reads Charlotte's description of him. Prints by John Martin are examined and his influence on Charlotte described. Her own Bay of Glasstown is discussed. Pleasance reads Charlotte's poem on the destruction of Glasstown. Further prints by Martin, over which Havely examines his influence on Glasstown. Havely describes Charlotte's detailed observation of the world around her. Plensance reads a descriptive passage from Jane Eyre.
Master spool number: 6HT/72599
Production number: 00525_3243
Videofinder number: 2616
Available to public: no