Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Bronte Sister Summer

I bought this dress for the shop intending to hem it slightly below the knee, but pulling it out for alterations and photos, I kind of fell in love with the length! My informally appointed photographer, German and I had so much fun taking pictures and he did such a great job that I thought I'd share some.

It's just oh so Victorian Summer with its fullness and girly ruffles (though an authentic dress from this period would be a bit more modest with the skin on top), and I like to picture my favorite sibling authoresses in similar garb as they stroll the wild moors of Haworth.

(photo by Abigail 709b)

The long standing "Bronte Myth" has popularized the image of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Bronte as country bumpkins raised in the wild moors and cutoff from society. This began with the very first Bronte biographer, Elizabeth Gaskell who wrote during Charlotte's lifetime, and even Charlotte herself somewhat encouraged this myth in her introduction to the second editions of her late sisters' works, claiming that any flaws in the novels were due to their innocence and lack of worldly experience. However, the truth is that Haworth was deep in the throws of industrialization in the 1840s, and the girls lived only a few miles from a bustling urban center. Closer to reality than a walk in the country, perhaps, is a walk in the city!

I feel very Catherine in Wuthering Heights here!

Even in their home, the Brontes were far from sheltered from the social and literary movements of their time, being avid readers of many popular journals and magazines from childhood. This exposure informed their "Juvenilla," the name for their collection of childhood writings including their brother, Branwell's contributions.

I love the contrast of old and new, and the pictures we took of this dress capture the contradiction nicely with the whimsical style of the clothing and the backdrop of urbanization.

Do you ever have fun dressing up like your favorite literary heroes or characters?
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