Brontë Exhibit at the Morgan

The name of the Charlotte Brontë exhibit at the Morgan Library was “An Independent Will,” which I think succinctly sums up the life of Charlotte Brontë and her character Jane Eyre. CB marched to the beat of her own drum. I did not know that she was also an accomplished artist, and was impressed at the paintings and drawings (mostly copies of other works, but some originals) that were displayed in the exhibit. But, the tiny copies of her childhood writings of the land of Angria that she and Branwell created were so awesome. The exhibit mentioned that they tried to make their writing so that it looked like print, and their stories were wild and imaginative, a different world in which they could escape from the mundanity in their everyday life. I think that some of the early creativity permeates her writing, especially in Jane Eyre; it is sad to think of such  brilliant life cut so short. CB’s independence and fierce will were what allowed her to get Jane Eyre published in the first place; it is hard to think of an author that so clearly resembles her main character. My favorite part of the exhibit was the written manuscript of Jane Eyre that was opened to the page where Jane exerts her will against Rochester, maintaining her independence-unfortunately no pictures were allowed of it (I did try but got caught). One of my favorite scenes in Jane Eyre, and one in which I could imagine Jane as Charlotte Brontë herself!

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A copy of Bewick’s Guide to British Birds-open to the page that Jane is reading during Jane Eyre!

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CB’s writing desk

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One of her earliest childhood writings-the exhibit provided magnifying glasses to see things closer…

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One of the first bound and printed copies of Jane Eyre.

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