Thursday, April 02, 2009

Literary travels: A writer's journey, part 1

I apologize to those of you who have been waiting for a post on my trip to Europe. There are actually three posts coming up, all with pictures, so hopefully it will have been worth the wait!

I've found that I can (very occasionally) leave my work behind, but I never leave behind my identity as a writer. Our trip to Europe therefore had many literary elements to it.

For starters, almost the first half of our trip was in Haworth, where the Brontë sisters lived and wrote their classic novels. Since I am a huge Brontë fan, it was a given that we would go to Haworth on our first trip together overseas; and so for four nights, I surrounded myself with the setting that inspired Charlotte, Emily, and Anne.

Although of course Haworth is much more modern in some ways than in the Brontë sisters' day, it is also very similar in many ways. Main Street is the same steep, cobbled road it was back then, with the same buildings and even the same pubs that existed nearly two centuries ago.

The steep cobbled Main Street in Haworth, looking down from near the top of the hill

The moors of course are much the same as they were back then; more of the farmhouses are abandoned, and I have a feeling more of this is grazing land than once was, but I imagine this is similar to how it looked in the first half of the nineteenth century, too.

The Bronte moors near Haworth, early in the morning under a heavy mist

Haworth church was rebuilt in the late 1800s, all except for the tower, and the cemetery now has tall trees (and cawing crows) that were not there in the Brontës' time. However, the parsonage has been restored as much as possible to how it was back then (another wing was added in the late nineteenth century) and turned into a museum, complete with furniture, clothing, manuscripts, and other memorabilia that once belonged to the Brontës.

The Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth, with the cemetery in the foreground

I've been a Brontë fan since adolescence, so actually being in this place was amazing and inspiring — not to mention why I knew I had to bring some work with me! I'll talk a little about inspiration in my next post.

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