A Special Issue of Brontë Studies (Volume 40, Number 4, November 2015) features as its opening article, the first formal publication stemming from Melissa Hardie-Budden’s current research into the maternal relations of the famed writers. Entitled ‘Maternal Forebears of the Brontë Archive: “Nothing comes from Nothing”; or Stories from another Canon’ Melissa shares some of histories emerging as the Carne and Branwell families worked and lived in West Cornwall in the late 1700s and early 1800s.
Especially exciting is the formal launch of the Maternal Brontë Archive, just as the announcement is made (BBC and newspapers, 12 November 2015) of the finding of unpublished manuscripts by Charlotte Brontë inside a rare book that belonged to her mother.
Maria Carne Branwell, of Penzance, travelled to Yorkshire in 1812 at the age of 29, joining other Cornish relations who re-settled there in the same year. In meeting the Reverend Patrick Brontë, within her family’s professional circle, she sent for her belongings and married him. The literary remains of poet Henry Kirke White, as written by Robert Southey, was a volume amongst her books, and this has come to hand in the USA, where it has been in the same family for over 100 years, with a poem and a short story by Charlotte between the pages. The bicentenary of Charlotte’s birth will be celebrated in various forms in 2016, and the Hypatia Trust will hold its own related event on 21st April.
The Carne-Branwell family archive detailing key personages and cultural influences will be made available for study in future. It will take an important place in the Elizabeth Treffry Collection on Women in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
* Brontë Studies, Vol. 40 No. 4, November 2015, 269-75
Maney Publishing ISSN 1474-8932 (print) Online at www.maneyonline.com/bst