It is a good week for Charlotte Brontë fans, as two previously unpublished manuscripts have been rescued from obscurity by the Brontë Society and are slated for publication in autumn of 2018.
In a very Brontë -esque twist, The 77-line poem and 74-line story were found pressed between the pages of a book belonging to Charlotte’s mother, which was salvaged from a shipwreck off the coast of Devonshire in 1812. The book and its precious contents were passed around from private owner to private owner before coming to rest in the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Yorkshire in 2015. As you can probably imagine, the book cost a pretty penny. According to an article in The Bookseller, it was “acquired with a £170,000 grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund as well as support from the V&A Museum and the Friends of the National Libraries”.
That’s right folks. Not dollars. Pounds.
This discovery comes on the heels of a controversy regarding the appointment of actress and model Lily Cole as a “creative partner” of the Brontë Society early this year. A member of the society, Nick Holland, quite in a huff and accused the Society of giving in to the pressure to push a younger, sexier brand. What Holland failed to mention, however, is that Lily Cole holds a double first in Art History from Cambridge, has worked on a number of humanitarian campaigns, co-owns a bookstore, and is the founder of a “gift-economy” app that enables people to donate their services. She’s hardly uneducated about the arts, and is certainly not disengaged with the philanthropic world. Some other members of the society cried snobbery, and took to social media to remind their former colleague that the Brontës themselves had been young women struggling to be taken seriously due to their age and sex.
The new manuscripts, including commentary by scholars, a drawing by Charlotte’s brother, and annotations by Charlotte’s mother, will be in stores in time for the Christmas holidays with a limited edition available exclusively to Society members.