Stepping in from the frigid bustling streets of NYC on a mid-December Saturday, I entered the inviting warmth and glow of The Morgan Library. The Morgan Library is essentially the MOMA for avid lovers of literature. In Mr. Morgan’s old library, now part of the museum, one can close their eyes and breath in the quiet air rich with words and history. The collection here of manuscripts and rare classics can seem somewhat daunting, requiring hours to examine closely. However, on this particular morning, I came with a purpose: to see the temporary exhibit: Charlotte Brontё: An Independent Will. Sent from the British Parsonage Museum, the exhibit featured a collection of Brontë’s early manuscripts as well as items from her life, such as a blue floral dress and a box of paints. Glass boxes along the wall held tiny books crafted by Charlotte and her siblings during childhood. Alongside the books were magnifying glasses, necessary to appreciate the stories within the small text. Charlotte Brontë is an inspiration for aspiring young female writers. The renowned author, now studied and highly regarded, began her writing career in secret under a male pseudonym, Currer Bell. Her independent will and creativity is reflected in the beloved character of Jane. The highlight of the exhibit was the original manuscript of Jane Eyre. The broad spine of the significant bound book, was open to the chapter containing the quote “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me. I am a free human being with an independent will, which I now exert to leave you.” The voice of Jane is of a modern tongue for a 19th century woman, declaring her alternative independence. Leaving this exhibit, I was inspired with a liberating sense of determination that was cultivated by the artifacts from the fantastical mind of Charlotte Brontë.
To learn more about Charlotte Brontë, check out: https://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/charlotte-bronte-the-familiar-and-the-fantastical