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on May 06, 2012 :
The revelations garnered from the perusal of Charlotte Bronte's novels and her letters in which thousands of hidden clues tell the real circumstances in her life and which are revealed in "Thunder" are so shocking you will be left gasping.
Bronte in Greek means "thunder." The original name of the family was Brunty but Patrick, the father of the famous children, wrenched the name into a new one. What's in a name? Everything.
"Charlotte Bronte's Thunder" is an iconoclastic book that will convincingly topple Emily off her pedestal as the wild, strange, totally original author of "Wuthering Heights, one of the greatest works in English literature.
The research undertaken to write this 500 page tome is mind-boggling and Michele Carter will convince you that Charlotte wrote "Wuthering Heights" and ALL the Bronte books, issuing them one by one like phantoms from Haworth parsonage.
Branwell was too self-absorbed and drunk to have written any novel and neither Emily nor Anne had the intellect or the talent to pen the great stories or to surge into fantasy with exquisite poetry.
The diary papers of Emily's reveal a girl who at sixteen wrote musings that were "awkward, freakish and immature" as well as misspelt. Childishly, she was still absorbed with the Gondal stories the children wrote when they were children. "No Coward Soul is Mine" the magnificent poem always attributed to Emily, could not have issued from the mind of Emily, a girl who simply did not have the mental building blocks or the talent to create great literature.
Branwell had the extraordinary "trick" of writing Greek with one hand, Latin simultaneously with the other. This type of ability can often be seen in savants who can do amost unexplainable things totally beyond a simply intelligent person. Author Michele does not imply that Branwell and Charlotte were savants but perhaps something akin to them with highly unusual mental capacities.
Like Branwell's two hands writing different languages, Charlotte could simultaneously create an anagram and "translate" it into perfect English prose. She could invent the anagrams while she was walking around and perform her magic trick in her head, an astounding ability. She commented constantly on the corruption and vice alive and well right down the street in Haworth, and much of that vice she laid right at the door of the Three Graces Masonic Lodge, where her brother Branwell was secretary. Patrick Bronte was also a Mason.
Charlotte was a devastating social commentator. Her accusations were right in plain sight in the form of anagrams for all to see but her contemporaries couldn't see them. Here are simple samples of anagrams from "Anagram Genius"- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte: "O noble heart! Entry by a reject" and "her better enjoyable cot yarn". Most of Charlotte's anagrams as revealed by Author Carter are a great deal more complex. She notes that anagrams often yield different results with different "translators" but Bronte's overwhelming tone cannot be missed.
Author Michele Carter has been to Haworth and walked upon the moors and she will carry you there walking along side her. A sudden storm brews up, the gale winds howl and she sees a man upon a ridge his arms spread in agony and he is screeching to the gods. It is Heathcliff, of course, and the elements, the sheer fierceness of the storm, the writhing clouds conger up an image so real that Michele is terrified. She is there on the moors and she has become, not Emily, but Charlotte, the real writer of "Wuthering Heights".
The physical world of the Bronte family is paramount, the York location is so vital to experiencing the Bronte experience. The parsonage faced east, but to the west glowered the moors, in the spring green with young leaves and wildflowers and grass that the Bronte children loved to nestle into. In the winter snow and the whistle of icy winds kept the family inside but the moors sidling right up to the parsonage always cast a spell.
The Gothic-ness of Haworth and the moors set the tone for the Bronte writings, but more important still is the fact that Branwell, the one boy, was a Freemason. Being very close to Charlotte, Branwell would have gleefully explained the Freemason rituals to his "captive audience of one" and Charlotte would have sopped it all up with a mind of such genius it is almost impossible to contemplate the depths. Very likely fellow Masons would have visited Branwell, and Charlotte was surely in the wings somewhere, breathing in the secret Masonic conversations.
Anne and Emily were as close as twins and were always together when they were home. The two pairs: Charlotte and Branwell; Anne and Emily. But the significant pair is the brother and sister, one year apart in age. Branwell was Charlotte's ticket to the secret Masonic world where women could not venture.
Hundreds and hundreds of Masonic-fuelled words, gestures and scenarios occur in "Jane Eyre" and "Wuthering Heights", "The Professor" and all the Bronte books both as anagrams or in plain sight. Author Carter finds and explains them to you. When Jane is imprisoned in the Red Room, that room becomes a symbol for a Masonic lodge, red being the color of blood and of significance to Masons. Jane, in terror, has a sort of fit but when she is freed she is more assertive, able to confront the horrid Aunt Reed and she becomes more worldly by degrees, degrees being a Masonic term for self improvement. Mr. Rochester's brother-in-law, who is savaged by his insane wife is named Richard Mason. Red, the color of blood, is featured in the small room where Jane attends to Mason while Rochester goes for a doctor. The room is an allegory of a Masonic lodge.
Throughout "Wuthering Heights" Charlotte Bronte "inserts a layer of Masonic allegory along side a narrating layer that depicts Heathcliff's efforts to seek revenge." She is mocking the Masons because Heathcliff is corrupt. Freemasonry, being steeped in Egyptian and Greek mythology is revealed in Heathcliff's origins. "That he was a gypsy (Egyptian) was no accident". Cathy dies on March 20, the spring equinox when Isis is celebrated.
When the Bronte manuscripts were first being circulated, a very respected Victorian critic named Sidney Dobell had come to the conclusion that all the books issuing from Haworth were by Currer Bell. Charlotte always maintained there were three authors. "Her deception was her protection against specific men who might discover her code and then learning that she was exposing ...fraud." (Illegal activities of the Masons).
There is a great deal of proof that Charlotte wrote both "Agnes Grey" and "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall", novels attributed to Anne's authorship. (When would Anne have found time to write two books? She was always busy as a governess). Many of the thoughts and descriptions of Anne's characters are echoed in passages of "Jane Eyre".
However, it was not widely perceived that "the three Bells (Currer, Ellis and Acton) rang in the tone of one note" because Charlotte was very convincing when she insisted there were three authors.
There are many examples revealed in "Thunder" that strongly indicate Charlotte wrote "Wuthering Heights." How could two women as opposite in character as Charlotte and Emily use the same texts for inspiration (Paradise Lost )and "have the same attitudes, write the same themes, use identical symbolic systems?"
And what does Charlotte have to say about her future husband Arthur Bell Nicholls? He certainly had no appreciation of her talent: "Currer Bell could fly up to heaven for all he cared." What does she have to say about her marriage and the last nine months of her life? You'll learn all in "Thunder". Arthur Bell Nicholls was a Mason, a significant fact.
Haworth was a den of iniquity, the scene of just about every conceivable vice. Somehow one misses Emily, the reclusive genius, her black hair blowing as she strides across the moor, Keeper at her heels, pulling the characters of Cathy and Heathciff by osmosis from the glowering skies, the writhing trees. That Emily is an illusion, but in her place is Charlotte, her torch of truth held high, her incredible talent and courage an inspiration forever.
"Charlotte Bronte's Thunder" is very comprehensive and I found I had to back-track many times to try and understand an issue. Author Michele Carter’s singular ability to find the anagrams which are sprinkled like seeds in row after row of the Bronte books is amazing. If you are a Bronte aficionado (and who isn't?) don't miss "Thunder”. Little Charlotte, the size of an eleven year girl (in an anagram she calls herself “Tiny Ariel”) was one of the greatest literary giants of all time.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on May 02, 2012 :
I read the paperback, but it weighs a ton. The book's heavy figuratively and literally. Thank goodness for IPADs. At first I was worried this book might be too scholarly. I'm more a fiction reader. But I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly I got into the story. The Brontes were a normal dysfunctional family and that explains why Charlotte had to create her alter egos. She was clever, we knew that but turns out she could figure out anagrams in her head. Without Carter solving these puzzles we'd still be thinking her sisters were authors. A really interesting book.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on Aug. 06, 2011 :
I read Carter's novel Against the Wind and was interested to read her nonfiction. I knew a little about the Brontes, but have to say that after reading this book I now know a lot. Without giving anything away, the shocks just kept coming toward the last third of the book. The anagrams Charlotte left are amazing and I kept wondering how Carter figured them out. The story shows Charlotte's life as being pretty bleak, which is not easy to take, but I'd rather know the truth about this family than continue to trust the myths. You won't be able to read this and keep your old view. Just be prepared for that. Like her novel, this book's been well researched.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)
on July 30, 2011 :
A must-read for Brontë fans. This book takes the reader on an amazing journey into Charlotte’s secret life from her early years to her final days. The heartache and suffering blend with her too few joyful moments, and show a woman who had great sensitivity and soul. What interested me so much are the subtle underpinnings of code in her literary works. Charlotte was obviously a master at weaving clues and allegory through metaphors and symbols until she produced a deep, dark interlocking tale about thoroughly unpleasant people. The code in her letters is remarkable and spooky. At first I had my doubts, but after hundreds of pages of research pieced together, I began to wonder why none of this ever came out before now. Charlotte gives us the truth about everything going on in her life, which sometimes is hard to take. She was not a woman who suffered fools. I had no idea about most of the Brontë biography, so the secrets revealed in her code were a shock to say the least, but the many quotes from scholars and other biographers give us external evidence that makes it all seem possible. One friend who read this said he always figured there was something not right about the Brontë sisters and their story. It didn’t surprise him at all that Charlotte wrote ‘Wuthering Heights’. It did me.
(reviewed the day of purchase)