I was introduced to the Brontës late in life, though I regret every minute I put off reading these classic British authors. After reading Emily’s “No Coward Soul is Mine,” I felt like I was meeting an old friend, someone who had been absent in my life far too long. Jane Eyre, likewise, blew me away and Wuthering Heights swept me off me my feet. I’m only just a third of the way through The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, but it’s so far no less delightful.
Can you imagine my joy then, on visiting the home of my literary idols? Not just a place where they stopped for the night (i.e “Charlotte slept here”) but the place where they were born, lived, died, where they worked, and gained their most important inspirations.
On the morning of our visit, we went through the house and the parish church, where Patrick Brontë had been pastor. In the afternoon, we hiked a well-beaten path through beautiful, yet haunting local moors.
For me, though, there was something more than just the sights of Haworth, more than just the significance of literary history. There was something almost holy about being in the birthplace of three of my favourite novels. Not merely of their authors, but of the books themselves. There’s a kind of alchemy that happens in the creation of stories, the pulling forth of words from the ether to make lasting impressions of and on the human psyche.
That kind of magic happens rarely in human history and yet it happened multiple times in this sacred place. And here I was, humble pilgrim, daring to stand, touch, breathe, the same air. Even more, I have aspirations that I can do the same.
Haworth was both humbling and awe-inspiring. It’s a bucket-list must for all authors and literary travellers alike.