St. Michael our members
OUR MEMBERS continued...
The Brussels
Brontë Group
The Brontës
in Brussels
The Brussels
Our Members
Picture Gallery
Charlotte Brontë

Elsemarie Maletzke, author of "Das Leben der Brontës", editor of "Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, Anne Brontë – Angria & Gondal" and other Brontëana

    “Although I live in Frankfurt, Germany, places like London and Haworth always looked so much closer than Brussels. When I conducted my research in the steps of the Brontës I travelled several times to Yorkshire and I tramped the London Strand to take pictures of Smith & Elders’ front door, but I have to admit I’ve never been to Brussels. Shame! The fact that the Pensionat Heger and the Rue d’Isabelle had not survived modern building activities was not very encouraging. Still, I should very much like to visit St. Gudule if only to see the place where a desperate and very lonely Protestant soul stepped into a confession box.”

Marina Saegerman, Flemish Brontë Society member

     “My name is Marina Saegerman. I live in the Flemish part of Belgium and work in Brussels. I have been a Brontë fan since my childhood days. When I was about 11 years old I won a prize at school. It was a book in Dutch that contained three Brontë novels (Jane Eyre – Wuthering Heights – Agnes Grey). From then on I was hooked and wanted to read more. In the local library , in one of the books I had borrowed, there was a little handwritten note mentioning Haworth and the Parsonage. It was my dream to go to Haworth and I realised this dream in 1990 when I first visited the village and the parsonage. I returned with my husband in 1992 on our return from Ireland, and since then Haworth is a regular stop on our return from our annual holidays in Ireland. I’ve been a Brontë Society member since then.
Over the years I have read all the books more than once, and my favourite is still
Wuthering Heights. Over the years I have also grown to love Emily’s poetry, and of course Charlotte’s and Anne’s poetry as well. I sometimes use their texts for my calligraphy work.
The books of Eric about
Brussels and the Brontës have made me see the area where I work (Rue Royale, The Park and the old Quartier Isabelle) from a different perspective.
So when Helen contacted me to have a first discussion on her idea to start a Brontë group in
Brussels I was easily won over. I hope that we can meet regularly and share our interest.”

Sheila Richardson, a British resident living in Brussels

     “My mother gave me her copy of Jane Eyre to read when I was about ten, followed by Wuthering Heights which became my favourite story of all time. It roused passionate feelings, however many times I read it. Villette had a special place in the family as my parents had first met in Brussels. When I moved here, I was very busy with young children and only had the Bronte connection in the back of my mind until I became fascinated by the re-discovery of the Rue Isabelle and the re-building of that quarter. When I bought Eric Ruijssenaars’ books, Waterstones told me that someone was trying to get a Bronte Group together so I then made contact with it.”

View of Parc

Jenny Hofman, Dutch Brontë Society member

      “I have been a member of the Brontë Society for a long time and when I got a letter from Helen MacEwan with the question if I was interested in joining the Brussels Brontë Group, I did not hesitate for a moment. I have always been fascinated by the influence of the landscape on the Brontës and this also includes their Brussels environment. I remember wandering around in Brussels looking for the site of the Pensionnat Heger even before the Brontë Society plaque was there.”

Mara Mauermann, a member in
Essen, Germany.

    “My first introduction to the Brontës was visual rather than literary. When I first visited the National Portrait Gallery as a teenager, I was deeply moved by the portrait of the sisters, and by and by got round to reading their works. However, though I am positive I read Jane Eyre before Wuthering Heights, it is only the first reading of the latter that I can date precisely, perhaps not surprisingly, seeing that it was the day when my husband (then boyfriend) stumbled into a manhole in Soho ... well he didn't vanish completely, being able to throw himself on the pavement: but directly afterwards, even before he had time to find out that nothing had happened to him except for a grazed shin, there was a tremendous clap of thunder, and an almighty deluge of hail and rain, and he was forced to seek shelter in a passage that turned out to lead into a bizarre striptease club ... well but that is quite a different story, the main point is that while all these exciting things happened, I had remained at our self-catering place and in a kind of trance-like absorption read Wuthering Heights, with the violent storm outside providing a most appropriate background...”