To celebrate Charlotte Brontë’s bicentenary we had been busy organizing many different events like our facebook contest and a meeting in Rome entirely dedicated to this great celebration but, on April 21st, on the very date of this very much awaited event, we decided to do something completely different: we left Rome – in good company with a lovely sister and a lovely aunt- , to reach Naples and finally meet in person the representative of the Brontë Society in Italy, professor Maddalena de Leo.
We knew in fact, that a conference dedicated to Charlotte was being organized at the National Library of Naples by professor Caterina Lerro, together with professor De Leo. Professor Maddalena opened the conference with a speech on Charlotte’s female characters in her juvenilia, which were much different from Jane Eyre – a character that we all know very well and which belongs to a more mature period. Professor De Leo was noticeably excited and told us a very interesting fact related to the building where the conference was taking place: the Venezuelan Section of the National Library of Naples in fact, was the perfect place to celebrate Charlotte’s bicentenary since years ago, in that very library, young professor De Leo borrowed an old copy of Villette and encountered Charlotte for the first time.
After professor Maddalena, her friend and colleague Caterina Lerro
delivered another interesting speech on Charlotte Brontë most famous novel: Jane Eyre. The leading thread of the speech was the idea of “travel” in Jane Eyre as a movement through the seasons, as the achievement of social and personal maturation, as a travel towards love, but most of all as the journey of a woman who eventually succeeded in becoming strong, free, and “modern”. A group of students from Gandhi High School of Casoria, read a few extracts from the novel with a pleasant liveliness which made the atmosphere even more enjoyable.
It was a very special day that gave us the strength to continue our own adventure, travelling through this literary world suspended between paper sheets and wild windy moors, where those ghosts that beat on the windowpanes at night are not the scariest ones, and where we had the chance to discover new friends, distant in time but still today great examples, sources of inspiration and support. One of them was born exactly 200 years ago and we all know her name.