In June 2006 while surfing the net and looking as usual for any Brontë-related topic, I found absolutely by chance an astrological site in which, to my utmost wonder, a Dutch astrologist was proposing an eleven pages long and detailed ‘horoscope’ for …. Emily Brontë!
My discovery was really exciting for me and surely for all Brontë fans from all over the world but surely very few people could have enjoyed those on-line written pages about Emily for a very simple reason: the horoscope appeared uniquely in Dutch and no English translation was offered anywhere on the site.
Luckily for me and all overseas fellow-members and scholars, I know the Dutch language having studied it at University more than thirty years ago so I could promptly translate the horoscope by the help of my long-forlorn Dutch-Italian dictionary.
The author is Ms. Iren Nooren, a Dutch by birth but living in Curaçao at the moment. On the site she admits that only few historical people attracted her attention as to have an horoscope ‘made’ by her. She only chose two women, Theresa from Lisieux and Emily Brontë. Our author’s personality charmed her but Nooren was also very fatigued because of the multiplicity of implications in Emily’s character.
Foreworded by a very colourful and detailed astrological scheme, Nooren’s discussion is based above all on Emily’s personality and on the most meaningful moments in her novel, the poems are never mentioned. Very interested in all what Ms. Nooren said, of course I was taken by the curiosity to know something more about her actual knowledge of Brontë’s work and I promptly asked her an e-mail interview to which she kindly answered again in Dutch since she can only read and write a little in English.
I asked her how and how much she knew about Emily Brontë and Wuthering Heights before working at her horoscope and Iren Nooren answered that she had read the book long ago. In the Caribbean Isles, where she was living at the time, there’s a very little library and nothing exists at all about the book and its author. That’s why during her analysis she searched on the Internet for information even if very little could be found, just some few sites and they were contradictory. At the end she found as a source only a book with a short introduction by Daphne Merkin, a Dutch writer.
Then I asked Nooren why she chose just Emily Brontë for the horoscope and when exactly she had read Wuthering Heights. She told me in the e-mail that of course most astrologists are interested in today’s movie stars and famous political men but she prefers long-dead people. Her wish was to really know Emily Brontë as a person because she admires her very much for her dark and strong style. What attracted her and surely any person is the way Emily tells us her story. Each line can be read again and again and at any time if you do it in its original language and that’s because the disposition of words is perfect.
Nooren actually read Wuthering Heights when she was 25 after having found by chance in a library Charlotte Brontë’s novels. At first she didn’t realize any violence in the book but she considered it boring if compared to Jane Eyre. It was only after many years that she changed her mind on the matter having read Wuthering Heights again. Only then Nooren could see Catherine as a real character.
My next question was about what was known about Emily Brontë at the time in Curaçao. She told me that the novel can be found in the public library there, even if it was not yet possible to buy it in a bookshops. Whenever she could, Nooren spoke about Emily and her life to let people know who she was.
Maddalena De Leo
Next month: Noreen’s horoscope