The Brontë Society, which is responsible for running the famous Brontë Parsonage Museum and for promoting the Brontës’ literary legacy, has existed for over a century, but it’s been marred by melodramatic infighting for the last two years. Last June, author Bonnie Greer used her shoe as a gavel at a meeting and then resigned to protest the ways in which the society’s trustees were running the organization. “I brought my shoe because it’s been, for some of us, so grim that I thought, I’m going to make this funny,” she explained. “So I brought out the shoe, made for me by Jimmy Choo himself, and said, ‘I’m going to bang this if it gets out of control.’” A year later, the infighting has not stopped, with the most recent meeting described as being riddled with “furious exchanges” between “warring factions.” According to the London Times, “almost half” of the trustees have resigned over the same period.
The first rule of the Brontë Society, however, is don’t talk about the Brontë Society—the Times was slammed by the Society for its “disloyal” coverage. As a result, it’s not entirely clear what the fuss is about, but the factions have been described as “modernizers” and “conservatives.” According to The Bookseller, “modernizing” in this case doesn’t mean snazzing up the Brontë Parsonage’s dull Twitter account, but making “the organization more business-minded, with more rules.” Neoliberalism has finally conquered gothic 19th-century fiction.