The Tenant of Wildfell Hall   -     By: Anne Bronte
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The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

Penguin Classics / 1996 / Paperback

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Product Description

Unfairly judged by her sisters and critics, Anne Bronte had a singular vision of women's rights that extended beyond the "rights" given in her own time.

Divided into a unique three-part style, we learn of Helen Huntington's life via Gilbert Markham's letters--and in the middle, her own diary, which he transcribes faithfully. Escaping the corrupting influence of her husband (whom she admits it was a mistake to marry), Helen flees for the sake of her son Arthur, carrying him away to the remote Wildfell Hall. With a strong sense of her religious convictions and duty, Helen revolts against the idea that men may go off and have affairs, get drunk,--in short, "be a man"--whilst she and her son suffer the consequences of such heathen behavior. 535 pages, softcover, with an introduction and notes.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Vendor: Penguin Classics
Publication Date: 1996
Dimensions: 8.12 X 5.12 (inches)
ISBN: 0140434747
ISBN-13: 9780140434743
UPC: 051488009009
Availability: Usually ships in 24-48 hours.

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Publisher's Description

"I no longer love my husband – I HATE him! The word stares at me in the face like a guilty confession"

Gilbert Markham is deeply intrigued by Helen Graham, a beautiful and secretive young woman who has moved into nearby Wildfell Hall with her young son. He is quick to offer Helen his friendship, but when her reclusive behaviour becomes the subject of local gossip and speculation, Gilbert begins to wonder whether his trust in her has been misplaced. It is only when she allows Gilbert to read her diary that the truth is revealed and the shocking details of the disastrous marriage she has left behind emerge. Told with great immediacy, combined with wit and irony, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is a powerful depiction of a woman’s struggle for domestic independence and creative freedom.

In her introduction Steve Davies discusses The Tenant of Wildfell Hall as feminist testament, inspired by Anne Brontë’s experiences as a governess and by the death of her brother Branwell Brontë, and examines the novel’s language, biblical references and narrative styles.

Author Bio

Anne Brontë, who was born in 1820, was brought up in the Yorkshire village of Haworth where her father was curate. She was educated at home and, as a child, she invented with her sister Emily the imaginary world of Gondal, for which she wrote copious chronicles and poems. She held two positions as governess, with the Inghams at Blake Hall and, from 1840-45, with the Robinson family at Thorp Green. As a religious lyric poet, Anne Brontë’s hymns and lyrics rank with those of Cowper. Her first novel Agnes Grey (1847), published under the pseudonym Acton Bell, is in the tradition of fictional spiritual autobiography, written with conciseness, integrity and irony. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848) is a powerful feminist testament, attacking the marriage laws, double standards of sexual morality and the education of men and women. Anne Brontë died at Scarborough in 1849. She was the youngest of the Brontë sisters, whose extraordinary gifts are only now receiving just appraisal.

Stevie Davies is a novelist, critic, and historian. She is director of creative writing at the University of Wales at Swansea.


Stevie Davies is a novelist, critic, and historian. She is director of creative writing at the University of Wales at Swansea.

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  1. Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    August 15, 2008
    myrtia
    Gender: female
    this book is one of the most serious spiritual works i have ever read, C.S.Lewis' works included. although it is a novel, and with a great deal of mystery and suspence, too, it also deals drastically with serious matters, such as adultery, divorce, faithfulness to God when He seems to have forgotten, child-rearing and romance as it should be. no matter how old it is, this book's truths are very contemporary and very much needed in a modern world.
  2. 4 Stars Out Of 5
    June 23, 2001
    Kelly
    I love this book. It is an excellent work from the least known of the Bronte sisters. The reason that I give it only 4 stars is for a few controversial aspects.For one thing, there is alcoholism displayed in it. It is by no means condoned, but there is scene where a man is aggressive with his wife and throws her to the floor. However, I found that people put too much stress on this factor.The other thing I would mention is that the heroine believes in a sort of purgatory. She uses Scripture to back up her belief, and it may confuse those not firm in their beliefs.Again, this is an excellent book. Anne Bronte's writing is filled with beautiful imagery and sprinkled with a taste of her own poetry. The "sparring" relationship exhibited by the two main characters makes for a very emotional yet pleasing read. Please read it alongside the better-known books of Anne's sisters.
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