Classics Challenge January Prompt: About the Author – Anne Brontë

The Classics Challenge is hosted by
November’s Autumn.

The January Prompt post is HERE.

You can see my progress on this challenge HERE.

The Author
Level 1
Who is the author? What do they look like? When were they born? Where did they live? What does their handwriting look like? What are some of the other novels they’ve written? What is an interesting and random fact about their life?

Level 2
What do you think of their writing style? What do you like about it? or what would have made you more inclined to like it? Is there are particular quote that has stood out to you?

Level 3
Why do you think they wrote this novel? How did their contemporaries view both the author and their novel?

I’m currently reading Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë and am about half way through.

Anne Brontë was born in January 1820, and was the youngest of the famous writing Brontë sisters. She spent her youth living in Haworth on the Yorkshire Moors, and at the age of nineteen became a governess and remained so for six years.

Her first novel, Agnes Grey (1847), was based on her experiences as a governess. Her other novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was published a year later. Although she collaborated on a volume of poetry with her sisters, she never wrote any other novels, and her life was tragically cut short when she died, aged 29, of pulmonary tuberculosis.

Interesting facts:

  • Anne and her sisters considered the possibility of setting-up their own school, but the idea never came to fruition.
  • All three sisters wrote under pseudonyms – Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. Currer was Charlotte, Ellis was Emily and Acton was Anne.

The only surviving specimen of all three sisters’ signatures
under their pseudonyms

Anne’s writing style differs from that of her sisters in that she’s far more realistic in her approach, and less romantic. She comes across as very matter-of-fact and I think I actually prefer this. Although I loved Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights by her sisters, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is my favourite of the Brontë novels I have read so far, and I am enjoying Agnes Grey very much. The opening phrases of Agnes Grey seem to me to be very typical of Anne and are indicative of her down-to-earth style. (See my Teaser Tuesday post HERE).

Anne based Agnes Grey on her own experiences as a governess. Although names and events are obviously different and the novel is a work of fiction, it is easy to see that Anne felt quite passionately about her role in forming the minds and opinions of children and was very firm in her beliefs and morals, as well as how that should affect her teaching of those under her charge. Until more recently, Anne seems to have been viewed as the lesser of the sisters in terms of writing, but her novels, although less romantic, are no less passionate and her writing has stood the test of time, meaning she is now seen as a novelist of merit on her own terms, which is only right, as her writing is beautiful, poignant and ambitious.

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18 responses to “Classics Challenge January Prompt: About the Author – Anne Brontë

  1. I read Agnes Grey for the first time last year, and I too really like her writing style. I’ll be reading The Tenant of Wildfell Hall sometime this year as part of my Classics Challenge.

  2. Great post! I knew about the other Bronte sisters, but had never heard of Anne. Very interesting!

  3. I should really get round to reading Anne at some point. Definitely overlooked but I’m hoping Juliet Barker’s gigantic family biography will push me back towards the Brontes – if I ever get round to reading it!

  4. Great post! I have not read anything by Anne yet, my favorite of the Brontes books is Wuthering Heights. After reading your post I want to ge to The Tenant of Wildfell Hall soon!

  5. A contemporary of Harriet Beecher Stowe, but they wrote on such different topics! http://www.exurbanis.com/archives/5776

  6. I did read this book and had the same impression as you–that she’s the more practical sister! I did enjoy it, too. Glad you’re reviewing her!

  7. I love Agnes Grey AND Anne Bronte. 🙂 Great commentary on the handwriting of the three sisters.

  8. I read Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights years ago. I think that perhaps I should give both of Anne Bronte’s books a go. Thanks for this post.

  9. I have yet to read Anne Bronte but have The Tenant of Wildfell Hall on my list for this challenge.

  10. I’ve read Jane Eyre and am reading it again for the challenge. I will get round to reading all the sisters to compare their works.

  11. I love Wuthering Heights but Agnes Grey sounds really good too. Thanks for telling me about her. I never heard about this Bronte sister.

  12. I loved The Tenant of Wildfell Hall! I had no idea the Brontes had considered starting their own school. Interesting post!

  13. I read and loved The Tenant of Wildfell Hall but I haven’t gotten around to reading Agnes Grey. I want to though. I recently read The Bronte Story by Margaret lane which is a biography of the whole fascinating and immensely talented family.

  14. Great post, I have The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and you’ve encouraged me to bump it up on the tbr.

  15. nice intro to Anne Brontë..and the link to the Teaser re Agnes Grey has made me set on a hunt to find a copy and go read..Thank you :0)

  16. As Jillian said, great comparison of the three sisters’ handwriting and how it correlates to their styles. I think its also very telling that Charlotte’s is the biggest, you can tell she wanted to be noticed.

    She’s my favorite Bronte. I read Agnes Grey a few years ago and plan a reread this year and just finished Wildfell Hall the other month. I’m working on the third part of a series of posts that go into more details about her life, here’s the link, if you’re curious.

  17. ps. Thank you for participating in this months prompt, Kell 🙂