“With skilled close readings of her work, Hay convincingly argues that Brontë’s writing on loneliness and society’s expectations for women remain relevant … accessible … a fine place to start for readers new to her work.” Publishers Weekly
Anne Brontë is now widely believed to have written the finest of all the Brontë works—and the first ever feminist novel. Why, then, is she less famous than Charlotte and Emily? Discover the real Anne and why she remained for so long in her sisters' shadow.
Anne’s writing has often been compared harshly with that of Charlotte and Emily—as if living in her sisters’ shadows throughout her life wasn’t enough. But her reputation, literary and personal, has changed dramatically since Agnes Grey was first published in 1846. Then, shocked reviewers complained of her "crudeness" and "vulgarity"—words used to this day to belittle women writing about oppression.
Her second and most famous work, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, was groundbreaking in its subject matter: marital and alcohol abuse and the rights of married women. A book that refused to sweep difficult truths under the rug. A book so ahead of its time that even her sisters weren’t ready for it, Charlotte being one of its harshest critics. And yet today's critics see it as perhaps the best of all the Brontë works. With such a contradictory life and legacy: who was Anne, really? It’s time to find out.
The Life and Works of Anne
Anne in Nature
Anne and Religion
Anne’s Social Conscience
Reading Like a Brontë
Notes and References
“With skilled close readings of her work, Hay convincingly argues that Brontë’s writing on loneliness and society’s expectations for women remain relevant … a fine place to start for readers new to her work.” Publishers Weekly
“What pleases me most [of recent books on Anne] … and best reveals the sources of Anne’s strength, is Hay’s chapter on “Anne in Nature”, with its sensitive readings of her poetry and novels.” Times Literary Supplement
"An important contribution to Brontë studies that reinforces why Anne Brontë is such a significant Victorian writer and why her books remain relevant.” Claire O'Callaghan, author of Emily Brontë Reappraised
"This is a sensitive, thoughtful, and enriching book that shines a vibrant new light on Anne Brontë calling for a radical reimagining of her work and life in the popular imagination. It does that rare thing in Brontë books of acknowledging Anne's genius without comparing her to her sisters … a revolutionary author whose voice still needs to be heard today." Dr Sophie Franklin, author of Charlotte Brontë Revisited
"[Anne] is seen and shown to be ahead of her time and in this treatment, she finds an era in which her concerns, approach, philosophy and imagination ring truer than in her own ... as is not always the case with biographies, the subject is allowed to speak for herself ... well worth reading.“ Dundee Courier