Victorian Literature Anne Brontë
by
Rebecca Styler
  • LAST REVIEWED: 08 August 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 25 October 2017
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199799558-0027

Introduction

After a long period of marginalization within the Brontë family myth, as the quiet and less original one amid sibling geniuses, Anne Brontë (b. 1820–d. 1849) is now well established as a writer to be taken on her own terms. Her two novels and fifty-nine attributed poems show her bold engagement with social, religious, and aesthetic concerns of the early Victorian era. This revised reputation rests much on reappraisals of her best-known work, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848), which was an immediate success, but Brontë’s subsequent literary reputation was virtually nil until the late decades of the 20th century. The ubiquitous tendency for over a century to approach the Brontës as a cohesive group, fostered by a fascination with their biographical eccentricities, did no favors for Anne, whose preference for rational realism led many to think her works prosaic in comparison with the heroic, passionate tone of Emily’s and Charlotte’s writings. Reappraisals of Anne Brontë’s work, from the 1950s onward, locate her in a tradition of didactic rationalists, such as Samuel Johnson, Hannah More, and Maria Edgeworth, emphasizing her dissent from the values of romanticism. Her fiction was appreciated for its satiric critique on morals, manners, religion, and education, although comparisons with her sisters continued to reaffirm Anne’s status as a “minor” writer, and a biographical approach to her writings often obscured her art. Feminist critics were slow to take up Anne Brontë, but since the 1990s the treatment of gender in her fiction has been a major focus of criticism, which has placed her in the Enlightenment feminist tradition alongside writers such as Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen, and George Eliot. While the majority of criticism since the 1990s addresses The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, insightful considerations have also emerged of her first novel, Agnes Grey (1847), of the poetry, and of her sparse personal writings and artwork. Recurrent themes in criticism of Brontë’s fiction, as well as realism and feminism, are masculinity, education, theological reflection, narrative experimentation, and representations of selfhood and of the female as professional. Attention has also been given to the woman as artist in The Tenant and to the significance of animals in Agnes Grey. Brontë’s poetry, often discussed comparatively with that of Emily Brontë, has been addressed in terms of masked emotion and conflicted subjectivity (comparable in places with Christina Rossetti) and for its critical engagement with the spiritual ideals of romanticism and with aspects of Victorian Christianity. In the constant flow of publications on the Brontë group, including companions, biographies, essay collections, and the dedicated Brontë Studies journal, Anne Brontë’s literary works are now generally well represented.

General Overviews

This section includes critical overviews of Brontë’s oeuvre and some overviews of the works of the Brontës collectively. On Anne Brontë specifically, Langland 1989 is the best starting point. This broadly feminist appraisal of Brontë’s oeuvre is also manifest in Frawley 1996 and Jay 2000. The earlier works listed here, which discuss all three Brontë sisters, distinguish Anne Brontë’s fictional interests and style from her siblings, but they tend to reaffirm her status as a minor writer: Eagleton 1975 frames her work in terms of class; Craik 1968, in terms of rational realism. Of the literary biographies, insightful works are Winnifrith 1988 (cited under Biography: The Brontë Family) and Ingham 2006. Harrison and Stanford 1959 (cited under Biography: Anne Brontë) is noteworthy as the first critical engagement with all of Anne Brontë’s writings, although it tends to treat her work as transformed autobiography. Chitham 1979 (cited under Selected Editions: Poems) includes some useful general material about Brontë’s literary influences. Of works devoted to the Brontës as a group, Thormählen 2012 is the most comprehensive introduction to themes and critical history. Ingham 2006 is a good introductory overview, while Glen 2002 offers a series of comparative considerations of the works of the Brontës in conversation with each other.

  • Craik, W. A. The Brontë Novels. London: Methuen, 1968.

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    Eschews a focus on Brontë’s life context to consider her kinship with 18th-century writers such as Frances Burney, Maria Edgeworth, and Jane Austen. Presents her as an independent social critic and satirist, creating strong-minded fictional heroines.

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    • Eagleton, Terry. Myths of Power: A Marxist Study of the Brontës. London: Macmillan, 1975.

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      Considers class tensions in the novels, with a clear but rather brief and polemical argument for Brontë’s fiction as a straightforward articulation of bourgeois ideology.

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      • Frawley, Maria H. Anne Brontë. New York: Twayne, 1996.

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        Takes self-fashioning and subjectivity as the central themes in an enlightening feminist study of Brontë’s fiction and poetry.

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        • Glen, Heather, ed. Cambridge Companion to the Brontës. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

          DOI: 10.1017/CCOL0521770270Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          References to Anne Brontë appear passim (and are indexed) in rather general themed essays, some of which contain valuable comparative discussions of the novels and poetry of the three Brontë sisters.

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          • Ingham, Patricia. The Brontës. Authors in Context. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

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            This volume introduces lives, social context, and writers’ treatment of key political/social themes in general terms—under headings such as race, gender, the psyche—and their legacy in popular culture, including a brief discussion of adaptations of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Anne Brontë references are indexed. A good general student companion. Reissued in 2008.

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            • Jay, Betty. Anne Brontë. Tavistock, UK: Northcote House, 2000.

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              After a biographical outline, gives a feminist analysis of the novels and sets Brontë in a specifically female poetic tradition. Useful annotated bibliography.

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              • Langland, Elizabeth. Anne Brontë: The Other One. Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan Education, 1989.

                DOI: 10.1007/978-1-349-20058-0Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                Frames discussion of Brontë’s oeuvre in terms of anti-romantic realism and foregrounds “the Woman Question” as a key context to Brontë’s fictions of female development. Useful chapter on critical history, with annotated bibliography.

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                • Thormählen, Marianne, ed. The Brontës in Context. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

                  DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781139028066Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                  The most comprehensive scholarly companion, containing forty-two essays that explore the sisters’ works in relation to social, political, and cultural contexts. Includes essays on biography, print culture, responses, critical trends, and themes. Selected essays are listed in subsections of Criticism in this article.

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                  Selected Editions

                  Scholarly and popular editions of Brontë’s fiction are abundant, although the different editions by the same publishers can be confusing, with variations in what supporting material they contain. For the novels, the Clarendon editions have the fullest supporting material, although other editions are more accessible as student texts. For the poems, Chitham 1979 (cited under Selected Editions: Poems) is comprehensive, but reasonable selections appear in numerous collections of Brontë poems that are more recent and more widely available than Edward Chitham’s scholarly edition.

                  Agnes Grey

                  The Clarendon edition (Inglesfield and Marsden 1988) is the fullest scholarly edition, though the later Oxford University Press version (Inglesfield and Marsden 1991) adds details about Brontë’s manuscript revisions. The Oxford World’s Classics edition (Inglesfield, et al. 2010) is a good student edition with plenty of supporting material, as is the Penguin edition (Goreau 1988). Two earlier editions are listed here for their noteworthy editorial introductions by the novelist Ellen Ward (Brontë and Brontë 1924), and by Charlotte Brontë (Bell and Bell 1850). The novel’s first edition is included here (Bell and Bell 1847).

                  • Bell, Ellis, and Acton Bell [Emily Brontë and Anne Brontë]. Wuthering Heights / Agnes Grey: A Novel. 3 vols. London: T. C. Newby, 1847.

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                    Agnes Grey forms the third volume alongside Wuthering Heights (two volumes) to complete the classic three-volume format in this first edition.

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                    • Bell, Ellis, and Acton Bell [Emily Brontë and Anne Brontë]. Wuthering Heights / Agnes Grey. Edited by Currer Bell [Charlotte Brontë]. London: Smith, Elder, 1850.

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                      Memorial edition containing Charlotte Brontë’s “Biographical Notice of Ellis and Acton Bell” (see Biography for detail), a small selection of poems by the two sisters, and Charlotte’s “Preface” to these.

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                      • Brontë, Emily, and Anne Brontë. Wuthering Heights / Agnes Grey. London: John Murray, 1924.

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                        Notable for its introduction by late-19th-century novelist and literary critic Mrs. Humphry (Ellen) Ward.

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                        • Goreau, Angeline, ed. Agnes Grey. London: Penguin, 1988.

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                          With good introduction and notes. Reprints Charlotte Brontë’s 1850 biographical notice (see Bell and Bell 1850).

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                          • Inglesfield, Robert, and Hilda Marsden, eds. Agnes Grey. Oxford: Clarendon, 1988.

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                            With introduction and full notes by Inglesfield.

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                            • Inglesfield, Robert, and Hilda Marsden, eds. Agnes Grey. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991.

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                              Using the text of the Clarendon edition, this volume also incorporates Brontë’s previously unpublished manuscript revisions.

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                              • Inglesfield, Robert, Hilda Marsden, and Sally Shuttleworth, eds. Agnes Grey. Oxford World’s Classics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

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                                Oxford World’s Classics edition of the 1991 Oxford University Press publication, without the manuscript revisions information, but with a new introduction by Shuttleworth that focuses on representation of childhood, animals, the politics of class, and issues of publication and reception. Includes Charlotte Brontë’s “Biographical Notice” of Emily and Anne from her 1850 memorial edition of her sister’s novels (for details, see Bell 1850, cited under Biography: Anne Brontë).

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                                The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

                                As with Agnes Grey, scholarly and popular editions are numerous, with Oxford University Press publishing several editions with variations in the supporting material they contain. First published in three-volume format (Bell 1848a), The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was popular, if controversial, and immediately went to a second edition to which Brontë added a defensive preface (Bell 1848b [2d edition]). The Penguin edition is a good student version (Davies 1996), as is the Oxford World Classics edition (Rosengarten 2008). The Clarendon edition (Rosengarten 1992) is the most scholarly, with a wealth of supporting critical material, and a more accessible version of this is available (Rosengarten 1998).

                                • Bell, Acton [Anne Brontë]. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. 3 vols. London: T. C. Newby, 1848a.

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                                  The first edition of the novel.

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                                  • Bell, Acton [Anne Brontë]. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. 2d ed. 3 vols. London: T. C. Newby, 1848b.

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                                    Includes a significant preface in which Brontë defends herself against critics, explains her literary intentions, and makes trenchant remarks about the differential reception of male and female novelists. This preface is reprinted in McNees 1996 (cited under Bibliographies), and in Volume 2 of Smith 1995–2004 (cited under Biography: The Brontë Family).

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                                    • Davies, Stevie, ed. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. London: Penguin, 1996.

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                                      With useful introduction and notes. A good student edition. Reprinted in 2003.

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                                      • Rosengarten, Herbert, ed. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Oxford: Clarendon, 1992.

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                                        Includes editorial introduction focusing on publication issues, the author’s preface to the second edition, Brontë’s letter to Reverend D. Thom on universal salvation, and details of the book’s production, publication, and textual history.

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                                        • Rosengarten, Herbert, ed. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Oxford World’s Classics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.

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                                          Similar to the Clarendon edition, but with less of the scholarly apparatus and with an introduction by Margaret Smith.

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                                          • Rosengarten, Herbert, ed. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Oxford World’s Classics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

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                                            A new edition of the 1998 Oxford University Press publication with an introduction by Josephine McDonagh, which places the novel in relation to contemporaneous medical debates, especially on alcoholism.

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                                            Poems

                                            Fewer than half of Anne Brontë’s fifty-nine poems were published during her lifetime, most of which appeared in a collection jointly published with her sisters (Bell, et al. 1846). This edition has been reprinted with rather general introductions (Seaward 1985, White 1995) and is available online via the Gutenberg press site; it remains useful to enable a comparative reading of the sisters’ poetry as well as being Anne Brontë’s only self-chosen published selection. A few more poems were published during the 19th century in editions of her novels, in hymnals, and in periodicals, as well as in various collections of the Brontës’ poems. Shorter and Hatfield 1921 claims historical distinction as the first collection of all the known poems by Anne Brontë, after which many more were attributed. Chitham 1979 remains definitive, with excellent supporting material, but it is not widely available. A number of poems appear in more-recent collections by the Brontë siblings, the best of which are Davies 1976 and Chitham and Winnifrith 1985—both are good student editions. Anthologies of Victorian poetry do Brontë scant justice, though she appears as a minor poet in Leighton and Reynolds 1995.

                                            • Bell, Currer, Ellis Bell, and Acton Bell [Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë, and Anne Brontë]. Poems. London: Aylott & Jones, 1846.

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                                              Contains twenty-one of Anne Brontë’s earlier poems, which can be read in dialogue with those of her sisters. Available online via the Gutenberg.

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                                              • Chitham, Edward, ed. The Poems of Anne Brontë: A New Text and Commentary. Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan, 1979.

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                                                Places poems in chronological order of composition and gives a thorough publication history of each poem, noting Brontë’s manuscript amendments. Includes a substantial introduction on Brontë’s poetic influences and themes and a bibliography of relevant manuscripts and personal writings.

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                                                • Chitham, Edward, and Tom Winnifrith, eds. Selected Brontë Poems. Oxford: Blackwell, 1985.

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                                                  Among poems by all four Brontë siblings, twenty-eight are by Anne Brontë, which includes her longer dialogue poems. Contains notes and a biographical/literary introduction.

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                                                  • Davies, Stevie, ed. The Brontë Sisters: Selected Poems. Cheadle Hulme, UK: Carcanet, 1976.

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                                                    A pioneering selection that promoted the three Brontë sisters as poets. Presents twenty by Anne Brontë, avoiding her long dialogue poems. There is a useful introduction discussing the poets’ shared themes and distinctive voices. Anne Brontë’s work is compared particularly with that of Emily, but simplistic stereotypes are avoided. This edition has been republished several times, notably by Routledge (Fyfield edition, 2002), which is now also available as an e-book (2012).

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                                                    • Leighton, Angela, and Margaret Reynolds, eds. Victorian Women Poets: An Anthology. Oxford: Blackwell, 1995.

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                                                      Includes five poems by Anne Brontë, granting her equal status with other minor poets of the period.

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                                                      • Seaward, M. R. D., ed. Poems by the Brontë Sisters. London: A. & C. Black, 1985.

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                                                        The poems of the 1846 edition, with Seaward’s general introduction. Reprinted 1989.

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                                                        • Shorter, C. K., and C. W. Hatfield, eds. The Complete Poems of Anne Brontë. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1921.

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                                                          Has historical value as a record of poetic attributions to Anne Brontë and of her emerging status as a writer in her own right. Further poems were discovered and identified as Brontë’s following this publication (as Chitham 1979 details).

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                                                          • White, Kathryn, ed. The Works of the Brontë Sisters. Ware, UK: Wordsworth Editions, 1995.

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                                                            Reproduces the poems of the 1846 edition, with a general introduction.

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                                                            Biography

                                                            Biographers of Anne Brontë have always been challenged by the paucity of her surviving personal writings, being heavily dependent on Charlotte’s numerous letters and on more-general material related to the Brontë family. A number of individual biographies of Anne Brontë have been written that establish her distinctive character and literary interests, though these inevitably include much family context. These works are listed under Anne Brontë. Numerous biographies of the Brontë siblings as a group are available, so a selection that is most useful for understanding Anne Brontë’s life is named here under the Brontë Family. The best starting points are Chitham 1991 (cited under Anne Brontë) and Barker 1994 (cited under the Brontë Family).

                                                            Anne Brontë

                                                            Chitham 1991 is the fullest and most scholarly individual biography of Anne Brontë. Gerin 1959 and, less comprehensively, Harrison and Stanford 1959 work to rescue Brontë from literary obscurity by distinguishing her character and interests from those of her siblings. Hale 1929 is significant as Anne Brontë’s first individual biography, but it exemplifies the condescending view of her that later biographers and critics sought to revise. Charlotte Brontë gives a brief characterization of her youngest sister in her “Biographical Notice of Ellis and Acton Bell” (Bell 1850). Details of existing portraits of Anne Brontë are given in the introduction to Chitham 1979 (cited under Selected Editions: Poems).

                                                            • Bell, Currer. “Biographical Notice of Ellis and Acton Bell.” In Wuthering Heights / Agnes Grey. By Ellis Bell and Acton Bell. Edited by Charlotte Brontë. London: Smith, Elder, 1850.

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                                                              A characterization of Brontë that set the tone for many subsequent representations of the writer. Charlotte presents Anne as subdued, melancholic, and of inferior literary power to Emily. This note is reproduced in some editions of Agnes Grey (see Goreau 1988 and Inglesfield, et al. 2010, cited under Selected Editions: Agnes Grey), and also in McNees 1996 (cited under Bibliographies), and in Volume 2 of Smith 1995–2004 (cited under Biography: The Brontë Family).

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                                                              • Chitham, Edward. A Life of Anne Brontë. Oxford: Blackwell, 1991.

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                                                                Uses sources imaginatively to produce a balanced, thorough reconstruction of Brontë and her personal and artistic relationship with her sisters (especially Emily), with a focus on her life away from home.

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                                                                • Gerin, Winifred. Anne Brontë. London: Thomas Nelson, 1959.

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                                                                  Overtly seeks to rescue Anne from critical obscurity, claiming her forthrightness and independence. Relies rather uncritically on Brontë’s literary works as biographical sources. Includes details of her works’ production and reception and reproduces some of her artwork.

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                                                                  • Hale, W. T. Anne Brontë: Her Life and Writings. Bloomington: Indiana University, 1929.

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                                                                    First individualized study, but emphasizes her creative inferiority to Emily and Charlotte.

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                                                                    • Harrison, Ada, and Derek Stanford. Anne Brontë: Her Life and Work. London: Methuen, 1959.

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                                                                      Two-thirds of this work is biography (by Harrison). Much of this is about Charlotte, but it offers a useful critique of the elder sister’s low estimation of Anne Brontë’s capabilities.

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                                                                      The Brontë Family

                                                                      Gaskell 1997 first consigned Anne Brontë to relative obscurity in comparison with her more dramatic siblings, setting the trend for years to come. Of the more recent group biographies, Barker 1994 is most detailed, and hence most useful for information about Anne, and Winnifrith 1988 is a helpful general introduction to the family context. Given how few of Anne Brontë’s personal writings survive, Charlotte’s letters remain a valuable biographical source for her younger sister’s life, although several biographers rightly note that Charlotte tended to infantilize and underestimate her. Margaret Smith’s monumental three-volume edition of Charlotte’s letters includes Anne Brontë’s extant personal writings (Smith 1995–2004). More widely available than this collection is the abridged one-volume version (Smith 2010), Barker 1997, and the fuller Wise and Symington 1932.

                                                                      • Barker, Juliet. The Brontës. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1994.

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                                                                        Reversing the trend to individualize the Brontës, Barker reemphasizes them as “a tightly knit group.” Extends her use of historical sources (e.g., to local newspapers) to show the Brontës’ engagement with local and national issues. Material on Anne Brontë is abundant (well indexed) although with little attention to her writings.

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                                                                        • Barker, Juliet. The Brontës: A Life in Letters. London: Viking, 1997.

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                                                                          A substantial collection of letters, many in extract form, to create a family narrative. All references to Anne and her works are indexed. Reproduces some of Brontë’s artwork.

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                                                                          • Gaskell, Elizabeth. The Life of Charlotte Brontë. Edited by Elisabeth Jay. London: Penguin, 1997.

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                                                                            Through a poignant description of Brontë’s later days, Gaskell paints an image of her as stoical, pious, and insignificant as a writer. Jay’s introduction argues for Gaskell’s significant role in constructing the Brontë family myth. First published in 1857.

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                                                                            • Smith, Margaret, ed. The Letters of Charlotte Brontë: With a Selection of Letters by Family and Friends. 3 vols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1995–2004.

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                                                                              Includes Volume 1 (1829–1847), Volume 2 (1848–1851), and Volume 3 (1852–1855). This extensive collection brings to the surface much primary biographical material on Brontë for the first time and gives full and useful notes. Anne Brontë references are fully indexed.

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                                                                              • Smith, Margaret, ed. Selected Letters of Charlotte Brontë. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

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                                                                                A selection from Smith’s four-volume edition, with an introduction by Janet Gezari.

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                                                                                • Winnifrith, Tom. The Brontës and Their Background: Romance and Reality. 2d ed. Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan, 1988.

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                                                                                  Focuses on sexual attitudes, religion, and literary influences across the three writers, with a good bibliography of reviews of Anne’s works. Originally published in 1973.

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                                                                                  • Wise, Thomas J., and John E. Symington, eds. The Brontës: Their Lives, Letters and Correspondence. 4 vols. Oxford: Shakespeare Head Press, 1932.

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                                                                                    Contains many references to Brontë, which are indexed in Volume 4, and four of her letters.

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                                                                                    Autobiographical Writing

                                                                                    Anne Brontë left very few personal writings. This section lists her letters, diary papers, and also articles that discuss her marginalia. All manuscripts are held at the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Howarth, United Kingdom. Two of her diary papers were coauthored with Emily, showing their close collaboration in the 1830s. Anne Brontë’s personal voice is perhaps most significantly heard in her preface to the second edition of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (see Bell 1848b, cited under Selected Editions: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall).

                                                                                    Letters and Diary Papers

                                                                                    Only five letters have survived: three letters to her former nurse Ellen Nussey, dated 4 October 1847, 28 January 1848, and 5 April 1849; one letter to W. S. Williams, a reader for Charlotte’s publisher, dated 29 September 1848; and one letter to Dr. David Thom, dated 30 December 1848, discussing their shared views on universal salvation. Brontë also wrote two diary papers, dated 30 July 1841 and 30 July 1845, which capture life at the parsonage and reflect on her personal development. Also, two diary papers were cowritten with Emily (but are in Emily’s hand), dated 24 November 1834 and 26 June 1837. These materials are reproduced, in part, in a number of biographies and editions of Charlotte Brontë’s letters, so some older works are included here as they may be available when more-recent expensive editions are not. All the letters and diary papers can be found in Smith 1995–2004. The four diary papers are also reproduced in Shorter 1896 and in Ratchford 1955 (cited under Gondal). Wise and Symington 1932 (cited under Biography: The Brontë Family) reproduces all the letters except the one to David Thom. Barker 1997 includes most of Anne Brontë’s personal writings.

                                                                                    • Barker, Juliet. The Brontës: A Life in Letters. London: Viking, 1997.

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                                                                                      Includes two letters by Anne in full (to Nussey 5.4.49, to Thom), extracts of the other two to Ellen Nussey, and the four diary papers.

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                                                                                      • Shorter, Clement. Charlotte Brontë and Her Circle. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1896.

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                                                                                        Anne Brontë’s diary papers are published for the first time here, in the context of an explosion of previously unknown Brontë materials coming to light.

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                                                                                        • Smith, Margaret, ed. The Letters of Charlotte Brontë: With a Selection of Letters by Family and Friends. 3 vols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1995–2004.

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                                                                                          Includes Volume 1 (1829–1847), Volume 2 (1848–1851), and Volume 3 (1852–1855). Contains Brontë’s five letters and four diary papers.

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                                                                                          Marginalia

                                                                                          Given the absence of substantial personal writings, Anne Brontë’s marginal notations of her books have received some scholarly attention to reveal her religious views and her writing process. Articles on these include discussions of her annotated Bible (Frawley 2001, Thormählen 2012), her own copy of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Talley 2007), and a book of poems (Thormählen 2005).

                                                                                          Drawings and Paintings

                                                                                          Since the late 20th century, the artwork of the Brontës has come to wider notice, and Anne is no exception. Alexander and Sellars 1995 catalogues Brontë’s landscapes and character portraits, and Chitham 1979 (cited under Selected Editions: Poems) also lists them. A number of the images are reproduced in Gerin 1959 (cited under Biography: Anne Brontë), while just a few appear in Bentley 1969 and a few in Barker 1997 (cited under Biography: The Brontë Family). Alexander and Sellars 1995 and Hagan and Wells 2008 discuss the influence of the visual arts on the Brontës’ works.

                                                                                          • Alexander, Christine, and Jane Sellars. The Art of the Brontës. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

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                                                                                            Annotated catalogue of the Brontës’ drawings and paintings, with a useful discussion of how visual art influenced their writings. Includes some reproductions of Brontë’s artwork.

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                                                                                            • Bentley, Phyllis. The Brontës and Their World. London: Thames & Hudson, 1969.

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                                                                                              A very general companion work with some reproductions of Brontë’s artwork.

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                                                                                              • Hagan, Sandra, and Juliette Wells, eds. The Brontës in the World of the Arts. Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2008.

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                                                                                                The introduction (by the editors) has general points about art in the lives and works of the Brontës, and the volume includes an essay on painting in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (see Losano 2008, cited under Art and the Female Artist).

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                                                                                                Bibliographies

                                                                                                Early bibliographies of writings on the Brontës contain very little on Anne Brontë specifically, whose improved critical status is evident in more-recent listings. Chitham 1979 (cited under Selected Editions: Poems) lists extant manuscript materials of personal writings (letters, notes, illustrations, drawings), and of poems. Langland 1989, Jay 2000, and Frawley 1996 (all cited under General Overviews) contain useful annotated bibliographies of works published on Brontë to the end of the 20th century. Selected reviews and earlier critical assessments are listed in Winnifrith 1988 (cited under Biography: The Brontë Family), McNees 1996, and Shattock 1999. Ogden 2016 is the latest in a regularly updated list of Brontë criticism. Indexes to Brontë Studies, formerly Brontë Society Transactions, are available in Duckett and Walker 2005 and (more up to date) the Brontë Studies journal. See also Drawings and Paintings for lists of Brontë’s artwork.

                                                                                                • Brontë Studies. 2001–.

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                                                                                                  The contents of all numbers of this and its forerunner the Brontë Society Transactions (to 2001) can be searched effectively via the online facility on the publisher’s website. Type “anne bronte” in the search box to locate all relevant articles and reviews in this journal.

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                                                                                                  • Duckett, R. J., and Arthur D. Walker. The Brontë Society Transactions, 1895–2001. Keighley, UK: Brontë Society, 2005.

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                                                                                                    Includes a substantial index to all articles in the Brontë Society Transactions up to 2001, when the periodical was renamed Brontë Studies.

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                                                                                                    • McNees, Eleanor, ed. The Brontë Sisters: Critical Assessments. 4 vols. Mountfield, UK: Helm Information, 1996.

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                                                                                                      Volume 1 lists significant 20th-century editions of Brontë’s works, selected Brontë biographies, personal writings and manuscript collections, and a bibliography of (very selected) criticism on Brontë, including some early reviews and significant articles, especially those reviewing Anne Brontë’s literary status. These articles (some of which are detailed in the Criticism subsections of this article) are conveniently reprinted in Volume 2 and Volume 4.

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                                                                                                      • Ogden, James. “A Brontë Reading List: Part 7.” Bronte Studies 41.3 (2016): 261–272.

                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1179/1474893213Z.00000000097Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                        The latest in an ongoing annotated list of selected critical essays since 2001, excluding articles in Brontë Studies. More relate to Anne Brontë in the later parts, reflecting the expanding critical interest in her work. This follows six previous installments by Ogden, published also in Brontë Studies: Part 1 in 32.2 (2007): 157–164; Part 2 in 33.3 (2008): 245–255; Part 3 in 34.3 (2009): 255–262; Part 4 in 36.4 (2011): 374–380; Part 5 in 37.3 (2012): 250–258; Part 6 (coauthored with Sara L. Pearson) in 39.1 (2014): 71–80.

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                                                                                                        • Shattock, Joanne, ed. Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature. Vol. 4, 1800–1900. 3d ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

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                                                                                                          The entry on Anne Brontë is useful for its list of editions and reviews. The general entry on the Brontës is limited to earlier, general works on the family of writers.

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                                                                                                          Gondal

                                                                                                          The imaginary world of Gondal, which Anne shared with Emily until their mid-twenties, was revealed only when their diary papers were published in Shorter 1896 (cited under Letters and Diary Papers). No narrative of Gondal exists, and the literature it inspired is less full and coherent than that related to Charlotte’s and Branwell’s imaginary world of Angria, but scholars have constructed various plot versions from inferences in Emily’s and Anne’s poems and notes. The most influential of these is Ratchford 1955, which supersedes the attempt made in Brown and Mott 1938. Fanny Ratchford’s version has been challenged with alternatives in Paden 1958 and Chitham 1983. Brontë’s Gondal poems share themes with her non-Gondal poems, and the distinction is not always clear-cut, so these are often discussed together by critics of her poetry (see Criticism: Poems). London 1999 considers Anne and Emily’s collaborative author identity, rooted in their Gondal productions, and for Anne’s abandonment of Gondal, see the introduction to Chitham 1979 (cited under Selected Editions: Poems), and Chitham 1983 (cited under Realism).

                                                                                                          Reputation

                                                                                                          This section lists reviews from the 19th century, early general critical reappraisals of Brontë’s literary abilities, and several articles that discuss authorship and reception. Allot 1974 is a useful starting point for reviews, though it is supplemented by Winnifrith 1988 (cited under Biography: The Brontë Family). Some reviews are reproduced in McNees 1996 (cited under Bibliographies). Moore 1936 provides a striking early reappraisal, although Bell 1966 goes further in its claims. Anne Brontë can be seen to manage her own critical reputation in her “Preface” to the second edition of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Bell 1848), which contrasts with Charlotte Brontë’s apologetic “Biographical Notice” to her memorial edition of her sisters’ selected works (Bell 1850). Han 2017 demonstrates the absorption of Brontë’s heightened status into popular culture as well as modern biography. Charlotte’s management of Anne Brontë’s literary reputation is discussed in Harrison and Stanford 1959 (cited under Biography: Anne Brontë), Bauman 2007, and Villacañas Palomo 1994, while Bauman 2004 analyzes the publication of the poems specifically. Gerin 1959 (cited under Biography: Anne Brontë) includes some useful details of the reception of Brontë’s publications. For more on collective authorial identity, see Lamonica 2003 (cited under Family and Community).

                                                                                                          Criticism

                                                                                                          While Anne Brontë’s work has won credit on its own terms, it is also sometimes placed fruitfully alongside works by other Victorian writers.

                                                                                                          Poems

                                                                                                          Brontë’s poetry is less well served with criticism than is her fiction. Several general works on Brontë include good discussions of her poetry in terms of form, theme, and development, taking into account poetry written for Gondal and otherwise—see especially Langland 1989, Jay 2000, and Frawley 1996 (all cited under General Overviews). Subjectivity, fragmentation, and the struggle for self-expression are the focus of Frawley 1996 as well as Armstrong 1993 and Hagan 2007. The interaction of faith with feeling is explored in Bauman 2007 and Styler 2010. See also introductions to Chitham 1979 and Davies 1976 (both cited under Selected Editions: Poems) and items in the section Gondal, all of which address aspects of Brontë’s poetry. For discussions of how Brontë managed the publication of her poems, see Reputation.

                                                                                                          • Armstrong, Isobel. Victorian Poetry, Poetics and Politics. London: Routledge, 1993.

                                                                                                            DOI: 10.4324/9780203193280Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                            Discusses Brontë’s poetry briefly but persuasively in terms of subverting conventions of “feminine” expressive poetry (see pp. 332–334).

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                                                                                                            • Bauman, Susan R. “‘How Shall I Appear?’ The Dialogue of Doubt and Faith in Anne Brontë’s Hymns.” In Sublimer Aspects: Interfaces between Literature, Aesthetics, and Theology. Edited by Natasha Duquette, 80–98. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars, 2007.

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                                                                                                              Considers Brontë’s religious expression, through selected poems, in the context of Victorian doubt.

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                                                                                                              • Berry, Elizabeth C. Anne Brontë’s Radical Vision: Structures of Consciousness. Victoria, BC: University of Victoria Press, 1994.

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                                                                                                                Studies interlocking systems of imagery as “psycho-social structures” across all Brontë’s works, which is the most enlightening in relation to the poetry.

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                                                                                                                • Hagan, Sandra. “‘Take My Lips’: The Pleasures of Hymnody for Victorian Single Women.” In Sublimer Aspects: Interfaces between Literature, Aesthetics, and Theology. Edited by Natasha Duquette, 112–130. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars, 2007.

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                                                                                                                  Discusses Anne Brontë alongside Christina Rossetti as single women who use hymns to express intense emotional longing.

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                                                                                                                  • Styler, Rebecca. “Romance, Reason and Reality in Anne Brontë’s Poetry.” In Literary Theology by Women Writers of the Nineteenth Century. By Rebecca Styler, 43–68. Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2010.

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                                                                                                                    This chapter discusses Brontë’s religious poetry as a theologically aware response to the contexts of romanticism, evangelicalism, rational humanist doctrine, and Victorian doubt.

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                                                                                                                    Agnes Grey

                                                                                                                    Material on this work is far less abundant than on Brontë’s second novel, but criticism focuses on themes of selfhood, feminism and female professionalism, views on education, and social satire. In the early 21st century, the novel has been considered in terms of animal studies. For several good chapter-length analyses of the novel, see General Overviews. See also the subsection on the Body.

                                                                                                                    Selfhood and Self-Expression

                                                                                                                    Independent selfhood is a powerful theme in all of Anne Brontë’s works. Baldridge 1993 argues that the novel interrogates the simple narrative of self-development. Howgate 2011 and Meyer consider more-complex vacillations of self-expression and self-restraint in the novel. Lamonica 2003 (cited under Family and Community) counters the individualistic emphasis in all these accounts with a consideration of relationality as a major concern in Brontë’s fiction.

                                                                                                                    • Baldridge, Cates. “Agnes Grey: Brontë’s Bildungsroman That Isn’t.” Journal of Narrative Technique 23.1 (1993): 31–45.

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                                                                                                                      Considers the novel as a critical engagement with the Bildungsroman model of personal development.

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                                                                                                                      • Howgate, Sally. “‘I Chose to Keep Silence’: Textual Effacement in Agnes Grey.” Brontë Studies 36.3 (2011): 213–223.

                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1179/147489311X13038124796116Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                        Observes alternating states of assertion and self-effacement, in a constant redefining of selfhood.

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                                                                                                                        • Meyer, Susan. “Words on ‘Great Vulgar Sheets’: Writing and Social Resistance in Anne Brontë’s Agnes Grey.” In The New Nineteenth Century: Feminist Readings of Underread Victorian Fiction. Edited by Barbara Harman and Susan Meyer, 3–16. New York: Garland, 1996.

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                                                                                                                          Considers silence and verbal expression as signifiers of women’s empowerment. Reprinted in Patricia Ingham’s The Brontës (London: Longman, 2002), a volume in the Longman Critical Reader series (reissued 2003).

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                                                                                                                          Education, the Governess, and Professional Work for Women

                                                                                                                          Agnes Grey has had much attention as a member of the governess novel subgenre, which attends to conditions of female employment (see Hale 2006, Banerjee 1997). A number of critics have seen a positive affirmation of the professional status of women’s work (Butterworth 2003, Gohrisch 2002). Regaignon 2001 and Thormählen 2007 consider Brontë’s pedagogic ideals and her work as an intervention into education debates. See also Religion and Ethics for essays on education of character more broadly.

                                                                                                                          • Banerjee, Jacqueline. “The Legacy of Anne Brontë in Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw.” English Studies: A Journal of English Language and Literature 78.6 (1997): 532–544.

                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1080/00138389708599103Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                            Considers James’s debt to women writers of domestic fiction, including Brontë’s governess novel.

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                                                                                                                            • Butterworth, Robert D. “The Professional Adrift in the Victorian Novel: (1) Agnes Grey.” Victorian Newsletter 104 (Fall 2003): 13–17.

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                                                                                                                              Considers Brontë’s representation of the profession of governess in terms of a developing Victorian ethos of professionalism.

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                                                                                                                              • Gohrisch, Jana. “Emotion Work in Anne Brontë’s Agnes Grey.” In Nice Work? Critical Perspectives on the Changing Nature of Labour, Leisure and Unemployment in Britain. Edited by Peter Drexler, 63–82. Trier, Germany: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                Considers the idea of emotional effort as a form of work done by women.

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                                                                                                                                • Hale, Elizabeth. “Long-Suffering Professional Females: The Case of Nanny Lit.” In Chick Lit: The New Woman’s Fiction. Edited by Suzanne Ferris and Mallory Young, 103–118. New York: Routledge, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                  Considers the governess role as a profession, and exploitation at work.

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                                                                                                                                  • Regaignon, Dara Rossman. “Instructive Sufficiency: Re-reading the Governess through Agnes Grey.” Victorian Literature & Culture 29.1 (2001): 85–108.

                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1017/S1060150301291062Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                    Refocuses on the pedagogic function of the governess and the way in which her methods of education disrupt bourgeois hegemony in the families that employ her.

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                                                                                                                                    • Simmons, James R., Jr. “Class, Matriarchy, and Power: Contextualising the Governess in Agnes Grey.” In New Approaches to the Literary Art of Anne Brontë. Edited by Julie Nash and Barbara A. Suess, 25–43. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                      Focuses on the relationship between the governess role and that of the mother, with reference to nonfictional accounts of governess experience and class consciousness.

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                                                                                                                                      • Thormählen, Marianne. The Brontës and Education. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511484940Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                        Discusses the Brontës’ experience of schools and ideas about teaching, and the representation of these in their fiction.

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                                                                                                                                        Religion and Ethics

                                                                                                                                        Anne Brontë’s novel is considered as a commentary on particular forms of religion that were contested at the time, especially reacting against High Church practices in the name of evangelical simplicity and social concern (Leaver 2012, Stolpa 2003). Her moral ideas are explored through analysis of her ideals of educating the character of the young (Miele 2008), especially the young privileged male (Pike 2012). The training of manners and morals are an aspect of eating in Gardner 2001, and Berg 2002 addresses Brontë’s critique of violence as an intrinsic element in masculinity.

                                                                                                                                        • Berg, Maggie. “Hapless Dependents: Women and Animals in Anne Brontë’s Agnes Grey.” Studies in the Novel 34.2 (2002): 177–198.

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                                                                                                                                          Discusses structural links between the treatment of animals and the treatment of women.

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                                                                                                                                          • Gardner, Marilyn Sheridan. “‘The Food of My Life’: Agnes Grey at Wellwood House.” In New Approaches to the Literary Art of Anne Brontë. Edited by Julie Nash and Barbara A. Suess, 45–62. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                            Considers the symbolic value of food in the novel as a marker of civilization and overcivilization, and dining as an educative exercise.

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                                                                                                                                            • Leaver, Elizabeth. “The Critique of the Priest in Anne Brontë’s Agnes Grey.” Brontë Studies 37.4 (2012): 345–351.

                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1179/1474893212Z.00000000042Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                              Analyzes the three priest characters in relation to the ideals of Patrick Brontë and his curate William Weightman.

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                                                                                                                                              • Miele, Kathryn. “Do Unto Others: Learning Empathy in Agnes Grey.” Brontë Studies 33.1 (2008): 9–19.

                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1179/147489308X259569Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                Argues that the novel reflects on what enhances and obstructs the learning of empathy, which is emphasized as part of a holistic education.

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                                                                                                                                                • Pike, Judith E. “Breeding Boys: Milksops, Men’s Clubs and the Modelling of Masculinity in Anne Brontë’s Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.” Brontë Studies 37.2 (2012): 112–124.

                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1179/174582212X13279217752741Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                  Shows how Brontë challenges the conventional rearing of boys and the aggressive values on which that is based.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Stolpa, Jennifer M. “Preaching to the Clergy: Anne Brontë’s Agnes Grey as a Treatise on Sermon Style and Delivery.” Victorian Literature and Culture 31.1 (2003): 225–240.

                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1017/S1060150303000111Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                    Considers Brontë as entering the male territory of sermon writing, in terms of Agnes’s spoken views, and in the novel’s overall content and style.

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                                                                                                                                                    The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

                                                                                                                                                    Anne Brontë’s current literary status rests largely on this novel, which has attracted much scholarship since the 1990s, mostly in terms of its feminism, and its engagements with contemporaneous legal debates dealing with marriage and child custody. A number of studies also address the novel’s complex narrative form, masculinity, religion, and the depiction of the female artist. Chapter-length discussions of the novel appear in several of the works listed under General Overviews. For Anne Brontë’s preface to the second edition, and Charlotte Brontë’s view of the novel, see Bell 1848b (cited under Selected Editions: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall) and Bell and Bell 1850 (cited under Selected Editions: Agnes Grey).

                                                                                                                                                    Feminism

                                                                                                                                                    Anne Brontë’s novel is generally considered a bold engagement with “the Woman Question,” often situated in the Wollstonecraftian tradition of Enlightenment feminism (Carnell 1998, Villacañas Palomo 1993; see also Joshi 2009, cited under Masculinity). The novel’s engagement with contemporaneous debates about women’s legal status in marriage, and custody of children, is addressed in Lee 2008, Ward 2007, and Le Veness 2014. Some critics have suggested Brontë anticipated New Woman writers in her particular brand of feminism (Cox 2010). Lin 2002 is a rare voice arguing for the novel’s more conservative gender vision. See also Realism, Women and the Law, and Art and the Female Artist, all of which list works drawing on feminist perspectives.

                                                                                                                                                    • Carnell, Rachel K. “Feminism and the Public Sphere in Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.” Nineteenth-Century Literature 53.1 (1998): 1–24.

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                                                                                                                                                      Considers this novel in terms of Jürgen Habermas’s concept of the 18th-century public sphere, to show not only nostalgia for the classical liberal model of bourgeois public debate, but also the inherent contradictions between different discourses (literary, political, and scientific) within the public sphere itself.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Cox, Jessica. “Gender, Conflict, Community: Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848) and Sarah Grand’s The Heavenly Twins (1893).” Brontë Studies 35.1 (2010): 30–39.

                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1179/174582209X12593347114679Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                        Views Anne Brontë’s feminist novel as a precursor to New Woman fiction in its frank criticism of women’s social and legal position.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Le Veness, Kristin A. “Lessons from The Tenant of Wildfell Hall: Recasting the Mother.” Brontë Studies 36.4 (2014): 344–357

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                                                                                                                                                          Places Brontë in the rationalist feminist tradition, with a focus on a radically revised motherhood.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Lee, Monika Hope. “A Mother Outlaw Vindicated: Social Critique in Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.” Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies 4.3 (2008).

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                                                                                                                                                            Considers treatment of marriage, family, and motherhood.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Lin, Lidan. “Voices of Subversion and Narrative Closure in Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.” Brontë Studies 27.1 (2002): 131–137.

                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1179/bst.2002.27.2.131Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                              Counters the prevailing emphasis on the novel as a radically feminist text to show the heroine’s more orthodox acts of obedience.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Morse, Deborah Denenholz. “‘I Speak of Those I Do Know’: Witnessing as Radical Gesture in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.” In New Approaches to the Literary Art of Anne Brontë. Edited by Julie Nash and Barbara A. Suess, 103–126. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                Gives a legal and religious interpretation to the idea of witnessing to truth, to present Brontë as a Christian feminist.

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                                                                                                                                                                • Villacañas Palomo, Beatriz. “Anne Brontë and Mary Wollstonecraft: A Case of Sisterhood.” Estudios Ingleses de la Universidad Complutense 1 (1993): 191–204.

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                                                                                                                                                                  Discusses the heroine’s character and defiance of convention in the terms of Wollstonecraft’s Maria, or The Wrongs of Woman, published in 1798.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Ward, Ian. “The Case of Helen Huntingdon.” Criticism: A Quarterly for Literature and the Arts 49.2 (2007): 151–182.

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                                                                                                                                                                    Discusses how the novel made public the realities of domestic abuse and family dysfunction, with a focus on the details of women’s legal position.

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                                                                                                                                                                    Masculinity

                                                                                                                                                                    Following many critical considerations of Brontë’s feminism, lively discussions of her deconstructive approach to codes of masculinity, and her proffered alternatives, have emerged. Critiques of aggression and bravado as founding male qualities are discussed in Poole 1993, Thormählen 1993, and Berg 2010, while the slippery concept of the gentleman is considered in Hallenbeck 2005 and Hyman 2008. Hornosty 2014 counters Berg 2010 in their situating of Gilbert Markham’s type of manliness. The interrelations between masculinity and femininity, as interdependent cultural codes, are addressed in Joshi 2009. Brontë’s critique of boys’ education is discussed in Pike 2012 and in Thormählen 2007 (cited under Education, the Governess, and Professional Work for Women).

                                                                                                                                                                    • Berg, Maggie. “‘Let Me Have Its Bowels Then’: Sacrificial Structure and Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.” Literature Interpretation Theory 21.1 (2010): 20–40.

                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1080/10436920903547737Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                      Analyzes the relationship between violence toward animals and violence perpetrated on human beings.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Hallenbeck, Sarah. “How to Be a Gentleman without Really Trying: Gilbert Markham in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.” Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies 1 (Winter 2005).

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                                                                                                                                                                        Focuses on Gilbert’s frame narration, which operates together with Helen’s letters to revalue the marriage myth. Considers Gilbert in the context of shifting social codes surrounding the concept of the gentleman.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Hornosty, Janina. “Let’s Not Have Its Bowells Quite So Quickly, Then: A Response to Maggie Berg.” Brontë Studies 38.2 (2014): 130–140.

                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1179/1474893214Z.000000000105Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                          Responds to Berg 2010 to show how Gilbert Markham transcends the “carno-phallogocentric” brotherhood by which Helen is victimized.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Hyman, Gwen. “‘An Infernal Fire in My Veins’: Gentlemanly Drinking in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.” Victorian Literature & Culture 36.2 (2008): 451–469.

                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1017/S1060150308080285Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                            Considers consumption of alcohol in relation to ideas of the gentleman and the temperance movement.

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                                                                                                                                                                            • Joshi, Priti. “Masculinity and Gossip in Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.” Studies in English Literature, 1500–1900 49.4 (2009): 907–924.

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                                                                                                                                                                              Argues that Brontë’s revision of femininity forges a middle ground between Mary Wollstonecraft’s repudiation of women’s culture and Hannah More’s aggrandizement of women’s influence. Brontë also presents a revised masculinity in which women’s “gossip” plays a constructive role.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Pike, Judith E. “Breeding Boys: Milksops, Men’s Clubs and the Modelling of Masculinity in Anne Brontë’s Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.” Brontë Studies 37.2 (2012): 112–124.

                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1179/174582212X13279217752741Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                Shows how Brontë challenges the conventional upbringing of boys and offers an alternative mode of fatherhood in the character of Gilbert Markham.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Poole, Russell. “Cultural Reformation and Cultural Reproduction in Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.” Studies in English Literature, 1500–1900 33.4 (1993): 859–874.

                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.2307/450753Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                  Analyzes the moral and religious principles of the heroine and attitudes toward male aggression and desire.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Thormählen, Marianne. “The Villain of Wildfell Hall: Aspects and Prospects of Arthur Huntingdon.” Modern Language Review 88.4 (1993): 831–841.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Considers the novel’s “villain” character against the background of Victorian debates in theology, social developments, and science.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Narrative Form

                                                                                                                                                                                    The novel’s use of a frame narrative and embedded letters has drawn an enormous amount of critical attention. While once considered a weakness (as some early responses to the novel suggest—see Signorotti 1995), more-recent critics have argued positively for its sophisticated effects. Jacobs 1986 provides a seminal defense of the novel’s narrative method. Other scholars have claimed its formal transgressions are suggestive of the violence and disruption that preoccupy the novel thematically (see Gordon 1984, Langland 2002, Stewart 2009). Kostka 1992 and Delafield 2009 focus on Helen’s narration in terms of self-development and self-determination, with different emphases. Nash and Suess 2001 contains several essays on narrative method in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall; thus, the collection is listed here.

                                                                                                                                                                                    • Delafield, Catherine. Women’s Diaries as Narrative in the Nineteenth-Century Novel. Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      Assesses the interaction between the fictional diary and other forms of literary production and the use of the former as a narrative device, including substantial reference to The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      • Gordon, Jan B. “Gossip, Diary, Letter, Text: Anne Brontë’s Narrative Tenant and the Problematic of the Gothic Sequel.” English Literary History 51.4 (1984): 719–745.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        Considers the diary/epistolary format in terms of the limited or unreliable narrator characteristic of many other gothic fictions, suggesting the inability to recover experience.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Jacobs, Naomi M. “Gender and Layered Narrative in Wuthering Heights and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.” Journal of Narrative Technique 16.3 (1986): 204–219.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          A comparative study of the two novels in terms of the way narrative structure connects to themes of gender and domestic disturbance. Reprinted in Patricia Ingham’s The Brontës (London: Longman, 2002), and in McNees 1996 (cited under Bibliographies).

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                                                                                                                                                                                          • Kostka, Edith A. “Narrative Experience as a Means to Maturity in Anne Brontë’s Victorian Novel The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.” Connecticut Review 14.2 (1992): 41–47.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            Studies narrative technique in relation to the protagonist’s self-development.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • Langland, Elizabeth. “Dialogue and Narrative Transgressions in Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.” In Telling Tales: Gender and Narrative Form in Victorian Literature and Culture. By Elizabeth Langland, 30–46. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              Considers various aspects of narrative form in relation to gender construction and its disruptions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              • Nash, Julie, and Barbara A. Suess, eds. New Approaches to the Literary Art of Anne Brontë. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                The majority of the essays in this volume are on Brontë’s second novel, and a recurring theme is her creative strategies and skill. Some essays are listed individually under sections and subsections in this article.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • Signorotti, Elizabeth. “‘A Frame Perfect and Glorious’: Narrative Structure in Anne Brontë’s Tenant of Wildfell Hall.” Victorian Newsletter 87 (Spring 1995): 20–25.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  The author discusses contemporaneous critiques of the novel and defends the significance of the narrative-framing technique used.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Stewart, Garrett. Novel Violence: A Narratography of Victorian Fiction. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226774602.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Connects structural to thematic violence, with a chapter on Brontë’s novel.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    Realism

                                                                                                                                                                                                    A strong emphasis in criticism of Anne Brontë is on her commitment to realism, and her desire to challenge “Romantic,” and romantic, myths. This theme is foregrounded in several works listed under General Overviews, notably Craik 1968 and Langland 1989. In relation to The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, the focus is on laying bare myths about marriage and about human nature, as discussed in Jackson 1982 and Villacañas Palomo 1993. Bowen 2011 considers Brontë’s reaction to the literary heritage of Romanticism, a theme taken up in Berg 1987 and Chitham 1983, which argue for Tenant as Anne’s response to her sisters’ novels.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Berg, Margaret Mary. “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall: Anne Brontë’s Jane Eyre.” Victorian Newsletter 71 (Spring 1987): 10–15.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      Considers the novels in parallel, and Brontë’s as a response, and in many ways a riposte, to the earlier Jane Eyre.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Bowen, John. “The Brontës and the Transformations of Romanticism.” In The Nineteenth-Century Novel, 1820–1880. Vol. 3, of The Oxford History of the Novel in English. Edited by John Kucich and Jenny Bourne Taylor, 203–219. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        Discusses the novelists in relation to romanticism and modernity, including both of Brontë’s novels.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Chitham, Edward. “Diverging Twins: Some Clues to Wildfell Hall.” In Brontë Facts and Brontë Problems. Edited by Edward Chitham and Tom Winnifrith, 91–109. London: Macmillan, 1983.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          Chitham considers Anne’s and Emily’s diverging personal and literary interests, and Tenant as a critical response to Emily’s novel.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Jackson, Arlene M. “The Question of Credibility in Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.” English Studies 63.3 (1982): 198–206.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            Focuses on the creation of moral realism and character psychology. Reprinted in McNees 1996 (cited under Bibliographies).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Villacañas Palomo, Beatriz. “Anne Brontë: The Triumph of Realism over Subjectivity.” Revista de Estudios Ingleses 6 (1993): 189–199.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              Considers Brontë’s satire of romanticized ideals of domestic life and human character in order to reveal a truth based on observation and reason.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              Art and the Female Artist

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Discussions of the woman artist reflect an aspect of Anne Brontë’s interest in the woman as a professional. Clapp 1996 and Shaw 2002 consider Brontë’s protagonist’s characterization as an artist in a patriarchal art establishment, to which Losano 2003 adds the context of the growing professionalization of art production. Diederich 2003 addresses tensions between the heroine’s self-conceptualization as an artist and her domestic role. Losano 2008 more generally considers the significance of paintings in the novel, while Sellei 2008 relates the genre of these images to the novel’s feminist themes. Kanwit 2013 considers how the novel enters debates on aesthetic taste. See also Drawings and Paintings for general sources about the influence of art in the Brontës’ writings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Clapp, Alisa M. “The Tenant of Patriarchal Culture: Anne Brontë’s Problematic Female Artist.” Michigan Academician 28.2 (1996): 113–122.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                Considers the novel’s controversial representation of the female protagonist as an artist.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Diederich, Nicole A. “The Art of Comparison: Remarriage in Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.” Rocky Mountain Review of Language and Literature 57.2 (2003): 25–41.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Discusses how a woman’s definition of herself as an artist complicates her other social roles, and asks whether Helen’s second marriage gives her freedom in this respect.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Kanwit, John Paul M. “‘I Have Often Wished in Vain for Another’s Judgment’: Modeling Ideal Aesthetic Commentary in Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.” In Victorian Art Criticism and the Woman Writer. By John Paul M. Kanwit, 76–92. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2013.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Considers Helen’s speeches about art as art criticism and a guide to art viewers, in a book on women writers who read art critics and sought to shape national taste.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Losano, Antonia. “The Professionalisation of the Woman Artist in Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.” Nineteenth-Century Literature 58.1 (2003): 1–41.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Foregrounds the scenes of painting as indicators of the novel’s radical view of women’s role as creative producers at a significant moment in art history, when the “accomplished” female amateur began to give way to the professional female artist.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Losano, Antonia. “Anne Brontë’s Aesthetics: Painting in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.” In The Brontës in the World of the Arts. Edited by Sandra Hagan and Juliette Wells, 44–66. Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Discusses Brontë’s interest in and production of art, and the significance of the practice of painting in the novel.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Sellei, Nora. “(Female) Desire and Romantic Art in Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.” Gender Studies 1.8 (2008): 7–18.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Discusses self-expressive art as a coded means to expressing female desire.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Shaw, Karen L. “Wildfell Hall and the Artist as a Young Woman.” West Virginia University Philological Papers 48 (2002): 9–17.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Considers the novel as a Künstleroman.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Women and the Law

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Part of Anne Brontë’s concern about the position of women was directed toward women’s legal status in relation to marriage, and to the issue of child custody that was being debated in Parliament in relation to proposed changes in law. Ward 2012 is thoroughly informative, while Berry 1996 and Gruner 1997 consider Brontë in comparative terms with other mid-19th-century novelists who reflected on the 1839 Infant Custody Bill. Wagner 2007 claims Brontë’s legacy for later Victorian novelists. See also works cited under Feminism, especially Morse 2001.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Berry, Laura C. “Acts of Custody and Incarceration in Wuthering Heights and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.” Novel: A Forum on Fiction 30.1 (1996): 32–55.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Argues that the novels are infused with concerns about child custody and the virtual incarceration of women, which filled parliamentary debates before and after the 1839 Infant Custody Bill.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Gruner, Elizabeth Rose. “Plotting the Mother: Caroline Norton, Helen Huntingdon and Isabel Vane.” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature 16.2 (1997): 303–325.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Discusses the mothers of mid-19th-century novels (including Ellen Wood’s East Lynne) in relation to the case of Caroline Norton and the Infant Custody Bill.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Wagner, Tamara. “Speculations on Inheritance and Anne Brontë’s Legacy for the Victorian Custody Novel.” Women’s Writing 14.1 (2007): 117–139.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Consider the child abduction plot as a device to articulate a new emotional investment in marriage.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Ward, Ian. Law and the Brontës. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Argues that the legal aspects of women’s social position were much in the Brontës’ minds, including reflections on spousal abuse and child custody in Anne Brontë’s second novel.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Family and Community

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Complementing the strong emphasis on individual identity in Anne Brontë’s fiction and poetry, and on the problems of the family structure within Victorian law and custom, are several works that, instead, emphasize her portrayal of sociability and sisterhood as essential to full personhood, especially in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Lamonica 2003 sees in Brontë’s biographical context the roots of her literary theme of self in community, O’Toole 1999 focuses on sibling relations, Dutoi 2011 addresses female friendship, and Colon 2008 examines wider social relations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Colon, Christine. “Beginning Where Charlotte Left Off: Visions of Community in Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.” Brontë Studies 33.1 (2008): 20–29.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Analyzes Brontë’s emphasis on social responsibility and relations beyond romantic love.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Dutoi, Karen. “Negotiating Distance and Intimacy in Female Friendship in Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.” Brontë Studies 36.3 (2011): 235–246.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Examines female friendship in relation to conjugal roles.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Lamonica, Drew. “We Are Three Sisters”: Self and Family in the Writings of the Brontës. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2003.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Discusses the role of family in the novels, in terms of developing selfhood within community, with reference to Victorian domestic ideology and the works of contemporaries. Includes chapters on the collaborative writings and on Brontë’s novels.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • O’Toole, Tess. “Siblings and Suitors in the Narrative Architecture of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.” Studies in English Literature, 1500–1900 39.4 (1999): 715–731.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Focuses on sibling relationships as being more central to this domestic novel than the heterosexual dynamic. Reprinted in Patricia Ingham’s The Brontës (London: Longman, 2002).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Body

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Developments in scholarship of links between literature and medical discourse have produced explorations of Brontë’s treatment of sexuality (Matus 1995), illness (Torgerson 2005), and other medical debates. See also Josephine McDonagh’s introduction in Rosengarten 2008 (cited under Selected Editions: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Matus, Jill L. Unstable Bodies: Victorian Representations of Sexuality and Maternity. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              See pp. 90–112. Uses biomedical, social-scientific, and literary texts to interrogate Victorian ideas of sexual difference and sexual instability. Considers Agnes Grey’s representation of “the animal side of life.”

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Torgerson, Beth. Reading the Brontë Body: Disease, Desire, and the Constraints of Culture. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Addresses the representation of illness, including alcoholism, in both of Brontë’s novels.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Religion

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Some general works effectively position Anne Brontë in relation to her religious context, and to the views of her sisters, notably Winnifrith 1988 (cited under Biography: The Brontë Family) and the more detailed Thormählen 1999. Brontë’s salvation theology is discussed in Colon 2004, while Woelfel 1996 usefully places Brontë in a transhistorical tradition of Christian humanism. Frawley 1991 considers Brontë’s negotiation of religion with gender debates. Religion features substantially in Criticism: Poems. See also works cited under General Overviews, and articles discussing Brontë’s Bible cited under Marginalia. See also works cited under Religion and Ethics and Morse 2001 (cited under Feminism).

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