“With skilled close readings of her work, Hay convincingly argues that Brontë’s writing on loneliness and society’s expectations for women remain relevant … accessible … a fine place to start for readers new to her work.” Publishers Weekly
Anne Brontë is now widely believed to have written the finest of all the Brontë works—and the first ever feminist novel. Why, then, is she less famous than Charlotte and Emily? Discover the real Anne and why she remained for so long in her sisters' shadow.
Anne’s writing has often been compared harshly with that of Charlotte and Emily—as if living in her sisters’ shadows throughout her life wasn’t enough. But her reputation, literary and personal, has changed dramatically since Agnes Grey was first published in 1846. Then, shocked reviewers complained of her "crudeness" and "vulgarity"—words used to this day to belittle women writing about oppression.
Her second and most famous work, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, was groundbreaking in its subject matter: marital and alcohol abuse and the rights of married women. A book that refused to sweep difficult truths under the rug. A book so ahead of its time that even her sisters weren’t ready for it, Charlotte being one of its harshest critics. And yet today's critics see it as perhaps the best of all the Brontë works. With such a contradictory life and legacy: who was Anne, really? It’s time to find out.