Today we celebrate the birthday of Anne Bronte, January 17, 1820 – May 28, 1849, youngest of the Bronte sisters. Author of the novels Agnes Grey (1847) and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848), published under the name of “Acton Bell;” poems for the Gondal saga with Emily Bronte; and over twenty of her poems published in 1846 in a collection with the poems of Emily and Charlotte. The remainder of her poems were published posthumously. Anne Bronte died of consumption at the age of 29 in Scarborough; she is the only one of the Bronte family not buried at Haworth.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, her most known work, “speaks directly for female freedom and defends a woman’s right to flee from the torments of a brutal marriage. This novel ends romantically, but its message of revolt remains clear, and it is – through a male narrator – one of the most outspoken portrayals of male oprression in the period. ” [The Feminist Companion to Literature in English, p.141] The character of the drunken, violent Arthur Huntingdon was based on her brother Branwell, causing Charlotte Bronte in her “Biographical Notice” to the book to write that her sister’s “choice of subject was an entire mistake.”
There are many sites devoted to the Brontes; I append here a few of them which offer additional links.
- The BronteBlog, with a host of invaluable information and links
- Celebration of Women Authors
- The Bronte Sisters Web, for numerous links and e-texts
- The Literature Network
- Books and Writers site
- Bronte Parsonage Museum & Bronte Society in Haworth
- Anne Bronte Page at the Haworth Village site
- Bronte Country website
- The Literary Gothic Page with many Anne Bronte links
- Agnes Grey at Google Books
- The Tenant of Wildfell Hall e-text at The Literature Page
- Poems of Anne Bronte at PoemHunter
- Poem by Charlotte Bronte on Anne’s death at Acacia
- Timeline at Google
- Bronte Parsonage Blog
- the Five Faces of Anne Bronte at the Michael Armitage Bronte site
And for those who like BOOKS! (there are many…here are a few of the recent works I recommend)
*Chitham, Edward. A Life of Anne Bronte. Blackwell, 1991.
*Barker, Juliet. The Brontes. St. Martins 1995.
*Barker, Juliet. The Brontes: A Life in Letters. Overlook Press, 1997.
*Chitham, Edward, ed. The Poems of Anne Bronte. London, 1979.
*Miller, Lucasta. The Bronte Myth. Knopf, 2003.
At The Movies:
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was filmed for television in 1968 and again in 1996, starring Tara Fitzgerald, Toby Stephens and the incomparable Rupert Graves as Huntingdon. See also Ellen Moody’s Blog on the latter adaptation.