Take Courage

Take Courage : Anne Bronte and the Art of Life

4.25 (339 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

'I was wowed and moved' Tracy Chevalier

Anne Bronte is the forgotten Bronte sister, overshadowed by her older siblings -- virtuous, successful Charlotte, free-spirited Emily and dissolute Branwell. Tragic, virginal, sweet, stoic, selfless, Anne. The less talented Bronte, the other Bronte.

Or that's what Samantha Ellis, a life-long Emily and Wuthering Heights devotee, had always thought. Until, that is, she started questioning that devotion and, in looking more closely at Emily and Charlotte, found herself confronted by Anne instead.

Take Courage is Samantha's personal, poignant and surprising journey into the life and work of a woman sidelined by history. A brave, strongly feminist writer well ahead of her time -- and her more celebrated siblings -- and who has much to teach us today about how to find our way in the world.

Praise for How To Be A Heroine

'Any woman with a remotely bookish childhood will find great pleasure in How to be a Heroine' Sunday Times

'Genius.... A fantastically inspirational memoir that makes you want to reread far too many books' Observer

'Not so much self-help as shelf-help... A truly brilliant read' Marie Claire

'Delightfully honest and warmly funny' Daily Mail

'The best kind of book: one that I gobbled up, wanting to go slow to savour it but unable to stop reading until it was all gone' Observer
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Product details

  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 144 x 222 x 32mm | 494g
  • CHATTO & WINDUS
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1784740217
  • 9781784740214
  • 204,691

Review Text

"I thought that everything had already been said about the Brontës. But Samantha Ellis has looked at the family from a new angle, and in doing so brought Anne out of the shadows and placed her front and centre amongst her splashier siblings. I was wowed and moved"
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Review quote

"I thought that everything had already been said about the Brontes. But Samantha Ellis has looked at the family from a new angle, and in doing so brought Anne out of the shadows and placed her front and centre amongst her splashier siblings. I was wowed and moved" -- Tracy Chevalier "A lively, intelligent tribute to the forgotten Bronte sister, Anne... Her indignation is salutary" -- Lucy Hughes-Hallet * Observer * "A fascinating and compelling read... what Ellis does extraordinarily well is to convey the emotion of her own deeply personal voyage of discovery about Anne and herself... [makes] you long to rush off and reread Anne's novels and poetry: what more could you ask for?" -- Juliet Barker * Mail on Sunday * "This is a very personal book about what the short life of Anne Bronte can tell us about wringing every drop out of existence... A great pleasure to read and a more fitting tribute to Anne than her gravestone in Scarborough." -- Daisy Goodwin * The Times * "A lovely and imaginative investigation into a serious and searching woman whose last words were "take courage". It's inspiring stuff" -- Eithne Farry * Sunday Express * "The Brontes have spawned innumerable spin-offs and imitations, and Ellis cites and analyses many of them, from Hollywood movies to graphic novels, from television adaptations to stand-up comedy and online magazines. She has obsessively pursued them into every cultural realm, and she has read all the biographies, both scholarly and popular... It takes some time for an ageing reader to settle into this startling frame of reference, but once adjusted, the rewards are considerable" -- Margaret Drabble * Times Literary Supplement * "Her personal approach is the source of both the book's immense charm and also its considerable power... ultimately the book is a deeply moving depiction of how reading and writing allows us to forge an emotional and intellectual connection with someone who died over a century before we were born... brilliant" * Irish Times * "Wonderful... Ellis lives and breathes Anne's life... the feeling of being a Bronte becomes movie-screen vivid... If the experience of reading Anne's poems feels for Ellis "like being let in on secrets", that feeling is mirrored for the reader of Ellis's illuminating book" -- Juliet Nicolson * Spectator * "Take Courage is as much an account of Ellis's own discovery of Anne's work as it is that of her subject's life, and herein lies the book's unique appeal. Ellis - who is, it should be noted, as intelligent and perceptive a reader as she is an evocative storyteller - truly writes from the heart, which isn't to say she hasn't done her research... a deeply sympathetic and interesting re-evaluation of a woman ahead of her time who has much to teach us all about living courageously" -- Lucy Scholes * Independent * "Anne is the Cinderella of the Bronte sisters... Anne was, in fact, the secret firebrand of the family... The dominance of the two elder sisters means that there remains a need to bring her out of the shadows. In Take Courage, Samantha Ellis has risen to the challenge... Take Courage is almost as much about Ellis's vicarious relationship with her subject as it as about Anne Bronte. If scholarly footnotes are your thing, it isn't for you. But if you want to share in a biographer's emotional journey, you will find insights aplenty. The account of Anne's death from TB at the age of 29 is truly moving" -- Lucasta Miller * Sunday Times * "It really feels as if Anne Bronte is finally having her moment in the sun... Often overlooked due to the higher profile of sisters Jane and Emily and even her wastrel brother, Branwell, in Take Courage, Samantha Ellis skilfully reclaims Anne as a truly modern, feminist writer whose work is just as relevant today" * Red * "Ellis is at her best when she is furious and direct about the tragedy of Anne's short life and the ways she has been dismissed as sweet, virtuous and dull... Most compellingly, she reflects on how Anne's pragmatic attitude to Branwell's abusive behaviour made Tenant more mature and realistic than any of her sisters' works... Take Courage is a timely reappraisal - and if Ellis sends readers back to Anne Bronte, she'll have performed a valuable service" -- Johannah Thomas-Carr * Evening Standard * "A spirited attempt to bring Anne Bronte out from under her sisters' shadow." * Sunday Times * "For Ellis, the general ignorance of Anne Bronte's works is a source not so much of regret as near fury ... Ellis turned to Anne's two novels. To her surprise she found them more brave and radical than anything her sisters ever wrote. Anne has been in her sisters' shadows for too long and the time has come to give 'the other Bronte' her proper due" -- James Walton * Daily Mail * "Ellis's bracing look at Anne forces a radical rethink of the younger sister... Inspired" * Psychologies * "Ellis [is] an engaging, perceptive and sympathetic writer [...] and her personal approach is the source of both the book's immense charm and also its considerable power." -- Anna Carey * Irish Times * "A robust, emotionally charged defence of the writer, whose death at 29 left us with a handful of poems and two novels ... a woman misunderstood by historians and obscured by her sisters, despite a mind blindingly sharp and progressive" * Irish Examiner * "This is a poignant and often surprising journey into the life and work of a woman who emerges as a strongly feminist writer well ahead of her time and who has much to teach us today about how to find our way in the world." * UK Press Syndication * "Take Courage is Samantha's personal, poignant and surprising journey into the life and work of a woman sidelined by history. A brave, strongly feminist writer well ahead of her time - and her more celebrated siblings - and who has much to teach us today about how to find our way in the world... The Bronte's are a fascinating family and this is a really interesting book which really helps to bring light to Anne Bronte and her work... This book goes a great way to providing a more balanced view of Anne, what she thought, how she lived as well as gives great insight into her poems and novels. I can't wait to re-read her novels, and maybe even try some of her poems too" * Gingerbread House *
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About Samantha Ellis

Samantha Ellis is a playwright and journalist. Her first book How to be a Heroine was published in 2014. Her plays include Cling to me Like Ivy, Operation Magic Carpet and How to Date a Feminist. She has written for the Guardian, Observer, TLS, Spectator, Literary Review, The Pool, Exeunt and more. She lives in London.
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Rating details

339 ratings
4.25 out of 5 stars
5 47% (161)
4 35% (120)
3 13% (45)
2 3% (11)
1 1% (2)
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