The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
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The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

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The Penguin Classics edition of Anne Bronte's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, her groundbreaking study of a woman's valiant struggle for independence from an abusive husband is edited with an introduction and notes by Stevie Davis.

Gilbert Markham is deeply intrigued by Helen Graham, a beautiful and secretive young woman who has moved into nearby Wildfell Hall with her young son. He is quick to offer Helen his friendship, but when her reclusive behaviour becomes the subject of local gossip and speculation, Gilbert begins to wonder whether his trust in her has been misplaced. It is only when she allows Gilbert to read her diary that the truth is revealed and the shocking details of the disastrous marriage she has left behind emerge. Told with great immediacy, combined with wit and irony, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is a powerful depiction of a woman's fight for domestic independence and creative freedom.

In her introduction Stevie Davies discusses The Tenant of Wildfell Hall as feminist testament, inspired by Anne Bronte's experiences as a governess and by the death of her brother Branwell Bronte, and examines the novel's language, biblical references and narrative styles.

Anne Bronte (1820-1849), youngest of the Bronte sisters, was born at Thornton, West Yorkshire. Her father was a curate, and her mother died when she was a baby, leaving five daughters and one son. After the death of her sisters Maria and Elizabeth from tuberculosis in 1825, the Bronte children were homeschooled, and together they created fantasy worlds and kingdoms which they explored in writing. Anne worked as a governess between 1840 and 1845, after which she published Agnes Grey (1847) and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848) under the pen-name Acton Bell. Anne Bronte died in 1849.

If you enjoyed The Tenant of Wildfell Hall you might also like Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence, also available in Penguin Classics.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 576 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 25mm | 394g
  • PENGUIN CLASSICS
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 0140434747
  • 9780140434743
  • 67,921

Back cover copy

The mysterious new tenant of Wildfell Hall is a strong-minded woman who keeps her own counsel. Helen 'Graham' - exiled with her child to the desolate moorland mansion, adopting an assumed name and earning her living as a painter - has returned to Wildfell Hall in flight from a disastrous marriage. Narrated by her neighbour Gilbert Markham, and in the pages of her own diary, the novel portrays Helen's eloquent struggle for independence at a time when the law and society defined a married woman as her husband's property.
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About Anne Brontë

Anne Bronte was born in 1820, the youngest of the Bronte family. She was educated at home, and was particularly close to her sister Emily. Her first novel was AGNES GREY, and it was followed by THE TENANT OF WILDFELL HALL in 1848, written under a pseudonym. She died in 1849. Dr Stevie Davies is a novelist and critic, and teaches at the University of Swansea.
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Rating details

77,550 ratings
3.93 out of 5 stars
5 33% (25,479)
4 37% (28,531)
3 23% (17,850)
2 5% (4,069)
1 2% (1,621)
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