Brontë, Anne

Anne Bronte

Anne Brontë (1820-1849) followed in her sisters’ (Charlotte and Emily Brontë) paths by delving into the literary world as a novelist and poet. Working as a governess — caring for and teaching children — influenced her writings later on. The heroine in Agnes Grey has the same occupation. Unlike her sisters, Anne spent a good amount of time traveling, which allowed for her experiences with religion and society to come through in her writing. She had modern observations for her time, as well as feminist views.

Her second novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, was more popular then Agnes Grey, although they are somewhat similar. Both were controversial in that they were “…unfit to be put into the hands of girls.” Both of Anne’s novels, as well as her poems, contain a lot of autobiographical elements that correspond with events and people prominent in her life.

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Anne Brontë Quotes

“It is foolish to wish for beauty. Sensible people never either desire it for themselves or care about it in others. If the mind be but well cultivated, and the heart well disposed, not one ever cares for the exterior.” (Agnes Grey, 1847)

“Reading is my favourite occupation, when I have leisure for it and books to read.” (Agnes Grey, 1847)

“No one can be happy in eternal solitude.” (The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, 1848)

“If you would have your son to walk honourably through the world, you must not attempt to clear the stones from his path, but teach him to walk firmly over them – not insist upon leading him by the hand, but let him learn to go alone.” (The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, 1848)

“All true histories contain instruction; though, in some, the treasure may be hard to find, and when found, so trivial in quantity, that the dry, shrivelled kernel scarcely compensates for the trouble of cracking the nut. Whether this be the case with my history or not, I am hardly competent to judge. I sometimes think it might prove useful to some, and entertaining to others; but the world may judge for itself. Shielded by my own obscurity, and by the lapse of years, and a few fictitious names, I do not fear to venture; and will candidly lay before the public what I would not disclose to the most intimate friend.” (Agnes Grey, 1847)

“There is always a ‘but’ in this imperfect world.” (The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, 1848)

“I am satisfied that if a book is a good one, it is so whatever the sex of the author may be. All novels are, or should be, written for both men and women to read, and I am at loss to conceive how a man should permit himself to write anything that would be really disgraceful to a woman, or why a woman should be censured for writing anything that would be proper and becoming for a man.” (Preface to 2nd edition of  The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, 1848)

“It is better to arm and strengthen your hero, than to disarm and enfeeble your foe.” (The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, 1848)

“When a lady does consent to listen to an argument against her own opinions, she is always predetermined to withstand it – to listen only with her bodily ears, keeping the mental organs resolutely closed against the strongest reasoning.” (The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, 1848)

“Life and hope must cease together.” (The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, 1848)

“I love the silent hour of night, for blissful dreams may then arise, revealing to my charmed sight what may not bless my waking eyes.” (Best Poems of the Brontë Sisters)

“But smiles and tears are so alike with me, they are neither of them confined to any particular feelings: I often cry when I am happy, and smile when I am sad.”  (The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, 1848)Anne Bronte

“I always lacked common sense when taken by surprise.” (Agnes Grey, 1847)

“I had been seasoned by adversity, and tutored by experience, and I longed to redeem my lost honour in the eyes of those whose opinion was more than that of all the world to me.” (Agnes Grey, 1847)

“I began this book with the intention of concealing nothing, that those who liked might have the benefit of perusing a fellow creature’s heart: but we have some thoughts that all the angels in heaven are welcome to behold — but not our brother-men — not even the best and kindest amongst them.” (Agnes Grey, 1847)

“This paper will serve instead of a confidential friend into whose ear I might pour forth the overflowings of my heart. It will not sympathize with my distresses, but then, it will not laugh at them, and, if I keep it close, it cannot tell again; so it is, perhaps, the best friend I could have for the purpose.” (The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, 1848)

“One bright day in the last week of February, I was walking in the park, enjoying the threefold luxury of solitude, a book, and pleasant weather.” (Agnes Grey, 1847)

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