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  • Published: 29 February 1996
  • ISBN: 9780140434743
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 576
  • RRP: $19.99

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall




A beautiful edition of Anne Brontë's most enduring novel, to accompany her sisters' greatest books in Penguin Clothbound Classics

The Penguin Classics edition of Anne Brontë'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 Brontë's experiences as a governess and by the death of her brother Branwell Brontë, and examines the novel's language, biblical references and narrative styles.
Anne Brontë (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 Brontë 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 Brontë 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.

  • Published: 29 February 1996
  • ISBN: 9780140434743
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 576
  • RRP: $19.99

About the author

Anne Bronte

Anne Bronte was born at Thornton in Yorkshire on 17 January 1820, the youngest of six children. That April, the Brontës moved to Haworth, a village on the edge of the moors, where Anne’s father had become the curate. Anne’s mother died soon afterwards. She was four when her older sisters were sent to the Clergy Daughters’ School at Cowan Bridge, where Maria and Elizabeth both caught tuberculosis and died. After that, Anne, Charlotte, Emily and Branwell were taught at home for a few years, and together, they created vivid fantasy worlds which they explored in their writing. Anne went to Roe Head School 1835–7. She worked as a governess with the Ingham
family (1839–40) and with the Robinson family (1840–45). In 1846, along with Charlotte and Emily, she published Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. She published Agnes Grey in 1847 and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall in 1848. That year, both Anne’s brother Branwell and her sister Emily died of tuberculosis. A fortnight later, Anne was diagnosed with the same disease. She died in
Scarborough on 28 May 1849.

Anne Bronte, who was born in 1820, was brought up in the Yorkshire village of Haworth where her father was curate. She was educated at home and, as a child, she invented with her sister Emily the imaginary world of Gondal, for which she wrote copious chronicles and poems.

She held two positions as governess, with the Inghams at Blake Hall and, from 1840-45, with the Robinson family at Thorp Green. As a religious lyric poet, Anne Brontë's hymns and lyrics rank with those of Cowper. Her first novel Agnes Grey (1847), published under the pseudonym Acton Bell, is in the tradition of fictional spiritual autobiography, written with conciseness, integrity and irony. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848) is a powerful feminist testament, attacking the marriage laws, double standards of sexual morality and the education of men and women.

Anne Bronte died at Scarborough in 1849. She was the youngest of the Brontë sisters, whose extraordinary gifts are only now receiving just appraisal.

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