“Reading is my favourite occupation, when I have leisure for it and books to read.” – Anne Brontë, Agnes Grey (1847)
Anne Brontë was born as the youngest of six children. Her health was fragile, so she was mostly schooled at home. Her siblings and she started writing at a young age inventing the fantasy worlds of Gondal and Angria – the former being the creation of Emily and Anne. No prose has survived about Gondal, but 23 of Anne’s poems are set there and a few diary entries as well. Anne published a collection of poems with her two sisters and also wrote two novels: Agnes Grey (1847) and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848), that sold quite well, however not as well as her sisters’ novels Jane Eyre (1847) and Wuthering Heights (1847. Anne worked as a governess for two families and had issues with controlling the children at her first employment, which she processed in Agnes Grey where the governess life is described very detailedly. Anne Brontë’s second novel The Tenant of Wildfell Hall can be seen as one of the first feministic writings to be published. Her protagonist is a woman who leaves her abusive man and goes into hiding with her son making her living. Since women didn’t have the right to leave their husbands and taking their children with them was considered kidnapping, the book was heavily criticised but remains an Ode to freedom and women rights. Although Anne is probably the least well-known writer of the three sisters, her books and poems are beautifully written and it’s worth taking a look.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ANNE!