'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall' is a powerful and sometimes violent novel of expectation, love, oppression, sin, religion and betrayal. It portrays the disintegration of the marriage of Helen Huntingdon, the mysterious 'tenant' of the title, and her dissolute, alcoholic husband. Defying convention, Helen leaves her husband to protect their young son from his father's influence, and earns her own living as an artist. Whilst in hiding at Wildfell Hall, she encounters Gilbert Markham, who falls in love with her.
On its first publication in 1848, Anne Bronte's second novel was criticised for being 'coarse' and 'brutal'. 'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall' challenges the social conventions of the early nineteenth century in a strong defence of women's rights in the face of psychological abuse from their husbands.
Anne Bronte's style is bold, naturalistic and passionate, and this novel, which her sister Charlotte considered 'an entire mistake', has earned Anne a position in English literature in her own right, not just as the youngest member of the Bronte family.
This newly reset text is taken from a copy of the 1848 second edition in the Library of the Bronte Parsonage Museum and has been edited to correct known errors in that edition. AUTHOR: Anne Bronte (1820-1849), the sister of Charlotte and Emily, was the youngest of six children and is best known for her novels 'Agnes Grey' and 'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall'.
Review by John Purcell
If we award Charlotte Bronte the medal for sobriety, and Emily Bronte the medal for its opposite, Anne Bronte must be awarded the medal for seeing things as they are.
Anne's novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, though probably the least read of the three notable Bronte novels, is actually the most relevant to us today.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is not wildly romantic or darkly mysterious, it is a realistic tale of love gone wrong. Escaping an abusive relationship, a woman seeks refuge in an unfamiliar place and tries to rebuild her life. This is a tough subject in any era, and Anne Bronte shocked her sister Charlotte with her honest, unflinching depiction of the woman's plight. It still has the power to shock today.
Written in a style which has one foot in the nineteenth century and one in the twenty-first, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is an accessible classic which is at once fast-moving and engrossing, wise and relatable - a novel which, though it pulls no punches, should be celebrated as the equal of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.
Series: Wordsworth Classics
Number Of Pages: 432
Published: 6th September 1995
Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.7
Weight (kg): 0.27
Edition Type: New edition