About the Author
English writer, sister of Charlotte Brontë and Emily Brontë. Anne Brontë is best-known of her Agnes Grey (1847) and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848), which are generally considered more conservative novels than her sisters. The close-knit Bronte family have inspired many studies, in which Charlotte, the oldest child, is characterized as the most ambitious writer, and Emily the greatest genius.
Anne Brontë was born in Thornton, Yorkshire. She was the youngest of six children of Patrick and Maria Brontë, and educated largely at home. After the death of her mother in 1821, and two other children, Maria (d. 1825) and Elizabeth (d. 1825), Anne was left with her sisters and brother to the care of their father. Other members of the family were Elizabeth Branwell, a Calvinist aunt, and the family servant, Tabitha Aycroyd, who knew many folk-tales. The girls most effective education was at the Haworth parsonage, in which Mr. Brontë settled the year before his wife's death. They read the Bible, Homer, Virgil, Shakespeare, Milton, Byron, Scott, and many others, and examined articles from Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Fraser's Magazine, and The Edinburgh Review. Inspired by a box of 12 wooden soldiers, the children wove tales and legends associated with remote Africa. With these tales the children broke the monotonous daily routines, like they later poured their joys and disappointment in their novels. Emily and Anne created their own Gondal saga, and Charlotte and Branwell recorded their stories in minute notebooks.
In 1839 Anne worked for a short period as a governess to the Inghams at Blake Hall and later in same position to the Robinsons at Thorpe Green Hall from 1841 to 1845. Her brother Branwell joined her there as a tutor in 1843. He fell unfortunately in love for Mrs Robinson and Anne had to leave the work.
In 1846 Anne Brontë published with her sisters a collection of poems, Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. Her first novel, Agnes Grey, a story about the life of a governess, appeared in 1847. It was based on Anne's recollections of her experience with the childrenof the Ingham family and the Robinson family. The novel did not gain similar success as Emily's Wuthering Heights and Charlotte's Jane Eyre. Her second novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, was published in 1848 in three volumes and sold well. It portrays in Arthur Huntingdon a violent drunkard clearly to some extent drawn from Branwell, who died in September 1848. In the story the young and beautiful Helen Graham has taken a refuge at Wildfell Hall from her husband Huntingdon. Gilbert Markham, a local farmer, falls in love with her. When Helen's husband dies, the way is clear for Gilbert to marry her.
The frank depiction of Huntingdon's alcoholism and Helen's struggle to free herself was considered by some critics inappropriate subjects for a woman. Anne Brontë fell ill with tuberculosis after the appearance of the book. She died on the following May in 1849 at Scarborough, where she was buried.
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