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The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848)

by Anne Brontë

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,858111952 (3.95)3 / 410
  1. 80
    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (amerynth, Lapsus_Linguae)
    Lapsus_Linguae: Authors were sisters.
  2. 102
    Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (Catreona)
  3. 50
    The Brontës: Wild Genius on the Moors by Juliet Barker (amerynth)
    amerynth: Great biography of the Bronte sisters and their brother Branwell
  4. 20
    The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (susanbooks)
  5. 20
    Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (sturlington)
  6. 10
    The Victim of Prejudice by Mary Hays (holly_golightly)
  7. 00
    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (Lapsus_Linguae)
    Lapsus_Linguae: Both novels start with the arrival of a new person in small rural community... Anne Bronte's style is often compared to Austen's.
  8. 00
    Middlemarch by George Eliot (amanda4242)

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English (108)  French (2)  Hungarian (1)  All (111)
Showing 1-5 of 108 (next | show all)
There are plenty of long boring monologues that impeded the flow of the narrative. But the plot was great. I couldn't put this book down until the end. I also liked the different tones of narrative. Helen's narrative showing the abused wife, for me, was the strongest part of the work. This is my new favourite Bronte for now. ( )
  kasyapa | Oct 9, 2017 |
I'm going to try to be blunt about this: This is not my favorite classic. The Bronte sisters took the publishing world by storm in their time--almost unheard of for any woman of their time. I've read "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte, and I wasn't really in love with it. I was hoping to have more positive feelings towards "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall." Unfortunately, I did not fall in love with this book either. It's not cold, like most classics, but it is a bit darker, it's sadder, and more sullen that I'd like it to be.

A woman trapped in a loveless marriage is bound to be a sad book. She deserves so much and asks for so little in return and the husband is a fool and a moron to ignore her and neglect her for as long as he did. She finally leaves him. (And I secretly applaud her because I just don't like to see good wives stuck with jerks.) And when he gets sick and ends up on his deathbed, what happens? She goes back to him to nurse him. I thought she was crazy!!!

I'm satisfied with the ending, but I will admit that the writing style does nothing for me. I want to feel connected with the characters and feel drawn into their world. I just read the book and didn't feel much of anything. So while I admire the Bronte sisters for paving the way for other aspiring female writers, I wish their writing styles mirrored Jane Austen.

( )
  caslater83 | Sep 29, 2017 |
After my ambivalence regarding [b:Agnes Grey|298230|Agnes Grey|Anne Brontë|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1237155773s/298230.jpg|2222441], I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. I knew it would be more interesting because my professor had promised it would be and because old Charlotte wanted to shut it down so badly. I wasn't expecting it to be as brilliant as I found it. I read the first volume in a sitting. It was difficult for me to put this book down, and even as I was reading it I wanted more. I was surprised by how much was put down explicitly and all the places Anne went with this novel. It is, by far, my favourite Brontë work. Though not always keen on Helen, the characters around her are really compelling to read about, and I loved Gilbert's inconsistencies in his own self-portrayal so much. I've been reading some literature and reviews on it and they always focus on the marriages but there's more to it than that. ( )
  likecymbeline | Apr 1, 2017 |
Helen Graham, the enigmatic new tenant of Wildfell Hall, has a dark secret – but not the one circulating amongst local gossips. Gilbert Markham, who falls for the young “widow” will be shocked to realize her truth, which is revealed to him through her dairies. Mrs Graham has fled with her young son, Arthur, from a cruel marriage. Her writings tell the story of the physical and moral decay of her husband, his alcoholism, and their marital breakdown. In order to be spared the unbearable pain of watching her son be raised in his father’s image, Helen has done what was unimaginable to the Victorian woman and has fled both husband and home. Under an assumed name, she travels to a location that remains secret from all but her brother.

Not surprisingly, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – a hard-hitting critique of the position of Victorian women in society – shocked contemporary readers. Both critics and readers alike were stunned by its coarseness. Truthfully, though I am not a stranger to the plight of Victorian women, the novel still retains its power to shock, or in the very least disturb. A most memorable passage on a “confiscation of property”:

"My painting materials were laid together on the corner table, ready for to-morrow’s use, and only covered with a cloth. He soon spied them out, and putting down the candle, deliberately proceeded to cast them into the fire: palette, paints, bladders, pencils, brushes, varnish: I saw them all consumed: the palette-knives snapped in two, the oil and turpentine sent hissing and roaring up the chimney. He then rang the bell.

'Benson, take those things away,’ said he, pointing to the easel, canvas, and stretcher; ‘and tell the housemaid she may kindle the fire with them: your mistress won’t want them any more.'" (Ch 40)

But I do not wish to leave prospective readers with the impression that all is gloom and doom in The Tenant – such is not the case at all! Other central themes in the novel include the power of faith, forgiveness, repentance – and “the infectious theme of love.” (Ch 51) Highly recommended, particularly to lovers of Victorian classics. ( )
7 vote lit_chick | Mar 22, 2017 |
I loved this book. I did skip the sermon-like paragraphs, which might make me a bad Victorianist, but it was at times George Eliot-like didacticism. Anne wrote a better heroine than Emily or Charlotte, though my heart will always belong to Jane and Mr. Rochester. ( )
  Sareene | Oct 22, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 108 (next | show all)
"profane expressions, inconceivably coarse language, and revolting scenes and descriptions by which its pages are disfigured"
added by GYKM | editSharpe's London Magazine
"a morbid love for the coarse, not to say the brutal"
added by GYKM | editSpectator
"The reader of Acton Bell gains no enlarged view of mankind, giving a healthy action to his sympathies, but is confined to a narrow space of life, and held down, as it were, by main force, to witness the wolfish side of his nature literally and logically set forth."
added by GYKM | editNorth American Review

» Add other authors (42 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brontë, Anneprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Agutter, JennyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jennings, AlexNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
May, NadiaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rosengarten, HerbertEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stephens, IanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, Mrs. HumphryIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To J. Halford, Esq. Dear Halford, when we were together last...
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
A woman recounts her difficult marriage to an alcoholic and her battles with society's double standards when she leaves him, taking her son with her.
Helen Huntingdon flees a disastrous marriage and retreats to the desolate, half-ruined moorland mansion, Wildfell Hall. With her small son, Arthur, she adopts an assumed name and makes her living as a painter. The inconvenience of the house is outweighed by the fact that she and Arthur are removed from her drunken, degenerate husband.

Although the house is isolated, she seeks to avoid the attentions of the neighbors. However, it is difficult to do so. All too soon she becomes an object of speculation, then cruel gossip.

Narrated by her neighbor Gilbert Markham, and from the pages of her own diary, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall portrays Helen's struggle for independence in a time when law and society defined a married woman as her husband's property.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140434747, Paperback)

"I no longer love my husband – I HATE him! The word stares at me in the face like a guilty confession"

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 struggle for domestic independence and creative freedom.

In her introduction Steve 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:23 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

The mysterious new tenant of Wildfell Hall is a strong-minded woman who keeps her own counsel. Helen 'Graham' - exiled with her child to the desolate moorland mansion, adopting an assumed name and earning her living as a painter - has returned to Wildfell Hall in flight from a disastrous marriage. Narrated by her neighbour Gilbert Markham, and in the pages of her own diary, the novel portrays Helen's eloquent struggle for independence at a time when the law and society defined a married woman as her husband's property.… (more)

» see all 20 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140434747, 0141035633, 0141199350

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