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Shirley (Penguin Classics) by Charlotte…

Shirley (Penguin Classics) (original 1849; edition 2006)

by Charlotte Bronte, Jessica Cox (Editor), Lucasta Miller (Introduction)

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2,979412,749 (3.67)2 / 196
Title:Shirley (Penguin Classics)
Authors:Charlotte Bronte
Other authors:Jessica Cox (Editor), Lucasta Miller (Introduction)
Info:Penguin Classics (2006), Paperback, 624 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Shirley by Charlotte Brontë (Author) (1849)

  1. 10
    Miss Miles: or, A Tale of Yorkshire Life 60 Years Ago by Mary Taylor (CurrerBell)
    CurrerBell: Miss Miles, published in 1890 and centered on "Brontë country" in Yorkshire in the 1830s, was authored by Mary Taylor, who along with Ellen Nussey was one of Charlotte Brontë's two best friends from boarding-school days. It addresses the "women's issue" with particular emphasis on Taylor's belief that women had a moral obligation to be self-supporting and not to rely on men. Taylor's "Radical Dissenter" response to the "Tory Anglicanism" of Shirley.… (more)
  2. 10
    Adam Bede by George Eliot (gypsysmom)
  3. 10
    Sybil, or The Two Nations by Benjamin Disraeli (MissWoodhouse1816)

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English (38)  German (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (41)
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
Slow read. At first it is a social commentary about the changes brought on by new technology. The mill owner who needs to innovate to stay in business vs. the workers who will lose there jobs.

Shirley arrives and it is about the position of women.

Then at the end it is a love story. ( )
  nx74defiant | Jul 8, 2018 |
Probably a revolutionary novel at print, but a rather long, slow read in the 21st century. Shirley, the character, doesn’t make an appearance until a quarter way in. Shirley is an heiress who makes friends with Caroline a self-effacing young woman in love with her mill-owning but near-bankrupt (because of the Napoleonic war) cousin.

Bronte’s novel touches on war, politics, trade, unemployment through mechanisation, & the role of women struggling in a patriarchal society. All fascinating stuff, but this modern reader longed for a tighter structure & a stricter editor to speed the pace & lose some of its 700 sometimes indulgent pages. ( )
  LARA335 | Jun 29, 2018 |
I did not like Shirley.

That could be my entire review. After reading a novel that was at least 200 pages too long, it probably should be. Because it is late and I am not feeling too charitable towards Charlotte Bronte I will make this brief.

There were many things I disliked about Shirley (★★) but the one thing that I did like was the character of Shirley. Where Shirley was lively and engaging, the other characters were dull, overwrought and over described. I may be in the minority but I think it is a huge problem if the eponymous character does not show up in your story until page 187. Once she did show up she gave everything a much needed jolt of life, including this reader. Honestly, I can’t believe I made it to page 187. I was very close many times to abandoning the book. I didn’t but I can’t say that I’m glad I didn’t.

After reading the brilliance of Anne Bronte’ masterpiece, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Shirley read like an author trying too hard. I should give Charlotte some slack since she lost her three siblings while writing Shirley (including Anne, *sniff*) but I cannot. Especially after learning that Charlotte repressed Anne’s work after she died. It infuriates me that Charlotte and Emily are well-know two hundred years later while Anne, who had much more to say and said it much better, was silenced. I admit I am biased against Charlotte because of it. I cannot help it.

Even if I did not have that prejudice I would not like Shirley. The language was pedantic, the characters annoying and the storyline meandered around searching for a social cause to champion. Unlike Bronte’s contemporary, Elizabeth Gaskell, who wrote brilliant novels about industrialization and the subsequent social struggles, it seems obvious that Bronte had no real experience or knowledge of the lower classes, only what she read in the newspaper. Even without first hand knowledge a writer of Charlotte Bronte’s caliber (at least the caliber she thought she was) should have been able to make her point eloquently. If she had a social point to make, I missed it. Or maybe after slogging through 600 pages I didn’t care. ( )
  MelissaLenhardt | Mar 11, 2018 |
Five reasons why I liked "Shirley":

Free-spirited Shirley: Miss Keeldar is a great heroine. Charlotte Brontë have enriched Shirley with great wealth, she’s a land owner and independent, which means she can speak against the corrupt curates, help the mill owner - start a social reform program for the poor - and in one of the best scenes of the novel go against her uncle when he thinks he has found the best match for her. Just brilliant.

Luddites uprising: The novels first chapters takes us right into the historical setting (1811-12) in Yorkshire during the Napoleonic Wars where the poor workers try to attack and kill the mill owner, Robert Moore, because he’s replacing workers with new industrialised equipment. A very interesting conflict that’s the background for the two romantic plots.

Women’s role in society: The novel have several interesting discussions on women’s emancipation - We empathize with Caroline Helstone and the constraints society puts on her - she has limited possibilities in life without parents and dependent on a fickle uncle - and marriage seems out of reach. Shirley on the other hand embraces her economic and social independence which defies conventions and expectations.

Enduring friendship: The deepening and beautiful friendship between Caroline and Shirley is a great pleasure to follow. They have altogether different temperaments and characters - yet support and help each other throughout the novel.

“The Valley of the Shadow of Death” Headline for this chapter with Caroline on her deathbed. I can still remember walking and listening to it with both fascination and trembling - and it reveals one of Charlotte Brontë's famous plot twists. It’s haunting with gothic elements - and no doubt influenced by her own life experience. Three of Charlotte Brontë’s siblings died during the writing of this novel (all wihtin nine months). First her alcoholic brother, Bramwell, and then shortly after each other, Emily and Anne. ( )
3 vote ctpress | Jan 20, 2017 |
Started reading this book, but I must admit that it is not the right book for me at this point in time.
I like the language, but I can't concentrate on the very sliwly developing story. The many characters that have already given presence I can hardly tell apart.
I find myself making excuses not to go on in this book, not wanting to read on.

For now I quit reading. Maybe at another time I'll try again. Maybe I find a translation, that would be great too.
  BoekenTrol71 | Nov 18, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (40 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brontë, CharlotteAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dei, Fedorasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Phipps, HowardIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, Mrs. HumphryIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Of late years, an abundant shower of curates has fallen upon the north of England: they lie very thick on the hills; every parish has one or more of them; they are young enough to be very active, and ought to be doing a great deal of good.
Shirley was Charlotte Bronte's watershed. (Introduction)
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Book description
Haiku summary
Shirley: "Pantheress"!
A woman in a man's world
Boldly makes her way

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0141439866, Paperback)

Set during the Napoleonic wars at a time of national economic struggles, Shirley is an unsentimental yet passionate depiction of conflict among classes, sexes, and generations. Struggling manufacturer Robert Moore considers marriage to the wealthy and independent Shirley Keeldar, yet his heart lies with his cousin Caroline. Shirley, meanwhile, is in love with Robert’s brother, an impoverished tutor. As industrial unrest builds to a potentially fatal pitch, can the four be reconciled?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:36 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

Set in Yorkshire during the period of the Napoleonic Wars, this novel articulates the social realities of economic hardship, the Luddite riots, dissatisfaction with the government and an inadequate Church.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 18 descriptions

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Average: (3.67)
1 6
1.5 1
2 34
2.5 10
3 102
3.5 32
4 146
4.5 15
5 76

Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141439866, 0141199539

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