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Agnes Grey (1847)

by Anne Brontë

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4,6211501,981 (3.58)3 / 506
A novel set in Victorian England based on the author's experiences, describing the desperate position of unmarried, educated women driven to take up the only "respectable" career open to them: that of a governess. Struggling with the monstrous Bloomfield children, then disdained in the superior Murray household, Agnes tells a story that is a compelling inside view of Victorian chauvinism and ruthless materialism.… (more)
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English (142)  Spanish (4)  French (2)  Finnish (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (150)
Showing 1-5 of 142 (next | show all)
Read for TBR takedown, 4/4/22. This is the debut novel of Anne Bronte writing under the name Acton Bell. The story is of the governess who is trying to help her family out by working. She engages with these two different jobs which involves spoiled children. The father is ill, the girls of the family do not have good prospects that they'll be able to find marriages because of their poverty. The governess meets various guys while working for the last family of young ladies who are working on marriages. The author worked as a governess and may be based on her own experiences. The book is a classic and will appeal to readers who enjoy reading classics. Agnes Grey is a strong woman and not a character that is "dependent" on males in anyway. Rating 3.5 ( )
  Kristelh | Apr 4, 2022 |
I loved this simple and relatively short classic about a young woman who becomes a governess. It's based on Brontë's own experiences as a governess. Horrendous children abound and she is rather abused but she has to earn her keep. She does eventually find some happiness though and it's all quite lovely. My second book of 2018 #backtotheclassics ( )
  RealLifeReading | Mar 11, 2022 |
At the start, I was reminded of my recent read of North and South but Agnes is a different kind of character than Margaret. She doesn't really grow and evolve but she is a narrator of the horrible children and teens she is meant to teach and mostly does ineffective crowd control. The unremitting cruelty of the first set of children, whom I hated so much I have refused to remember their names, was too much and I did end up skipping a page or two but the studied cruelty of Rosalie Murray is a brilliant portrayal. I did expect things to go far worse, I think it could have been a slightly longer novel and develop the end a bit more but I am glad I stuck with it past the torture children.
  amyem58 | Feb 11, 2022 |
Couldn't do much with this. Flat characters, uninvolving plot (as far as I was able to make it, that is) ... and once animal cruelty set in with a vengeance I was out of there. ( )
  tungsten_peerts | Feb 9, 2022 |
The strongly autobiographical narrative concerns the travails of a rector’s daughter in her service as governess, first to the unruly Bloomfield children and then to the callous Murrays. Her sole consolations in an otherwise dreary and constricted life are the natural environment and her blossoming relationship with Weston, the local curate, whom she eventually marries. ( )
  Marcos_Augusto | Jan 19, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 142 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brontë, Anneprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Arx, Elisabeth vonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brockway, HarryIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Desai, AnitaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Douglas, HazelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Flosnik, AnneNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fox, EmiliaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goreau, AngelineEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Inglesfield, RobertEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaarma, JüriIllustreerija,secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kepler, RagneTÕlkija.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kipp, SabineNachwortsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kuusik, TerjeToimetaja.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lange, AnneTÕlkija.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lopez, Menchu GutierrezTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marsden, HildaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
May, NadiaReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, AnthonyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ruohtula, KaarinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schwarzbach, FredIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shuttleworth, SallyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, AnneIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Suess, Barbara A.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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All true histories contain instruction; though, in some, the treasure may be hard to find, and when found, so trivial in quantity that the dry, shrivelled kernel scarcely compensates for the trouble of cracking the nut.
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It is foolish to wish for beauty. Sensible people never either desire it for themselves or care about it in others. If the mind be but well cultivated, and the heart well disposed, no one ever cares for the exterior.
Reading is my favourite occupation, when I have leisure for it and books to read.
I was sorry for her; I was amazed, disgusted at her heartless vanity; I wondered why so much beauty should be given to those who made so bad a use of it, and denied to some who would make it a benefit to both themselves and others. But, God knows best, I concluded. There are, I suppose, some men as vain, as selfish, and as heartless as she is, and, perhaps, such women may be useful to punish them
"What a fool you must be," said my head to my heart, or my sterner to my softer self.
'No, thank you, I don't mind the rain,' I said.I always lacked common sense when taken by surprise.
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A novel set in Victorian England based on the author's experiences, describing the desperate position of unmarried, educated women driven to take up the only "respectable" career open to them: that of a governess. Struggling with the monstrous Bloomfield children, then disdained in the superior Murray household, Agnes tells a story that is a compelling inside view of Victorian chauvinism and ruthless materialism.

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Agnes Grey is forced by the poverty ensuing on her father's death to seek work as a governess, the only employment available to middle-class young women of the time. Her humiliating first position lasts only six months, but she is soon employed by the Murray family. Tormented by the coquettish Rosalie and the student tomboy Matilda, she finds her position increasingly lonely and difficult. Only Mr Weston, the poor, plain curate shows any kindness, and Rosalie seems bent on his conquest. Anne Bronte knew only too well what is was to be a governess - "your efforts baffled and set at nought by those beneath you, and unjustly censured by those above". With Agnes Grey she created an impassioned account of a role which stripped so many Victorian women of their dignity. And, reinforcing her insistence on a woman's right to personal freedom, vividly presents the natural landscape as a mirror to her heroine's inner life.
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