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Agnes Grey (1847)

by Anne Brontë

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4,8671582,058 (3.58)3 / 530
Agnes Grey is the daughter of a minister who faces financial ruin. Agnes decides to take up one of the only professions available to Victorian gentlewomen and become a governess. Drawing on her own, similar experiences, Anne Bronte portrays the desperation of such a position. Agnes' livelihood depends on the whim of spoiled children, and she witnesses how wealth and status can degrade social values.… (more)
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» See also 530 mentions

English (149)  Spanish (4)  French (2)  Finnish (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (157)
Showing 1-5 of 149 (next | show all)
What a beautiful little story. Anne Bronte, like both her sisters, writes such interesting female characters. This is not a long or very complicated story, but it is one which touched my heart. ( )
  Cotswoldreader | May 20, 2023 |
A slow to boil and very engaging semi-autobiographical novel of working as a governess. ( )
  brakketh | May 18, 2023 |
I enjoyed this, but I loved TENANT AT WF HALL more, mostly because Agatha wasn't as assertive as I would have liked. What can you do as a governess in the early 1800s except be abused a lot, by both parents and students. As much as I love Jane Eyre, Anne's novel gave a truer picture of how difficult life was for a governess--without the crazy lady in the attic! ( )
  crabbyabbe | Apr 30, 2023 |
Agnes Grey had its highs and lows for me, but it definitely stood in contrast to the works of Anne Bronte's more fiery sisters. This is no Gothic or angst-y epic; in fact, at the end, it reads surprisingly more like a Jane Austen novel than a stereotypical Bronte.

Agnes Grey comes from a modest ecclesiastical family, but when money becomes a problem for them, she suggests that she should go out as a governess. What could be more delightful than "teaching the young idea how to shoot"?

A lot of things, as it turns out.

The people for whom she ends up working (and there are two sets of them in succession) are pretty awful in their different ways. Her students are intractable and their parents unreasonable. There is literally no one within the household who treats her with even a modicum of respect. It can be pretty hard to read. Especially the birds scene. Which I basically skipped.

The first experience she has reads more like a memoir--her general impressions are skimmed over, but there's not a lot of plot, other than "It was miserable."

Her second experience feels more like a novel, because she begins to relate everyday occurrences with more detail, and because it's at this juncture that her heart is touched, and you begin to feel more closely connected to her.

She meets and falls in love with the curate Mr. Weston. Her hopes and fears about her chances with him loom large for the remainder of the story, but all is nicely wrapped up in some sweet, domestic scenes that, like I said, would not be out of place in Austen.

This novel is evidently pretty autobiographical in some ways, as the Brontes had experience in the trials of governessing. I had the idea for the first part of the book that I may as well have been reading Anne's own journal, so strong a sense of personal experience did I get. This was probably heightened for me by the little bit of reading I've done recently about the Bronte sisters, and by watching "To Walk Invisible," a film about their literary careers. ( )
  Alishadt | Feb 25, 2023 |
This was just a fun, escape read. Not as deep as Jane Eyre, but a light, interesting journey into another time and place. ( )
  BeccaGr8t | Jan 6, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 149 (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, RagneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kipp, SabineNachwortsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kuusik, TerjeToimetaja.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lange, AnneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lopez, Menchu GutierrezTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marsden, HildaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
May, NadiaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, AnthonyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Redgrave, RichardCover artistsecondary 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.
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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Agnes Grey is the daughter of a minister who faces financial ruin. Agnes decides to take up one of the only professions available to Victorian gentlewomen and become a governess. Drawing on her own, similar experiences, Anne Bronte portrays the desperation of such a position. Agnes' livelihood depends on the whim of spoiled children, and she witnesses how wealth and status can degrade social values.

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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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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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