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Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë
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Agnes Grey (1847)

by Anne Brontë

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,1331301,965 (3.58)3 / 467
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 (123)  Spanish (3)  French (2)  Finnish (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (130)
Showing 1-5 of 123 (next | show all)
I quite enjoyed this - and I really admire the way Agnes manages to keep her cool while being faced with all these stupid and horrible people. ( )
  j_tuffi | May 30, 2020 |
"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 shriveled kernel scarcely compensates for the trouble of cracking the nut."

Agnes Grey, begins with this great opening line.

From Agnes' difficulties of being a governess to horrid kids, to observing class differences, to discussing reading and books with the man she falls in love with — this was a very good although somewhat quiet-feeling novel.

All covered in only about 200 pages, but still satisfying. Read for #1001Books, Agnes Grey was better than I expected (it had been TBR for far too long). It's unfortunate that Anne Bronte didn't live long enough to produce more works -- so much lost potential. ( )
  ValerieAndBooks | May 16, 2020 |
Even though not a whole lot happens, I quite enjoyed this short novel, as well as the background material included in the edition I read. This is the start of a bit of a Brontë binge, because, well, what better to do during this oddest of springs? ( )
  JBD1 | Apr 26, 2020 |
Agnes Grey draws on Anne Brontë's experiences as a governess. Anne wanted to write a novel that showed the many difficulties, indignities, and discriminations a governess faces while carrying her duties - with the purpose of reform in mind. The novel is also something of a study of human behaviour and society, as well as relationships. The families who Agnes works for make "The Addams Family" look tame and perfectly normal. The plot is straight forward and the writing not too long-winded and verbose. The prose is acutally quite beautiful. This book comes across as quiet and peaceful without melodrama, but it still somehow draws the reader in. Also, unlike many novels written in this time period, Agnes does not wait around for a man to marry her and "save" her. She is capable of being independant and making her own decisions.

This Penguin Classics edition has additional material including a chronology, an introduction (which deals with Brontë family dynamics and reviewer criticism), a bibliographical notice of Ellis and Acton Bell, notes and further reading. ( )
  ElentarriLT | Mar 24, 2020 |
This was my fifty-first book of the year and the first that was on my to-read read list for 2013. I am not sure if its that old high school feeling of reading something that is a classic that initially makes me hesitate to read something called "a classic." All three Bronte sisters are on my list for this year.

Agnes Grey's life as a governess reminded me of my student teaching days in college. Unlike Agnes, I had enough and decided that graduate school was a better choice than teaching. Too many Bloomfield children and parents changed my mind. Children are spoiled today as they were then and parents equally unbelieving of any criticism.

Several themes in the book stand out. The obvious is the role of religion or belief and the rewards for the faithful. The role of women in society and even female children is obvious. Perhaps the most interesting theme is the treatment of animals and Agnes view and actions against cruelty to animals. Compassion for animals was not what I was expecting from Victorian writer.

The writing is clear and straightforward and the story flows nearly flawlessly. The characters seem real and Agnes is a reader. A very worthwhile read. ( )
  evil_cyclist | Mar 16, 2020 |
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brontë, Anneprimary authorall 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.
Quotations
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 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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