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The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Penguin Popular Classics) Paperback – 31 Mar 1994


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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (31 Mar. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140620435
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140620436
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 1.4 x 18.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (208 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 845,704 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"I will always order Lee A. Talley's Broadview edition of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, which I teach nearly every year. The historical and scholarly contexts are beautifully summarized. This is an eminently useful edition. Well done again, Broadview!"--Deborah Denenholz Morse --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

Completing the Clarendon Edition of the Brontës --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Huggy on 13 Feb. 2007
Format: Paperback
Don't let my title fool you. What I mean is, it is a travesty Anne Bronte does not have the same literary fame as her sisters, Charlotte and Emily. Indeed both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights are classics but so is The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and should be up there among them.

The reason this novel is not placed on the same pedestal as the other two is because of the subject matter. In the early 19th century a woman's job as a wife was to pander to her husband's every need. If he was a drunk or an abuser so be it, all she should do is make the most of it. Anne had very different ideas, ideas which are more late 20th century than early 19th century. To leave your husband was in those times unthinkable. To write about alcohol abuse was even more of a taboo. In the preface to Wuthering Heights/Agnes Grey Charlotte wrote that the subject matter in this book was unsuitable and a mistake. Because Charlotte did not think much of it she did not push for its acceptance in the mainstream after Anne's very early death. That was a mistake. There are also rumours Charlotte destroyed a second manuscript of Emily's. Another mistake if it is true.

Personally I think it is better written and formulated than Jane Eyre. It's most certainly better written than Wuthering Heights. I think Anne Bronte should be elevated to the heights (no pun intended) of Charlotte, Emily, Jane Austen et al. Read this and you will not be disappointed.
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47 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Phillip Coppard on 10 Mar. 2002
Format: Paperback
Anne Brontë seems to have been overshadowed by her two sisters. Hardly surprising, but this is a great work in itself and should not be ignored. Her sister Charlotte did not like it much, she said it was unworthy of publication - but of course, she said the same about Jane Austen's works (whose style is similar to Anne's).
It traces, with remarkable frankness, the collapse of a woman's marriage to an abusive husband (who is loosely based on Brontë's brother Branwell), and her escape from him. The characters have odd and endearing foibles, and one never loses interest as the book progresses.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Bookworm168 on 20 Dec. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am a great fan of Charlotte Bronte and decided I should give her sister Anne a go, we don't hear much about her. Well, well, why is this book not rated more highly more often? It's not a tale for the faint hearted, as it recounts an abusive marriage. However, it's not all doom and gloom as there's also a sweet romance to follow.

Anne Bronte must have taken inspiration from experience of her brother's alcoholism and the effect it had on those around him and I would also guess she had witnessed domestic abuse, as it follows a fairly classic pattern. Bear in mind she wouldn't have had access to the kind of media generated factual and fictional accounts of such relationships that we have now. Perhaps she saw something when she was a governess.

This was much better than I was expecting it to be. There's so much emphasis on Charlotte and Emily Bronte that I think Anne has been shamefully over-shaddowed. She holds her own along side her sisters with this book and she raises many issues that would have been quite unspeakable in their time.

Even if you're not a Bronte fan, this is well worth a read.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Alun Williams VINE VOICE on 14 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback
I avoided reading any books by the Brontë sisters for many years, after failing to finish Villette, and then being put off further by Charlotte Brontë's well-known remarks about Jane Austen. After coming across an old copy of Jane Eyre I decided it was time to give the sisters another chance. I quite enjoyed Jane Eyre; Wuthering Heights, which I read next, I liked less. Then I turned to Anne, not expecting much more than a paler version of her sisters' works.

Instead I find myself reading one of the most powerful English 19th century novels there can be, reminiscent of Dickens in its exposure of the hypocrisies and wrongs of society, but with shock and anger against these expressed not by the author, but aroused in the reader by Anne's unsparing descriptions of events.

"The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" is the story of a mysterious woman, Helen Graham, apparently a young widow with a child, and the development, after initial suspicion on her part, of friendship and finally love for a local farmer named Gilbert Markham. But, much more darkly, it is the story of a woman who learns the real nature of her adulterous husband, as he gradually descends into neglect and then abuse (of both her and their child), and is ravaged by alcoholism.

Few men of the time would have dared to write so frankly on such topics, and for a woman to have done so, especially one of Anne's background, is verging on the heroic, and must be counted a remarkable achievement.

At times the heroine, Helen, may strike some readers as pious or priggish - she reminded me of Fanny Price in Mansfield Park - and the author's firmly expressed Christian beliefs may also put some off. But nobody can fail to admire Helen's courage, endurance, and determination to protect her son.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Dis Hammerhand on 18 Mar. 2008
Format: Hardcover
I've seen several reviewers say that Anne Bronte's Tenant of Wildfell hall would never reach the status of the her sister's most famous works. I beg to differ. Her novel was simply written before its time.

The tale is about more than the disintegration of a marriage or about alcoholism. It's a startling portrayal of a man exclusively devoted to his own pleasure and amusement. Such people are often fun to be around and make the life of the party. Ultimately, they cannot be depended upon and make terrible spouses and parents as Helen discovered.

There was one scene I found particularly insightful. It is near the beginning when Helen is at a social gathering at Gilbert Markham's. When the company hears her statement that she wanted her son to hate drinking, they immediately go into a defence of drinking, completely unaware of what she had fled from. Their arguments sounded almost sinister to me since I already knew from reading the dustwrapper that her husband was an alcoholic.

The Collector's Library edition is the best one out there. Small and schleppable like a paperback but sturdy and beautifully made.

A very worthy and well-crafted tale from Anne Bronte. I will read it again.
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