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Take Courage: Anne Bronte and the Art of Life Hardcover – 12 Jan 2017

4.6 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus; 01 edition (12 Jan. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1784740217
  • ISBN-13: 978-1784740214
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 3.3 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 127,420 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"I thought that everything had already been said about the Brontës. But Samantha Ellis has looked at the family from a new angle, and in doing so brought Anne out of the shadows and placed her front and centre amongst her splashier siblings. I was wowed and moved" (Tracy Chevalier)

"The Brontës have spawned innumerable spin-offs and imitations, and Ellis cites and analyses many of them, from Hollywood movies to graphic novels, from television adaptations to stand-up comedy and online magazines. She has obsessively pursued them into every cultural realm, and she has read all the biographies, both scholarly and popular... It takes some time for an ageing reader to settle into this startling frame of reference, but once adjusted, the rewards are considerable" (Margaret Drabble Times Literary Supplement)

"This is a very personal book about what the short life of Anne Bronte can tell us about wringing every drop out of existence… A great pleasure to read and a more fitting tribute to Anne than her gravestone in Scarborough." (Daisy Goodwin The Times)

"Her personal approach is the source of both the book's immense charm and also its considerable power... ultimately the book is a deeply moving depiction of how reading and writing allows us to forge an emotional and intellectual connection with someone who died over a century before we were born... brilliant" (Irish Times)

"Take Courage is as much an account of Ellis’s own discovery of Anne's work as it is that of her subject’s life, and herein lies the book's unique appeal. Ellis – who is, it should be noted, as intelligent and perceptive a reader as she is an evocative storyteller – truly writes from the heart, which isn’t to say she hasn’t done her research... a deeply sympathetic and interesting re-evaluation of a woman ahead of her time who has much to teach us all about living courageously" (Lucy Scholes Independent)

"A lively, intelligent tribute to the forgotten Bronte sister, Anne… Her indignation is salutary" (Lucy Hughes-Hallet Observer)

"A fascinating and compelling read... what Ellis does extraordinarily well is to convey the emotion of her own deeply personal voyage of discovery about Anne and herself... [makes] you long to rush off and reread Anne's novels and poetry: what more could you ask for?" (Juliet Barker Mail on Sunday)

"Anne is the Cinderella of the Bronte sisters... Anne was, in fact, the secret firebrand of the family... The dominance of the two elder sisters means that there remains a need to bring her out of the shadows. In Take Courage, Samantha Ellis has risen to the challenge... Take Courage is almost as much about Ellis's vicarious relationship with her subject as it as about Anne Bronte. If scholarly footnotes are your thing, it isn't for you. But if you want to share in a biographer's emotional journey, you will find insights aplenty. The account of Anne's death from TB at the age of 29 is truly moving" (Lucasta Miller Sunday Times)

"A lovely and imaginative investigation into a serious and searching woman whose last words were "take courage". It's inspiring stuff" (Eithne Farry Sunday Express)

"It really feels as if Anne Brontë is finally having her moment in the sun... Often overlooked due to the higher profile of sisters Jane and Emily and even her wastrel brother, Branwell, in Take Courage, Samantha Ellis skilfully reclaims Anne as a truly modern, feminist writer whose work is just as relevant today" (Red)

"Ellis is at her best when she is furious and direct about the tragedy of Anne’s short life and the ways she has been dismissed as sweet, virtuous and dull... Most compellingly, she reflects on how Anne’s pragmatic attitude to Branwell’s abusive behaviour made Tenant more mature and realistic than any of her sisters’ works... Take Courage is a timely reappraisal ― and if Ellis sends readers back to Anne Brontë, she’ll have performed a valuable service" (Johannah Thomas-Carr Evening Standard)

"Wonderful... Ellis lives and breathes Anne's life... the feeling of being a Bronte becomes movie-screen vivid... If the experience of reading Anne's poems feels for Ellis "like being let in on secrets", that feeling is mirrored for the reader of Ellis's illuminating book" (Juliet Nicolson Spectator)

"A spirited attempt to bring Anne Bronte out from under her sisters’ shadow." (Sunday Times)

"For Ellis, the general ignorance of Anne Bronte's works is a source not so much of regret as near fury ... Ellis turned to Anne's two novels. To her surprise she found them more brave and radical than anything her sisters ever wrote. Anne has been in her sisters' shadows for too long and the time has come to give 'the other Bronte' her proper due" (James Walton Daily Mail)

"Ellis's bracing look at Anne forces a radical rethink of the younger sister... Inspired" (Psychologies)

"Ellis [is] an engaging, perceptive and sympathetic writer […] and her personal approach is the source of both the book’s immense charm and also its considerable power." (Anna Carey Irish Times)

"A robust, emotionally charged defence of the writer, whose death at 29 left us with a handful of poems and two novels ... a woman misunderstood by historians and obscured by her sisters, despite a mind blindingly sharp and progressive" (Irish Examiner)

"This is a poignant and often surprising journey into the life and work of a woman who emerges as a strongly feminist writer well ahead of her time and who has much to teach us today about how to find our way in the world." (UK Press Syndication)

"Take Courage is Samantha’s personal, poignant and surprising journey into the life and work of a woman sidelined by history. A brave, strongly feminist writer well ahead of her time ― and her more celebrated siblings ― and who has much to teach us today about how to find our way in the world… The Bronte’s are a fascinating family and this is a really interesting book which really helps to bring light to Anne Bronte and her work… This book goes a great way to providing a more balanced view of Anne, what she thought, how she lived as well as gives great insight into her poems and novels. I can’t wait to re-read her novels, and maybe even try some of her poems too" (Gingerbread House)

Book Description

Anne Brontë -- literary wallflower or radical heroine? Samantha Ellis stomps off to Haworth to find out

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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was never enthusiastic about the Brontës. 'Jane Eyre' seemed mawkish, 'Wuthering Heights' was just wild, and Anne was mentioned only as an also-ran. This book has shown the reverse - that Anne was the most interesting sister, with a passionate but realistic view of society and the position of Victorian wives. I turned to 'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall' and discovered a powerful and beautifully constructed novel. The neglect of Anne owes a great deal to Charlotte, who belittled her youngest sister and obstructed the re-issue of 'The Tenant'. Ellis's book also pays tribute to Patrick Brontë (Paddy Prunty), who progressed from an Irish mud hut to a Cambridge degree and became a champion of the poor and oppressed. I don't believe there is such a thing as a book you 'can't put down', but this came near it and I read it in a day.
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It is wonderful to have Anne for a change as the central figure in the story of the Brontes and not just a minor character best known for dying so tragically young. Wonderful too to see what a remarkable man Patrick Bronte was, opening schools for the poor including evening classes for children who had to work, railing against the Poor Laws and capital punishment, encouraging his gifted daughters to read widely. The writer brings her subject to life very vividly. So it is a huge pity she keeps interrupting the narrative with references to herself and her own life. The interruptions are extremely irritating which is why I only give this well researched book three stars.
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This is by far the most enjoyable and informative book I have read on the Bronte family. Samantha Ellis is obviously very well read. She has examined the works of the Bronte sisters in great detail and Anne Bronte in particular. I decided to download a copy of this book after reading Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I am pleased that someone is in Anne Brontes' corner and is helping to bring her to the attention of the public at large. She is often called the ' Other Bronte Sister' as though her work was not as important as her sister Charlotte and Emily. This book has helped dispel this incorrect assumption. I think she had a lot to say on the issues of her day including women's loss of self when they became a chattel of their husbands. Also the plight of a governess who was treated very badly by the family's that employed them. Anne has grown in my estimation and is fast becoming my favourite Bronte sister. I recommend this book to anyone who, like me has an interest in the Brontes but knew very little about the third sister.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book. As well as being a superb biography with literary analysis of Anne Brontë 's work, it is set out as a quasi self help book hence the subtitle 'and the Art of Life'. With a modern sense of humour but without detracting from the serious aim of the book, the author compares her own life with that of the least known Brontë sister. Reading this book led me to explore Brontë country again, and for the third time, revealing all kinds of delights: an historical bed and breakfast with direct links to the Brontë family, a ruined house, Gothic pubs and Yorkshire warmth and friendliness. It also led me to alter my impression of Anne in relation to her siblings and her marvellous novels, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Agnes Grey with which I was already familiar. Highly recommended to all Brontë fans.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read a number of Bronte biographies but this has to be the most enjoyable read. It is wonderfully researched and imaginatively and passionately written. I have a new regard for Anne Bronte and look forward to more from Samantha Ellis (also loved her 'How to be a Heroine'.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Enjoyed the book. Interesting to have a view on Anne Bronte - she is often so seriously overlooked. And such a positive opinion. Some material here unknown to me. The format of the book is interesting and serves its puurpose well; the personal Samantha Ellis story is superfluous and at times irritating but it does not overshadow the principal story.
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Bought this as a present. The recipient has read it already and thinks it is very good
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By O on 26 Feb. 2017
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wonderful book. Beautifully written. You will enjoy it whether you are a Bronte fan or not.
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