200 Years of Anne Bronte

It’s another Folio Friday here at Roof Beam Reader! I’m thrilled to share that, today, The Folio Society is celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Anne Bronte. How could I resist being a part of the celebration?

Unfortunately, I’ve only read one work from Anne Bronte, youngest of the Bronte sisters, to date. Agnes Grey. I enjoyed it very much, but I’ve been told by many readers that their favorite, and Anne’s best work, is The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. For that reason, I’ve had the book on almost any “challenge” list I’ve ever created, and of course it is listed on my Classics Club challenge list. Still, for whatever reason, it sits on the back burner. I’m excited, then, to have my very own copy of this incredibly beautiful new edition of Tenant of Wildfell Hall! The Folio Society, as usual, does this great author justice.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

  • Introduced by Tracy Chevalier
  • Illustrated by Valentina Catto

“Anne’s book was far more radical than anything her more famous sisters ever wrote’.” –The Times

About the Book: Frank, radical, and unashamedly feminist, Anne Brontë’s ground-breaking masterpiece The Tenant of Wildfell Hall sent shockwaves through Victorian England and remains strikingly modern today. This beautiful new edition of Brontë’s masterful novel is published by The Folio Society to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the author’s birth.

The story follows the mysterious and beautiful Helen Graham, who has recently moved into Wildfell Hall. Curious speculation turns into nasty rumors as the town deliberates on who she is, where she has come from, and what has happened to her husband…

About this Edition: Critically received on publication, the novel was withdrawn for years after Anne’s death, and later widely published with major editorial omissions. For this stunning anniversary edition, we returned to the first printing and have included Anne’s heartfelt preface in which she defends her work. Also included is a new introduction exclusive to this edition by novelist Tracy Chevalier, who examines the reason behind the novel’s initial negative reception: “Wildfell Hall is a different, wilder beast – perhaps too wild for its time.”

Beautifully bound, and full of captivating illustrations by Valentina Catto, this edition’s binding and artwork blends classic artistic techniques with a contemporary edge, perfectly marrying itself to Brontë’s radical voice. Published in series with her sisters’ most accomplished novels, Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, this new edition recognizes Anne’s literary achievements as equal to those of her sisters, and completes the trio of their most celebrated works.

About the Publisher: For 70 years, The Folio Society has been publishing beautiful illustrated editions of the world’s greatest books. It believes that the literary content of a book should be matched by its physical form. With specially researched images or newly commissioned illustrations, many of its editions are further enhanced with introductions written by leading figures in their fields: novelists, journalists, academics, scientists and artists. Exceptional in content and craftsmanship, and maintaining the very highest standards of fine book production, Folio Society editions last for generations.

Book copy and all images are courtesy of The Folio Society. Feel free to visit their NEWS AND BLOGS page for more information. In case you missed them, take a look at my Folio Friday features for other Folio Society books.

12 Comments on “200 Years of Anne Bronte

  1. I bought a copy of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall at the gift shop connected to the Bronte house in Haworth a few years ago, and started reading it, but put it aside. Maybe hearing other people talk about it will get me to pick it back up.
    I bought that one because it’s the only well-known one I haven’t read, so that’s an impetus, too.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I have so much of Charlotte left to read, too, and I’d love to read that acclaimed biography someday soon. The list is ever-expanding. P.S. How amazing that you got to visit the Bronte house!


  2. I’m one reader who prefers this to Agnes Grey. The theme of the abusive, drunken husband and the wife’s inferior position is fascinating because it challenges so many of the conventions of the period in which it was written

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’ve been dismayed by readers and literary scholars who diss Agnes Grey, and who diss Anne Bronte in general. According to these people, she either doesn’t measure up to the “Bronte Standard” or she doesn’t measure up to other 19th-century women novelists (all of whom came decades later, by the way). Anne Bronte, in her early adult years, lived a very, very different and more courageous, outgoing life than her sisters. She left home and worked in various households with very few opportunities to leave work to visit family.
    I find Anne Bronte’s views of “living in” as a governess, and her observations of her employers to be spot on. She deserves much, much more credit than she is given.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing! The more I talk to Bronte readers, the more I find a “silent majority” who prefer Anne to her sisters. I haven’t read enough of Anne or Charlotte, yet, to decide, but I look forward to the journey! It’s fair to say, though, that the three of them stun me.


  4. Oh, thanks for the reminder that I still want to read Anne Bronte! Isn’t it funny how we can have books we really want to read and for whatever reason keep putting them off?


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