Anne Brontë Reimagined
A View from the Twenty-first Century
by Adelle Hay
Anne Bronte: for so long underestimated, from her own day to modern times.
But why exactly has this remarkably talented and pioneering author been so overlooked? Anne’s writing has often been compared harshly with that of Charlotte and Emily – as if living in her sisters’ shadows throughout her life wasn’t enough. But her reputation, literary and personal, has changed dramatically since Agnes Grey was first published in 1846. Then, shocked reviewers complained of her ‘crudeness’ and ‘vulgarity’ – words used to this day to belittle women writing about oppression.
Her second and most famous work, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, was groundbreaking in its subject matter: marital and alcohol abuse and the rights of married women. A book that refused to sweep difficult truths under the carpet. A book so ahead of its time that even her sisters weren’t ready for it, Charlotte being one of its harshest critics. And yet could this even be the best of all the Bronte works?
With such a contradictory life and legacy: who was Anne, really? It’s time to find out.
REVIEWS OF Anne Brontë Reimagined
"[Anne] is seen and shown to be ahead of her time and in this treatment, she finds an era in which her concerns, approach, philosophy and imagination ring truer than in her own ... as is not always the case with biographies, the subject is allowed to speak for herself ... well worth reading.“ Helen Brown, Courier
“What pleases me most [of recent books on Anne] … and best reveals the sources of Anne’s strength, is Hay’s chapter on “Anne in Nature”, with its sensitive readings of her poetry and novels.” Jacqueline Banerjee, Times Literary Supplement
"This is a sensitive, thoughtful, and enriching book that shines a vibrant new light on Anne Brontë calling for a radical reimagining of her work and life in the popular imagination. It does that rare thing in Brontë books of acknowledging Anne's genius without comparing her to her sisters or diminishing any of their talents and achievements ... to firmly reposition her as a revolutionary author whose voice still needs to be heard today." Dr Sophie Franklin
“An important contribution to Brontë studies that reinforces why Anne Brontë is such a significant Victorian writer and why her books remain relevant to contemporary culture.” Claire O’Callaghan