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The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  74,696 Ratings  ·  3,322 Reviews
'She looked so like herself that I knew not how to bear it'

In this sensational, hard-hitting and passionate tale of marital cruelty, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall sees a mysterious tenant, Helen Graham, unmasked not as a 'wicked woman' as the local gossips would have it, but as the estranged wife of a brutal alcoholic bully, desperate to protect her son.

Using her own exper
...more
Paperback, Penguin English Library, 524 pages
Published June 28th 2012 by Penguin Books (first published June 1848)
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Jeanine Lent I think you will be able to understand it. If you want to start with a smaller book, a very good one is "Agnes Grey," by Anne Bronte. Another really…moreI think you will be able to understand it. If you want to start with a smaller book, a very good one is "Agnes Grey," by Anne Bronte. Another really good book, my favorite, is "Villette," by Charlotte Bronte, a wonderful story & romance. Both books are wonderful. One of my favs when I was younger, is a lesser-known book, "Work," by Louisa May Alcott, which is about a young woman's search for meaningful life through work. In those days, it was extremely hard for women to find work, because of the rampant sexism then. I have one bit of advice. Something I did not like to do when I was in high school, was read the introductions to these books. I found them tedious & didn't see the reason for it. Big mistake. Always read the intros. It will give you so much insight into the meanings, usually multiple meanings, of the stories. It makes reading the stories so much more enjoyable. I hope you enjoy these books & many more, too. Here is a link to a list of 20 lesser-known classics, by female writers. I'm familiar with a couple, but will try to read the others, too. :) http://www.bustle.com/articles/63615-...(less)
Ms C Bruen As well as the experience of watching Branwell's alcoholism and drug addiction close up, Anne also worked as a governess in two different homes. In…moreAs well as the experience of watching Branwell's alcoholism and drug addiction close up, Anne also worked as a governess in two different homes. In the second, Branwell came to work as well and became intimately involved with the wife of the house, having an affair and all the disgrace that came with that. Anne had been reasonably happy in that position and had to leave because of Branwell's actions. Anne had a more worldly experience of life than either of her sisters, especially Emily. While what she wrote here was only partly from personal witness, Anne knew more of the lives of her so-called betters than might be imagined when looking at the general notion of the sister's lives.

For a book that is almost completely from her own experience, I'd recommend Agnes Grey about a governess and how awful life could be for governesses.(less)

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Emily May
Aug 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is not quite Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre, but I did really enjoy it. It's surprising, given how dated the characters' moralizing is, but I was so swept up in the past and the setting that I felt totally 19th-Century level shocked by the cheating and lying and *gasp* drinking.

There's something about the Brontes - because it feels impossible not to speak of them collectively - that just works for me. Maybe it is our shared birthplace close to those dark, dreary Yorks
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Amy
Jun 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Carol said I must list my all time favorite books. What a challenge this is! I have read everything those Bronte girls wrote, even their childhood poetry and I love all of it. But Anne will take the showing on my list for her bravery. Of course Charlotte was the most prolific and Emily the true brainiac, but Anne has my complete respect for being a true literary pioneer: she was the first woman to write of a wife leaving her abusive husband - and then goes on to lead a happy, successful life! Up ...more
Samadrita
"Reformed rakes make the best husbands."

This is the maxim that governs the universe of historical romance novels. That a puerile assumption regarding dissolute cads turning into paragons of puritanical goodness on being administered the vital dosage of a virgin's 'love' fuels women's fantasies in this day and age depresses me to no end.
In a sense, this is the dialectical opposite of Kerouac's On the Road in that it systematically demystifies a contrived notion of masculine 'coolness' - the ba
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Henry Avila
Aug 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An unknown woman suddenly appears in the dilapidated mansion, Wildfell Hall, abandoned for many years, by the wealthy family, who owned it, as uninhabitable, surrounded by the bleak moorlands, in a remote, quiet village, in the northern English countryside, during the early part of the 19th century, no one knew she was coming, the locals are very curious, who is she ? What is she doing, calling herself Mrs.Graham, a widow, with a lively five- year -old boy, Arthur. The villagers distrust outside ...more
Lisa
Bravissima, Brontë!

There is a straight logical line leading from the brilliant fiction of Anne Brontë, written in 1847, to Margaret Atwood's equally persuasive The Handmaid's Tale of our own era. Eloquent, erudite, witty women describe what makes patriarchal, Christian society brutally unjust to any woman of feeling and intelligence, and not just in extreme cases, but in its core idea of women's roles and choice(lessness) - their suppressed individual right to self-defined sexuality and their de
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Dem
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a surprisingly good read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was.

I think when you read a Classic like this you have to immerse yourself in the time when it was written and this one goes back to the mid 1840s, a time when the pace of life was slower, and when there was no Television or social media and a time when snail mail and word of mouth were the facebook and twitter of the time. I think if you have the ability to do this you would love and enjoy this novel as I am sure this was a rocking good
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TheSkepticalReader
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
[4.5 stars]

Move over, Charlotte. Make room for my new favorite Brontë!

It is inevitable for me to compare Anne Brontë with her sisters, and Helen Graham with Jane Eyre particularly, but I shall momentarily do so anyway. Some said this was better than any Brontë novel published, some claimed it deeply overhyped. After reading this, I shall have to agree with the former claim as I thought this book surpassed, to quite an extent, the love I had for Jane Eyre.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall shook me from
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Samantha
May 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
With this book Anne has now become my favorite Brontè! Amazing story! Not only is the writing phenomenal but the issues she addresses were truly progressive for the time: feminism, alcoholism, abuse, etc
A must read!
Sherwood Smith
I suspect that many readers today have no idea that these three vicarage-raised spinsters took the English publishing world by storm in the mid-eighteen hundreds. Thundering from reviews were words like coarse, shocking, immoral, depraved . . . and those reviewers thought the authors Acton, Ellis, and Currer Bell were men!

Tenant hit the shelves with the biggest splash, requiring a second edition, at the front of which Anne added an impassioned forward aimed at critics. She maintains that she is
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Piyangie
The Tenant of the Wildfell Hall is the second novel and my only read of Anne Bronte. The first thought that came to mind while reading was that why it took me this long to discover her? I was familiar with her more famous sisters Charlotte and Emily but did not know her existence till a recent time!

Anne's writing is however far different to that of her sisters, for her approach is more direct. There is no poetic language, no implied romanticism and less flowery phrases, which is the signature ap
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Sarah
May 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Poor Helen. Poor Anne. Poor book...

Anne is just as much a Brontë as her sisters! Her voice, in many ways, completes the harmony and picks up where the two of them leave off. True, there are no fires, ghosts, or windswept moors. But, as one critic noted, "The slamming of Helen's bedroom door against her husband reverberated throughout Victorian England."

I struggle with Victorian literature, because I don't have a clear sense of context. It's difficult for me to separate the author from her time.
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Jess
Jan 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: CALLING ALL FEMINISTS!
description

(Find the full sized image here.)

Before we discovered Anne Brontë, some of us fancied Heathcliff. We wanted to fix him, tame him, soothe his tortured soul. Or maybe if you preferred the more mature and experienced man, you craved Mr Rochester. Perhaps you were even hanging out of your bedroom window on stormy nights, convinced that someone somewhere was calling to you.

Not any more. It's time to ditch those Byronic heroes, people. No more "mad, bad and dangerous to know", only sober and honest me
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MJ Nicholls
The second novel Anne wrote before she caught pulmonary tuberculosis shortly after her 29th birthday. Certainly not something on those 100 Things To Do Before You’re 30 Lists. 1) Paragliding. 2) Kayaking. 3) Catch pulmonary TB and die. See? Good. The problem with those lists is they presuppose readers like the outdoors and have a private income of some three zillion units. Far better the lists have simpler aims for us mortals: 1) Eat a probiotic yoghurt. 2) Bumslide down a banister. 3) Help dryw ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Apr 21, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dannii Elle
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Easily as comparably good as Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights!
Fiona
The question "Jane Eyre or Catherine Earnshaw[/Linton/whatever]?" has always annoyed me. I couldn't stand Wuthering Heights, accomplished though it was, and I think lots of people tend to assume I must be something of a Jane Eyre devotee: I'm not. I'm really not.

The next time someone asks me which I prefer, I shall tell them: Helen Huntingdon. Emphatically, enthusiastically, and with the fire of a thousand suns. Helen Huntingdon don't need no man. She's had enough of your friendzoning bullshit.
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Margaret
Anne Bronte's second novel is often overshadowed by her sisters' more famous novels, Charlotte's Jane Eyre (and three others) and Emily's Wuthering Heights, but it is equally worth reading. It tells the story of Helen Huntingdon, a mysterious woman who comes to live at Wildfell Hall with her child and one servant, and Gilbert Markham, the young man who is powerfully drawn to her and eventually learns her secret: that she left her dissolute, drunken husband in order to shield their son from his i ...more
Nicole~
The Not-So Merry Widow of Wildfell Hall

Anne Brontë explores themes of alcohol abuse and the cruelty it wages on marriage and family; of a mother's ardent protection of her child; implicitly, of women's patterns of silence, alienation from society and forced isolation: in a surprisingly explicit story for its time, yet modern and relevant even today in its concealment of the truth, and the inadvertent practice by women of remaining voiceless in their plight.

Slander, disrepute and condemnation of
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Aubrey
4.9/5

I'm currently pulling this and Jane Eyre apart for an essay on the Coming of Age of the Abject Woman. Naturally, Victorian lit of the het cis sane (main character only, which means no Bertha Mason) and white variety is rather slim pickings for such a topic, but I may as well start in a place that will be useful for grad school and, for all my commitments to works beyond the pale, still manages to impress. There's also the matter that with these works, unlike Beloved and Almanac of the Dead,
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Paul
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars
I’ve been meaning to read this for years and have finally got round to it. The plot is pretty straightforward. Gilbert Markham is a gentleman farmer and the story is set as a series of letters to his friend. A mysterious woman (Helen Graham, an assumed name) and her young son move into Wildfell Hall, a local and somewhat rundown property. She is rather reclusive and begins to be the subject of local gossip. Over time she mixes with some of her neighbour and Gilbert falls in love with he
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Helene Jeppesen
Jul 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was a beautiful love story with one of the most interesting narrative styles I've ever encountered. Without saying too much, the narration of this story shifts, and the overall style is not your typical narration style of a novel. Does this make sense? :P I hope not, because I want for you to read this book and see for yourself what I'm talking about (also I'm really tired when writing this, so bear with me).
Anne Brontë has a way of creating very complicated and also mean characters, and I
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Tatiana
Jun 02, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, 1001
Funny how things change. I used to love this book. I pretty much can't stand it now. 3 stars (it was 5 before today) is just an obligatory i-appreciate-but-not-really-care-for-it rating.

Anne Brontë and I would have never been friends, because it's hard to be a friend with someone so damn righteous and unbendable. Sure, Helen Graham and Agnes Grey are fictional characters, but is there a doubt they are reflections of the author? Not in my mind.

Granted, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is a huge impro
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Natalie Richards
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-book
All the stars for this book! For me, it is on a par with Jane Eyre and better than Wuthering Heights. What a talented bunch of writers these sisters were! I can imagine jaws dropping all over victorian England at the publication of this book; a woman standing up to her abusive husband and slamming the bedroom door firmly shut in his face! What a spirited woman Anne was and she obviously wrote with some knowledge of the damage alcohol does to a person, as it is well known her brother was addicted ...more
Whitaker
I felt, reading The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, as if I was watching a black-and-white silent movie. There was the same sense of expressions and gestures exaggerated, made larger than life. Emotions were felt ten-fold. Characters are never just sad, they must be sullenly despondent; they are never just in love, but passionate, painfully so:
She turned from me to hide the emotion she could not quite control; but I took her hand and fervently kissed it. 'Gilbert, do leave me!' she cried, in a tone of
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Bethany
Aug 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001, to-be-bought
I can't believe that this book isn't more widely read, I mean Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice are usually mentioned when discussing classic works of fiction by women- yet this is relatively ignored.
I honestly didn't know of this books existence before I went to the library and saw it on the shelf. I didn't know Anne had written anything other than poems. I often feel that Anne is in Emily and Charlotte's shadow but this piece of work is truly inspiring - perhaps more so at
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Merna
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
In it's first publication 'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall' was described as being 'course' and 'disgusting.' I I can well imagine the impact that it had on prudish Victorians. However, it's very tame by today's standards and the shock element at all the debauchery portrayed in the novel is missing. A modern reader would just be like: 'Meh I've read worse.'

Nevertheless, the message of this novel remains as firm as ever: don't marry a scumbag with the expectation that you can one day reform them thro
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Helle
Apr 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finally read this novel by Anne Brontë, having read Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights by her more famous sisters years ago. Coming away from this book, I conclude that her lesser fame is very much undeserved. This was a good book, well-written, highly controversial at the time, and the fact that she wrote this and Agnes Grey (which I have yet to read) before she died at the age of 29 tells us something about her potential and talent as a writer.

Having visited the parsonage in Haworth, Yorkshire,
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leynes
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Let’s start with some fun facts: One of my most used annotations in regards to Mr Huntingdon was: “the fuck outta here” and “ew”. One of my most used annotations in regards to Gilbert was: “kill it with fire” and “ew”. One of my most used annotations in regards to Helen was: “ugh” and “can’t relate”. Clearly, I had a good time.

The only reason why I didn’t rate The Tenant of Wildfell Hall one star is the fact that I gave Anne an additional star for good intentions. Yes, I am a generous hoe. The
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Daniela
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Victorian heroine par excellence

An English village is in an uproar trying to discover the identity of a mysterious woman who came to inhabit a decrepit grand house in the county. Curiosities are picked, theories are built, visits are enacted, assumptions are made. It becomes clear to the reader and to the narrator of the story that Helen Graham, the aforementioned lady, is far superior in intellect and character to the other ladies and gentlemen of the village. The narrator, a certain Gilber
...more
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1,765 followers
Anne Brontë was a British novelist and poet, the youngest member of the Brontë literary family. Anne's two novels, written in a sharp and ironic style, are completely different from the romanticism followed by her sisters, Emily Brontë and Charlotte Brontë. She wrote in a realistic, rather than a romantic style. Mainly because the re-publication of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was prevented by Char ...more
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“Smiles and tears are so alike with me, they are neither of them confined to any particular feelings: I often cry when I am happy, and smile when I am sad.” 400 likes
“I am satisfied that if a book is a good one, it is so whatever the sex of the author may be. All novels are or should be written for both men and women to read, and I am at a loss to conceive how a man should permit himself to write anything that would be really disgraceful to a woman, or why a woman should be censured for writing anything that would be proper and becoming for a man.” 159 likes
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