Thursday, September 09, 2010

(re?)Claiming Anne Bronte!

now finished: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte

Anne Bronte is completely and totally underrated.

This was my first time reading one of her novels, and now I want to rush out and read her other one, Agnes Grey. I think The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is the most prescient, insightful thing I have read in quite some time. Anne Bronte had so much understanding of - well, the human condition, for lack of a better phrase. Alcoholism, destructive behavior, a feminist take on marriage/property rights ... wow! This young woman knew what was up.

The tragedy of the Bronte sisters, of course, is that they died so young. The TB got that family and robbed us of what may have been prolific lengthy lifetimes. Seeing what Anne did before age thirty with Wildfell Hall makes me sad to think we lost all that potential.

I am totally on this Bronte kick of late - having just reread Wuthering Heights and realized it is WASTED on 19-year-olds, and now having discovered this gem, I am also going to be re-reading Jane Eyre in a couple months for one of my book groups. I highly recommend a thirtysomething re-reading of these books. There is so much going on underneath the surface that is downright subversive, with regard to religion, chauvinism, repression of women, and the like.

I am in awe of these women and what they created. I want more.

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