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Anne Bronte, least remembered of the Bronte sisters

Posted in English Literature, Historical articles, History, Literature on Monday, 10 December 2012

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This edited article about Anne Bronte originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 793 published on 26th March 1977.

Haworth Parsonage, picture, image, illustration

Haworth Parsonage in the early C20

The pale-faced girl held a letter in her hand, reading it again and again. It was from a London publisher, telling her that he was going to publish her first novel, “Agnes Grey”.

The girl was Anne Bronte´, the least known of a trio of famous sisters who, in their short lives established their names in literary history.

Anne was born at Haworth, in Yorkshire, on 25th March 1820. Her father, a stern and eccentric clergyman, had his own idea of how to bring up his family. One of them was to feed his children on nothing but potatoes, because he believed this diet made them hardy. He also burned the girl’s shoes if he considered them too smart.

Surrounded by wild moors and cut off from outside friends, the sisters, when still very young, created their own fantasy worlds by writing. As they grew older, they planned to open a school of their own, and the only way they could finance this would be by selling their novels. All three set to work. Charlotte wrote “Jane Eyre” and Emily found fame through “Wuthering Heights”.

Anne’s first novel was successful, and her second, “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall”, was published in three volumes in June, 1848.

But tragedy hung over the bleak vicarage. In that year, Anne’s sister Emily and her brother died of consumption. Anne herself caught the disease and began to waste away.

As her condition grew worse, Charlotte decided that sea air might help her sister. In May 1849, she took her to Scarborough, but on the 28th Anne died.

Anne’s books were reprinted many times, though today they are not so well known as the works of her two sisters. As well as novels she wrote hymns, and these are still sung in many churches.

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