Anne Bronte

Agnes Grey
  • Agnes Grey

  • Brought to you by Penguin.

    This Penguin Classic is performed by Louise Brealey, known for her roles in Sherlock, Clique and Death in Paradise. This definitive recording includes an Introduction by Angeline Goreau.

    When her family becomes impoverished after a disastrous financial speculation, Agnes Grey determines to find work as a governess in order to contribute to their meagre income and assert her independence. But Agnes's enthusiasm is swiftly extinguished as she struggles first with the unmanageable Bloomfield children and then with the painful disdain of the haughty Murray family; the only kindness she receives comes from Mr Weston, the sober young curate. Drawing on her own experience, Anne Brontë's first novel offers a compelling personal perspective on the desperate position of unmarried, educated women for whom becoming a governess was the only respectable career open in Victorian society.

    © Angeline Goreau, 1988, 2004 (P) Penguin Audio

Anne Brontë was born at Thornton in Yorkshire on 17 January 1820, the youngest of six children. That April, the Brontës moved to Haworth, a village on the edge of the moors, where Anne’s father had become the curate. Anne’s mother died soon afterwards. She was four when her older sisters were sent to the Clergy Daughters’ School at Cowan Bridge, where Maria and Elizabeth both caught tuberculosis and died. After that, Anne, Charlotte, Emily and Branwell were taught at home for a few years, and together, they created vivid fantasy worlds which they explored in their writing. Anne went to Roe Head School 1835–7. She worked as a governess with the Ingham family (1839–40) and with the Robinson family (1840–45). In 1846, along with Charlotte and Emily, she published Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. She published Agnes Grey in 1847 and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall in 1848. That year, both Anne’s brother Branwell and her sister Emily died of tuberculosis. A fortnight later, Anne was diagnosed with the same disease. She died in Scarborough on 28 May 1849.

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