The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

Anne Brontë

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, by Anne Brontë - click to see full size image

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The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is an 1848 novel by the youngest of the Brontë sisters, Anne, published under the pseudonym Acton Bell. A mysterious young widow arrives at Wildfell Hall, an Elizabethan mansion which has been empty for many years, with her young son and servant. She lives there in strict seclusion under the assumed name Helen Graham and very soon finds herself the victim of local slander. Refusing to believe anything scandalous about her, Gilbert Markham, a young farmer, discovers her dark secrets. In her diary, Helen writes about her husband's physical and moral decline through alcohol, and the world of debauchery and cruelty from which she has fled.

It is worthwhile remembering how much this novel went against the social norms of the day. The very fact that Helen leaves her husband is a big thing. Writer May Sinclair said of the book in 1913: "the slamming of (Helen's) bedroom door against her husband reverberated throughout Victorian England."

With themes of domestic violence and alcoholism, the story is essentially about a woman's desire to save her son, and to prevent him from growing up like his father.

№ 6 in 20 Classic Books You Must Read Before You Die.

№ 30 in Goodreads 100 Best Nineteenth-Century British and Irish Novels.

This book has 305 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1848.

Production notes: This ebook of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was published by Global Grey ebooks on the 1st March 2021. The artwork used for the cover is 'Nameless and Friendless' by Emily Mary Osborn.

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