Friday Friyay: Anne's 'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall'

 Shortly after I fell in love with Jane Austen I fell in love with the Brontës. While Charlotte's Jane Eyre was the first one, I quickly became infatuated with Wuthering Heights and everything Emily. Agnes Grey by Anne was actually a book I devoured but, being young and easily impressed, I followed the general tone of focusing more on Charlotte and Emily. After some gentle nudging from Bonnets at Dawn I decided to centralize Anne for a bit and started reading The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Y'all ... I owe Anne a massive apology. Forthright, beautiful, insightfull, so far this book is giving me everything I could ask for. So I've decided to use it for today's Friday memes, just in case anyone else needs a little nudge!

Note: Editions of The Tenant that start with: "You must go back with me..." are incomplete. Actual opening line of the novel is: "To J. Halford, Esq. Dear Halford, when we were together last..."

Anne Bronte's second novel is a passionate and courageous challenge to the conventions supposedly upheld by Victorian society and reflected in circulating-library fiction. The heroine, Helen Huntingdon, after a short period of initial happiness, leaves her dissolute husband, and must earn her own living to rescue her son from his influence. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is compelling in its imaginative power, the realism and range of its dialogue, and its psychological insight into the characters involved in a marital battle.

Book Beginnings is at home on Rose City Reader, hosted by Gilion Dumas, and Friday 56 at Freda's Voice, hosted by Freda. I'll also be joining the Book Blog Hop, hosted by Charlie over at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer.

Book Beginnings:

As the blurb says, my edition actually starts incorrectly, so I'm actually going to share the beginning of the 'Author's Preface to the Second Edition'

'While I acknowledge the success of the present work to have been greater than I anticipated, and the praises it has elicited from a few kind critics to have been greater than it deserved, I must also admit that from some other quarters it has been censured with an asperity which I was as little prepared to expect, and which my judgement, as well as my feelings, assures me is more bitter than just. It is scarcely the province of an author to refute the arguments of his censors and vindicate his own productions, but I may be allowed to make here a few observations with which I would have prefaced the first edition, had I foreseen the necessity of such precautions against the misapprehensions of those who would read it with a prejudiced mind or be content to judge it by a hasty glance.' 2%

I think Anne employs a tone of modesty here which is more of a courtesy than actual modesty, if that makes sense. She needs to beg forgiveness before reading her critics for filth, which is just how polite dialogue functions, especially during Victorian times. Also, note how she uses male pronouns as she is still writing under her pseudonym!

Ok, I'm going to cheat here and give you two more sentences from this preface which struck me. 

'Yet, be it understood, I shall not limit my ambition to this - or even to producing "a perfect work of art": time and talents so spent, I should consider wasted and misapplied.' 3%

I don't think Anne is saying she couldn't produce a perfect work of art. Rather she is railing against the idea that authors should create perfect worlds with only ambitious and moral characters. She wants to portray the world and humanity as she sees it, flawed but full of hope.

'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.' 3%

Never again will I believe Anne was in any way less feisty than her sisters!

Friday 56:

'Ah! you do well to remind me of the ladies, you dastardly deserter.' cried he, shaking his formidable fist at his brother-in-law. 'If it were not for them, you well know, I'd demolish you in the twinkling of an eye, and give your body to the fowls of heaven and the lilies of the fields!' 56%

I have not reached this part of the book yet but God am I curious to find out who is saying this to whom and why. No one is married yet at the point of the book where I am, so clearly I'm in for a lot more upheaval and emotion!


Book Blogger Hop:

This week's question comes from Julie at JadeSky:

Do you think you will ever get tired of blogging?

Honestly, I have been at it now for almost eleven years and there have definitely been ups and downs, months where I hardly posted, years in which I was too busy working or studying to really give the blog full attention. But I always come back to it. There is just something so fulfilling and creative about blogging that I do need it as a stress relief and as a way to keep myself motivated. So I guess that was a very long way of saying no! I don't see myself stopping anytime soon, although like always I will fluctuate in how much time I can dedicate to it.

So, that is what I have to offer this Friday! What do you think of the Anne Brontë quotes? 

Comments

  1. I'm very much a maths/science type of person, so the type of prose that Anne Bronte used, whilst beautiful, is too much for my poor brain to cope with.
    I found it very interesting to read your comments on blogging. Whilst I've blogged about books for nearly 4 years, most of that time involved promotion posts with the odd review thrown in. I started joining in memes a year ago and feel much more inspired and creative about blogging now. Hopefully in 11 years time I'll still be posting regularly!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aah yes, it is a very specific type of writing that doesn't work for everyone! Occasionally it gives me a headache as well xD I think once you make it past the first few years you find your rhythm with blogging but it is important to make it something you enjoy and not something that becomes a chore and requires a separate calendar, at least for me! Thanks for dropping by and I hope you have a lovely weekend :)

      Delete
  2. I love it how she starts apologetic but is able to swiftly put her critics in her place. I’m kind of embarrassed to say that I haven’t successfully finished anything by the Bronte sisters. I gave Wuthering Heights a try but just couldn’t get into it. Jane Eyre is on my list though and this seems like a good book to give a try as well

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think their tone can be hard to get into sometimes and the world in which they write is so different from ours that it can also be difficult to connect to the stories. But once you get into them you GET.INTO.THEM xD Maybe an audiobook could also be a nice way to get into them? That way there is some life and energy added to the mass of words. Thandie Newton's audiobook version of 'Jane Eyre' is astounding, so I'd definitely recommend that if audiobooks work for you! Thanks for dropping by and I hope you have a lovely weekend :)

      Delete
  3. I have long had a copy of this one sitting on my shelf and yet it remains unread. Jane Eyre is a favorite of mine and I confess I wasn't a fan of Wuthering Heights. You make me want to pick this one up right now and read it. I love the excerpts you shared. I will have to look into Agnes Grey also. Thank you!

    Our blogging experiences sound very similar. The ups and downs of it all. I don't see myself giving it up any time soon either. :-)

    I hope you have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh yay, let's share in our newfound Anne Bronte interest! Jane Eyre is brilliant, but for me Wuthering Heights is singular. There really isn't another book like it out there, I think, and it is impossible to force into a romance tradition, although most movie adaptations have tried. And yes, I'm definitely planning on sticking with blogging for a bit longer as well ;) Thanks for dropping by and I hope you have a lovely weekend :)

      Delete
  4. Great excerpts! Thanks for sharing, and for visiting my blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Thanks for dropping by and I hope you have a lovely weekend :)

      Delete
  5. You've convinced me that I need to read this one. Thanks for sharing! Hope you have a great weekend! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mission accomplished, perhaps I should consider retiring from blogging ;) Thanks for dropping by and I hope you have a lovely weekend :)

      Delete
  6. Really great excerpts. The 56 really grabs your attention.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really does, I'm so eager to reach that point in the story just to see who is mad at whom and why! Thanks for dropping by and I hope you have a lovely weekend :)

      Delete
  7. This is a classic that I missed--I'm adding it to my wish list. Enjoy the read and the weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's so easily missed, which is a shame! This edition has an introduction that is so rude to Anne it's impressive xD I think she deserves her place among the classics with her sisters though! Thanks for dropping by and I hope you have a lovely weekend :)

      Delete
  8. Enjoy!! Happy Easter weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I very much will do! I hope you have a lovely Easter weekend yourself! Thanks for dropping by and I hope you have a lovely weekend :)

      Delete
  9. Blogging is fun for me too! I enjoy getting to talk about books, even if I have to hold myself back when it comes to the spoilery parts of the books! That takes massive restraint! Lol.

    Thanks for visiting my blog!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh yes, wading in and out of spoiler territory is dangerous! Thankfully for me, even if I do get spoiled, I'm usually still super curious to see how the author gets there, so it's almost like adding fuel to the fire! Thanks for dropping by and I hope you have a lovely weekend :)

      Delete
  10. I've not read anything by Anne Bronte and must correct this problem. Thanks for the nudge.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha thank you for letting me be your nudge in Anne's direction! Thanks for dropping by and I hope you have a lovely weekend :)

      Delete

Post a comment

Popular posts