Monday, May 09, 2016

Teaser Tuesday 311: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Jenn of Books and a Beat. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current book or recent read.
* Share a few "teaser" sentences from somewhere in the book.
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away. You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!

My teaser for this week comes from The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte, an April group read. This book was heavily criticized when it was originally published for being “course” and “brutal.” Her sister, Charlotte, especially believed the subject matter to be inappropriate. It was a bit emotional in some sections, but overall I loved it!

In attempting to disengage himself, his foot slipped, and down he tumbled—but not to the earth—the tree still kept him suspended. There was a silent struggle, and then a piercing shriek—but, in an instant, I had dropped my gun on the grass, and caught the little fellow in my arms.

(Chapter 2: An Interview)


The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is a powerful and sometimes violent novel of expectation, love, oppression, sin, religion, and betrayal. It portrays the disintegration of the marriage of Helen Huntingdon, the mysterious “tenant” of the title, and her dissolute, alcoholic husband. Defying convention, Helen leaves her husband to protect their young son from his father’s influence, and earns her own living as an artist. Whilst in hiding at Wildfell Hall, she encounters Gilbert Markham, who falls in love with her.

On its first publication in 1848, Anne Bronte’s second novel was criticized for being “course” and “brutal”. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall challenges the social conventions of the early nineteenth century in a strong defense of women’s rights in the face of psychological abuse from their husbands. Anne Bronte’s style is bold, naturalistic and passionate, and this novel, which her sister Charlotte considered “an entire mistake”, has earned Anne a position in English literature in her own right, not just as the youngest member of the Bronte family.

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