Anne Bronte , Biography
Poet, Author (1820–1849)
“If Anne Bronte had lived 10 years longer, she would have taken a place beside Jane Austen, perhaps even a higher place.”
Anne Bronte was born on January 17, 1820, in Thornton, Yorkshire, England, the sister of fellow writers Charlotte and Emily Bronte. Said to be the meeker and less talented Bronte sister, Anne was raised in a strict Anglican home by her clergyman father and a religious aunt after her mother and two eldest siblings died.
Anne was largely educated at home and worked as a governess for a several years before working on a book of poetry with her sisters, Charlotte and Emily, in 1846. Anne contributed 21 poems to the work, entitled Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell.
‘Agnes Grey’ and ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’
Anne Bronte published her first novel, Agnes Grey, in 1847. Irish novelist George Moore later called Anne’s debut work “the most perfect prose narrative in English literature,” as well as “simple and beautiful as a muslin dress,” and declared in his Conversations in Ebury Street (1924) that “if Anne Brontë had lived 10 years longer, she would have taken a place beside Jane Austen, perhaps even a higher place.”
Anne’s second novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, the story of a woman leaving her abusive spouse, was published in three volumes in 1848. The novel sold well, despite the fact that both it and Agnes Grey were considered more conservative than those of her sisters. (In 1847, Charlotte Bronte published Jane Eyre and Emily Bronte published Wuthering Heights; both novels were incredibly popular upon their release, and both continue to garner critical and commercial claim today.)
The deaths of the Bronte siblings are almost as notable as their literary legacy. Anne’s brother, Branwell, and sister, Emily, both died in 1848. Anne Brontë died the following year, on May 28, 1849, in Scarborough, Yorkshire, England, of tuberculosis. Not long after, in 1854, Charlotte Brontë died during her pregnancy.