October 2010196 pages, Paperback
First published in 1847, and thought to be based on Anne Brontės own experiences, Agnes Grey offers a fascinating insight into the plight of the educated spinster in Victorian times, for whom
becoming a governess was the only respectable career available.
In working with two different families, the Bloomfields and the Murrays, the eponymous heroine confronts the problems that face a young woman presiding over spoiled, disobedient children for a living, and about the ability of wealth and status to destroy social values.
The conditions under which most governesses worked in the 19th century were frequently harsh, and part of the emotional intensity of Agnes Grey comes from knowing that the author had experienced many of them first hand.
Agnes Grey is a milestone in English literature, offering a wry, penetrating observation of middle-class Victorian Britain.
Anne Brontė - Born in 1820, Anne Brontė was the youngest of the Brontė family. Agnes
Grey was her first novel, followed by The Tenant of Wildfell Hall in 1848.
She died in 1849.
Isabel Quigly - Isabel Quigly was born in Spain. In addition to The Heirs of Tom Brown,
an examination of the English school in fiction, she has written about
Charlie Chaplin and translated many books from Italian, Spanish and
French. For ten years she was the film critic for the Spectator. She
continues to review for The Oldie.