Feminity and the Phalocentric Order: Anne Bronte


Autor: prof. Nica Mihaela
Colegiul Agricol ”D. Cantemir” Huși, Vaslui

English writer, sister of Charlotte Brontë and Emily Brontë, Anne wasn’t as celebrated as her other two sisters. Thus, The Short Oxford History of English Literature writes that her first novel was overshadowed by those of Charlotte and Emily and that the narrator endures humiliation, snobbism, and incivility from her employers with a firm resolution helped along by her sense of duty and high moral conscience. The chronicle, sprinkled with Anne’s own experiences, is the basis of Agnes Grey which appears to be a semi-autobiographical novel.
Anne’s health began to decline rapidly, like that of her brother and sister some months earlier. On 5 April 1849, she wrote to Ellen Nussey asking her to accompany her to Scarborough on the east coast. Anne hoped that the sea air would improve her health, as recommended by the doctor, and Charlotte finally agreed to go. (The Short Oxford History of English Literature)
On the Sunday morning she felt weaker and asked if she could be taken back to Haworth. The doctor confirmed that she was near to death and Anne thanked him for his candour. „Take courage, take courage” she murmured to Charlotte. She died at 2 pm on Monday 18 May. She is buried in the cemetery of St Mary’s of Scarborough. Her gravestone carries an error in her age in the inscription because she died at the age of 29 and not at 28. It was noticed by Charlotte during her only visit, and she had the intention of asking the mason to correct it. Ill health did not leave him time to effect the repair and the tombstone has remained in the same state to this day.
Anne Brontë is best-known of her AGNES GREY (1847) and THE TENANT OF WILDFELL HALL (1848), which are generally considered more conservative works than her sisters. The close-knit Bronte family have inspired many studies, in which Charlotte, the oldest child, is characterized as the most ambitious writer, and Emily the greatest genius. Anne has been described mild and the less-talented youngest sister although, but her novels were sharp and ironic.
If you loved as I do,’ she earnestly replied, ‘you would not have so nearly lost me – these scruples of false delicacy and pride would never thus have troubled you – you would have seen that the greatest wordly distinctions and discrepancies of rank, birth, and fortune are as dust in the balance compared with the unity of accordant thoughts and feelings, and truly loving, sympathizing heart and souls.’ (from The Tenant of Wildfell Hall) (fragment)