Dear Readers,

I now consider this blog to be my Juvenelia. Have fun perusing the archives, and find me at my new haunt, here.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Agnes Grey

I read this minor but sweet Anne Bronte work with a great deal of pleasure. The prose is simpler than her sister's, and methinks she might have been a bit simpler as well. Certainly, she seemed much less ambivalent about religion than either Emily or Charlotte; after all, the heroine/alter ego in the story falls head over heels for the local curate because his sermons are so noble and heartfelt.

Still, the humility that goes along with her obsession is rather charming. At the end of the day it's Agnes' simplicity and scrappiness that wins the reader over, mixed with her none-too-charitable view of the fliratious, impulsive and spoiled young ladies in her charge.

Another charm the story held was for me in particular its description of how frustrating it is to teach spoiled, ungovernable children, particularly when parental authority is lacking. That as well the way governesses were such a terribly exploited class, come through very clearly.
I think The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is definitely a better, richer, book, but I'm happy to have added this to my Bronte-repertoire as well.

On another note, dear readers, would you believe that it took me five minutes to remember the name of this book's heroine? Stick that one in your pipe and smoke it.

Also, I wonder if this Agnes and the Agnes from David Copperfield are like doppelgangers? Their personalities are so similar, although I suppose Bronte's agnes is less insipid.

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