It has been 200 years since the birth of one of the world’s most famous literary sisters, Anne Brontë. Born on 17th January 1820 in Yorkshire, England. Anne was the youngest of the six Brontë siblings, Maria, Elizabeth, Branwell, Charlotte, and Emily, but as with many families during those times, Anne became familiar with death from a young age. Her mother passed away when she was very young, leaving her in the care of her aunt and her father, a clergyman, with little income. Her sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, passed away soon after, and Anne developed a close relationship with her sisters Charlotte and Emily.
Together, the three sisters became literary heroines due to their intelligent, progressive and, creative stories and poems. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë’s story will continue to go down in history, as will the stories that they penned in their short lives.
With little communication with others outside their father’s parsonage, Anne was very much influenced by her remaining family members, however, she was closest of all to Emily. She and Emily created the fantasy world of Gondal, a series of poems and stories which they wrote together from their childhood, then into their adulthood. When Anne sadly passed away at just 29 years old from Tuberculosis, Emily continued to write about their beloved world of Gondal.
“A fine and subtle spirit dwells
In every little flower,
Each one its own sweet feeling breathes
With more or less of power.
There is a silent eloquence
In every wild bluebell
That fills my softened heart with bliss
That words could never tell.”
– The Bluebell by Anne Brontë
Her father’s large library was home to a variety of different genres and authors, including, Homer, Shakespeare, Sir Walter Scott and John Milton. She indulged in non-fiction as she did fiction and she went on to develop a curious and intelligent way of thinking. Anne was well-read and passionate about literature, she had strong feminist views for the time and wrote using a male pseudonym, Acton Bell, to freely express her thoughts and opinions. Her novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is said to be one of the first feminist novels.
Anne published just two novels in her lifetime, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Agnes Grey and although less famous than her two older sisters novels are by no means less worth a read. Although short, her life made an everlasting impact on literature.
Her words have lasted two centuries and we can still enjoy and relate to them today.