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Agnes Grey (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

by Anne Bronte

ISBN 1593083238 / 9781593083236 / 1-59308-323-8
Publisher Barnes & Noble Classics
Language English
Edition Softcover
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Book summary

Agnes Grey, by Anne Bronte, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:
All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.

 

Written when women—and workers generally—had few rights in England, Agnes Grey exposes the brutal inequities of the rigid class system in mid-nineteenth century Britain. Agnes comes from a respectable middle-class family, but their financial reverses have forced her to seek work as a governess. Pampered and protected at home, she is unprepared for the harsh reality of a governesss life. At the Bloomfields and later the Murrays, she suffers under the snobbery and sadism of the selfish, self-indulgent upper-class adults and the shrieking insolence of their spoiled children. Worse, the unique social and economic position of a governess—“beneath her employers but “above their servants—condemns her to a life of loneliness.

 

Less celebrated than her older sisters Charlotte and Emily, Anne Bronte was also less interested in spinning wildly symbolic, romantic tales and more determined to draw realistic images of conditions in Victorian England that need changing. While Charlottes Jane Eyre features a governess who eventually and improbably marries her employer, Agnes Grey deals with the actual experiences of middle-class working women, experiences Anne had herself endured during her hateful tenure as a governess.

 

Fred Schwarzbach serves as Associate Dean and teaches in the General Studies Program of New York University. He is the author of Dickens and the City, the editor of Victorian Artists and the City and Dickenss American Notes, a contributor to the Oxford Readers Companion to Dickens, and the author of scores of articles, essays, and reviews on Victorian life and letters.

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