Yoon Joung Lee
A British novelist and the youngest of the six children from the Bronte family, Anne Bronte, was born in 1820 in Yorkshire, England. Her mother, Maria Branwell, passed away with cancer when Anne was not even a year old and she was raised by her clergyman father, Reverend Patrick Bronte and religious aunt, Elizabeth Branwell. In 1825, she lost two of her sisters to tuberculosis.
After the sisters’ unexpected deaths, the family's three remaining girls, Charlotte, Emily and Anne, were educated at home spending most of their time with family, rather than mixing with others from the community. The sisters individually started writing great novels during this period.
In 1847, Anne published her first novel, Agnes Grey, based on her own experience as a governess for several families. Her two sisters also published their novels around that time. Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, were very successful after their releases. In 1848 shortly after her first novel, Anne published her second; The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, which reflected on women’s independence and portrayed the effects of alcoholism. The novel sold out within six weeks and became a big hit of the time.
Before she fully enjoyed her successful literary career, she faced family tragedies including deaths of her brother, Branwell and her sister, Emily. In 1848, Anne’s brother died at the age of 31 by persistent drunkenness. Shortly after her brother’s death, Emily became ill and she died at the age of 30. Her sister Emily’s death significantly affected Anne whose health became weaker too. The following year in 1849, Anne died when she was only 29. She was buried in Scarborough.
During her time, Anne was a less well-known writer among her sisters. However, her works have been re-evaluated by today’s critics and readers as the most radical work among her sisters’ and she is valued as a major literary figure of her time.