This is the second episode of Great Woman Theory – a podcast discussing great women and feminist events in history. This episode explores the life and works of author Anne Brontë, lesser known sister of Charlotte (author of Jane Eyre), and Emily (author of Wuthering Heights). Although denied the fame and acclaim her sister received, or the notoriety accorded to her dissolute brother Branwell, Anne is the most fearless of the Brontës, and the staunchest feminist. Her novel Agnes Grey discusses the mistreatment of female governesses, and is a sterling inquiry into how politics of class disadvantage women. Her second novel Tenant of Wildfell Hall, is acknowledged as the first fully feminist novel, depicting the devastating impact of an abusive marriage. After Anne’s death in 1849 at the age of 28, suppression of her work by her sister Charlotte stunted public appreciation of the novels. Great Woman Theory discusses how these novels were ground-breaking (and law-breaking!) for the time, and their continued relevance to the modern feminist movement today.
Picture by Patrick Branwell Brontë, authorised for use by Dcoetzee.