How scandalously shocking! From divorce and debauchery to alcoholism and adultery, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was not only startling, but it was well ahead of its times in terms of Brontë’s revelations of the mistreatment of women, education of children and the inability to women to fend for themselves and their children regardless of position or circumstance.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall counts for both The Classics Club (4/85) and Mount TBR Reading Challenge (14/24). And although I enjoyed this novel, it will be some time before I read Villette, The Professor, or Shirley – definitely need a break. It also doesn’t hurt that I somehow ended up with two books from the library which I’m very excited about—books about books are always awesome! (And by somehow I mean I put them on reserve and am very happy they arrived quickly.) However, let’s jump in to my musings on the novel.
I hope you enjoyed reading my three-part mini-series of postings about Anne Brontë. I know I enjoyed looking into her life and writings. You can read Part 1, Part 2 or Part 3 by clicking the links. Once you’ve read those take a moment to read this quite by May Sinclair, a biographer of the Brontë, from 1910 to fully understand get an idea of the impact of this novel.
“The slamming of Helen Huntingdon’s bedroom door against her husband reverberated through Victorian England…”
As I mentioned earlier I decided to bump this higher on my list as I missed a trivia question and realized how woefully lacking French literature (Classic) is from my lists and my life.
Having finished it, I’m not quite so sure it was a bad thing French literature was missing from my life. There were parts of the novel I really enjoyed, the romance, the passion, but there were parts that dredged on and definitely left me wishing Flaubert was a more concise writer.
This is of course the story of Madame Bovary (Emma – my trivia question was ‘ In which novel by Gustave Flaubert is Emma the protagonist?’) and her fall from grace. I would say it’s a story of lessons—Don’t live beyond your means; Believe in love, and don’t give into lust; and Never stop dreaming, but know where the line between dream and reality is. We follow Charles Bovary from his time as a young school boy through to his education and his first wife. His first wife dies and he eventually marries Emma, and the rest of the story is about their love (or lack thereof) and Emma’s search for extramarital love/life. The ending is sad, but poignant.