The Bronte Sisters

Three Novels: Jane Eyre; Wuthering Heights; and Agnes Grey (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

Deluxe Classics

Charlotte Brontë - Author

Emily Brontë - Author

Anne Brontë - Author

Paperback | $22.00 | add to cart | view cart
ISBN 9780143105831 | 672 pages | 29 Dec 2009 | Penguin Classics | 5.07 x 7.79in | 18 - AND UP
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Summary of The Bronte Sisters Summary of The Bronte Sisters Reviews for The Bronte Sisters An Excerpt from The Bronte Sisters

The most cherished novel from each of England's talented sisters, in one gorgeously packaged volume

The Brontë family was a literary phenomenon unequalled before or since. Both Charlotte's Jane Eyre and Emily's Wuthering Heights have won lofty places in the pantheon and stirred the romantic sensibilities of generations of readers. For the first time ever, Penguin Classics unites these two enduring favorites with the lesser known but no less powerful work by their youngest sister, Anne. Drawn from Anne's own experiences as a governess, Agnes Grey offers a compelling view of Victorian chauvinism and materialism. Its inclusion makes The Brontë Sisters a must-have volume for anyone fascinated by this singularly talented family.

@HeathBar The house is now mine. Since the neighbor has Catherine, I’ll seduce his sister. We’ll see how brave he is when she’s got Heathcock in her.

Girl is preggers. Catherine is dead. My world is over. I’ve become an evil, evil man. Naming my son Heathcliff Jr.

From Twitterature: The World's Greatest Books in Twenty Tweets or Less

Student Review by Khadija Paruk, University of Birmingham

Meet the Bells, the name used by the Bronte sisters to enable them to publish in the Victorian era, a world we can enter through these enlightening novels: Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte), Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte) and Agnes Grey (Anne Bronte). Every novel represents the precociousness of class at varying levels, a direct experience of the Brontes who were neither servants nor part of the gentry as represented by the characters Jane, Agnes and Heathcliff. However each book differs and has originality that combines with this precociousness leading to different outcomes and compelling narratives.
Undoubtedly Wuthering Heights is the most well-known and has recently had a revival partly due to it’s clichéd representation as a romance in the Twilight Saga. But Wuthering Heights is not just a love story but one man’s desire (if he is a man) to wreak havoc upon a family in the name of love. When Mr Earnshaw brings back an orphan Heathcliff from London, he could not have known that this kind deed would indirectly cause his son Hindley’s downfall and his daughter Cathy’ s moral degeneration. Two emotions fight strongly as they do in the real world for dominance, hatred and love alongside greed for power. Cathy and Heathcliff as children imagine themselves companions for life until a fateful accident keeps Cathy detained at the sumptuous, and rich Thrushcross Grange, the antithesis of the cold stony Wuthering Heights. There, she gains an ambition for social standing while Heathcliff reduced to a servant at Wuthering Heights learns to cope without her. When Cathy returns, their relationship alters. Heathcliff begins seeking revenge and jealousy through implementing devious schemes on the whole family, their descendents and his rival Edgar Linton. The entry of the descendents does not diminish the narrative in any way but contributes to the novel as a whole. This is a testament to Emily Bronte’s expertise as a writer since some novels wither at the introduction of a new set of characters. The Bronte sisters were their own critics. About the character Heathcliff, Charlotte wrote: “Whether it is right or advisable to create beings like Heathcliff I do not know.” . Charlotte Bronte wasn’t alone in this opinion, many others at the time believed the same. Others were outraged due to the discovery that the author was female combined with the gothic tones of Wuthering Heights. Such comments are complementary and are evidence that the novel is memorable. The same can be said for Jane Eyre and Agnes Grey.

Jane Eyre is also an orphan but a long-suffering orphan who is more than willing to leave Gateshead because of the maltreatment she receives from her cousins, Aunt Reed and even some of the servants based on shallow defects such as lacking beauty. After defending herself for the first time against the ringleader John, she is sent to school and escapes the limbo in which she is held, as she is not a servant or considered a member of the family. But trials await her there as word of her supposed ‘bad character’ is spread. The readers find it impossible not to sympathise with her and wills her to prove herself. With perseverance, she escapes the stereotype attributed to her and finds a semblance of peace. Eventually Jane on becoming a teacher grows tired of Lowood due to the departure and death of those she loves. She finds a position as a governess at Thornfield, an apt name as there she experiences bliss and is also exposed to her greatest pain or thorn in the guise of a Mr Rochester and the upper classes. Little did she know that the strange happenings punctuating her happiness would be the cause of her downfall. Charlotte Bronte’s narrative style demonstrates a highly-skilled ability as readers including myself find themselves mirroring Jane’s emotions as the plot and the language are weaved intricately through the use of original imagery. This is emphasised by Charlotte’s trait of directly addressing the reader which makes Jane and all the characters real. After reading this book, you wish you had an ounce of patience and strength that Jane had. If Oliver Twist is the saddest boy than surely Jane Eyre is the saddest girl to have been created.

Agnes Grey is often wrongly overlooked in favour of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. But it is just as compelling. Agnes Grey’s family is reduced to poverty so Agnes desiring to contribute to her family’s finances becomes a governess.  Her first attempt to teach three children the required subjects as well as polite and moral behaviour is unsuccessful. Unfortunately for Agnes, their parents in particular the mother, Mrs Bloomfield are blind to the children’s faults which makes Agnes’s task comparable to Hercules’ labours. Following this, she enters a different family, the Murrays with whom she has more success. The children in particular are appreciative of her honesty and sincerity but are also shallow particularly the older girl, Rosalie, who is on the verge of making her debut into society while the younger girl, Matilda scorns anything feminine. Here, Agnes settles and attempts to inject seriousness and consideration of others in her charges. Agnes’s peace however is short as she is required to return to home and to leave the village and a certain Mr Weston of whose acquaintance she made at the church near the Murrays’ residence. Although this novel is less eventful than Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, it’s simplicity and gentle tone complements the previous novels. If Wuthering Heights is a storm, Agnes Grey is a delicate breeze. Anne Bronte believed the purpose of writing is to educate but the moral lessons present are extremely subtle that the whole narrative immediately results in an overall reflection. Moreover the narrative is made all the more personal when considering that it is semi-autobiographical since Anne drew on her experiences as a governess. Fans of Jane Austen will in particular appreciate this novel.

To think that the Bronte sisters died young begs the question whether other works of the same calibre may have transpired had they lived. The home of the Bronte’s the Yorkshire moors became for the sisters a hive of creativity as both children and adults. All three novels do not just tell one story but are multi-layered. Claims that the books are outdated or are only for girls because they are simply ‘love stories’ are unfounded as many of the themes are still relevant today such as love, revenge, religion and discrimination. They question the essence of life, guidance, human relationships and nature. Moreover they provide a way of viewing how life was lived as well as symbolising the fears of the Victorians vividly which notably were of the lower classes becoming powerful. Purchasing this collection will allow you to return and reread the novels as every reading provides a new interpretation and perspective on the events and characters. This distinguishes the Bronte’s superiority from other authors as they provide no direct answers to the problems faced by their characters so that rereading the novels becomes a gripping search for clues that point towards future events and towards the mystery.

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