The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
  • Publication Date: July 30, 2009
  • ISBN: 9781551115085 / 1551115085
  • 488 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

  • Publication Date: July 30, 2009
  • ISBN: 9781551115085 / 1551115085
  • 488 pages; 5½" x 8½"

Anne Brontë’s second and last novel was widely and contentiously reviewed upon its 1848 publication, in part because its subject matter domestic violence, alcoholism, women’s rights, and universal salvation was so controversial. The tale unfolds through a series of letters between two friends as one man learns more about Helen Huntingdon and the past that brought this young painter and single mother to Wildfell Hall. Powerfully plotted and unconventionally structured, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is now considered to be a classic of Victorian literature.

This Broadview Edition includes a critical introduction that situates the novel in significant Victorian debates, and provides appendices that make clear Brontë’s intellectual inheritance from important eighteenth-century writers such as Hannah More and Mary Wollstonecraft. Material on temperance, education, childrearing, and nineteenth-century women artists is also included in the appendices.


“I will always order Lee A. Talley’s Broadview edition of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, which I teach nearly every year. The historical and scholarly contexts are beautifully summarized. This is an eminently useful edition. Well done again, Broadview!” — Deborah Denenholz Morse, The College of William and Mary

“This Broadview Edition is a rich resource, unrivaled in its range of contextual materials. When you read them, you see where Anne Brontë was coming from and why she felt compelled to ‘tell the truth’ as she saw it. Lee A. Talley’s clear, accessible introduction orients readers to issues that teachers will want to consider and that students and general readers will find eye-opening. The footnotes are useful and easy to access. I will always order this edition in the future.” — Sue Lonoff, Harvard University Extension School

“Lee A. Talley, in the introduction to her new edition of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, succinctly argues Anne Brontë’s case for wanting to write and publish her disturbing but powerful story, even as she addresses Anne’s own status as third sister, explains early publishing confusion (including Charlotte’s pervasive influence on Anne’s reputation), and evaluates the novel’s first reviews. To allow readers their own judgments, Talley includes numerous helpful appendices placing Tenant within the legal, educational, and philosophical contexts of Victorian culture, and as with other Broadview texts, provides an extremely useful sampling of contemporary reviews.” — Andrea Westcott, Capilano University

Anne Brontë: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

Appendix A: Other Writings by Anne and Charlotte Brontë

  1. Anne Brontë, Letter to the Reverend David Thom (30 December 1848)
  2. Anne Brontë, “To Cowper” (1846)
  3. Anne Brontë, “A Word to the ‘Elect’” (1846)
  4. From Charlotte Brontë, “Biographical Notice of Ellis and Acton Bell” (1850)
  5. Charlotte Brontë, Introduction to “Poems by Acton Bell” (1850)

Appendix B: Contemporary Reviews

  1. Athenaeum (8 July 1848)
  2. The Examiner (29 July 1848)
  3. Fraser’s Magazine (April 1849)
  4. The Literary World (12 August 1848)
  5. North American Review (October 1848)
  6. Rambler (September 1848)
  7. Sharpe’s London Magazine (August 1848)
  8. The Spectator (8 July 1848)

Appendix C: Women’s Education

  1. From Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792)
  2. From Hannah More, Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education (1799)
  3. From Sarah Lewis, Woman’s Mission (1840)
  4. John Cowie, “Noble Sentiments on the Influence of Women,” Howitt’s Journal (March 1847)

Appendix D: Wives

  1. From Hannah More, Coelebs in Search of a Wife (1808)
  2. From Caroline Norton, A Letter to the Queen on Lord Chancellor Cranworth’s Marriage and Divorce Bill (1855)

Appendix E: Childrearing

  1. From Hannah More, Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education (1799)
  2. From John S.C. Abbott, The Mother at Home (1833)
  3. From John S.C. Abbott, The Child at Home (1834)
  4. From Sarah Lewis, Woman’s Mission (1840)
  5. From Berthold Auerbach, “Every–day Wisdom, Plucked from the Garden of Childhood,” Howitt’s Journal (January 1848)
  6. From Anonymous, “The Moral Discipline of Children,” British Quarterly Review (April 1858)

Appendix F: Temperance

  1. From Joseph Entwisle, “On Drinking Spirits,” The Methodist Magazine (July 1804)
  2. J.P. Parker, Lecture on Temperance and Slavery, Howitt’s Journal (24 April 1847)
  3. From Anonymous, “Temperance and Teetotal Societies,” Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine (April 1853)
  4. Thomas Buchanan Read, “What a Word May Do” (1868)

Appendix G: Women and Art

  1. Anonymous, “Let Us Join the Ladies,” Punch (July 1857)
  2. From Ellen C. Clayton, English Female Artists (1876)

Select Bibliography

Lee A. Talley is Associate Professor of English at Rowan University.