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Agnes Grey (Penguin Classics) Paperback – January 3, 1989

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Editorial Reviews


“The one story in English literature in which style, characters and subject are in perfect keeping.” —George Moore

From the Publisher

This book is in Electronic Paperback Format. If you view this book on any of the computer systems below, it will look like a book. Simple to run, no program to install. Just put the CD in your CDROM drive and start reading. The simple easy to use interface is child tested at pre-school levels.

Windows 3.11, Windows/95, Windows/98, OS/2 and MacIntosh and Linux with Windows Emulation.

Includes Quiet Vision's Dynamic Index. the abilty to build a index for any set of characters or words. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; 12th printing edition (January 3, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140432108
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140432107
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #782,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 74 people found the following review helpful By "kaia_espina" on October 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
After reading "Wuthering Heights" (by Emily), "Jane Eyre" (by Charlotte), and "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" (by Anne), I found myself slightly disappointed by the lack of passion and romanticism in Anne Bronte's "Agnes Grey". This novel truly is simple, unpretentious, and down-to-earth--and, therefore, far too easy to underestimate and undervalue.
The title character is the younger daughter of a poor family, who seeks employment as a governess in order to help her parents make ends meet. This noble act of maturity on her part earns her nothing but disillusion, humiliation and hardship in the hands of the tyrannical children and over-indulgent parents of Wellwood House (Note the intriguing initials W.H., which stand for Wuthering Heights and Wildfell Hall in other Bronte books) and, later, Horton Lodge. For several chapters, Anne Bronte does not do much but--dare I say it?--complain about the lot of the Victorian governess. Though her portraits of the children and their parents were obviously drawn from reality, which certainly won sympathy from me, I wanted to tell her to "Get on with the story" many times.
The plot does pick up after the artful and exasperating Rosalie Murray has her "coming out" ball. Thoughtless rather than tyrannical, Rosalie has the most well-drawn character of all of Agnes' charges, which makes her such a great foil for Agnes. Rosalie delights in thinking that she could have any man she wishes and enjoys nothing more than toying with men's hearts. When she finds out that Agnes might be in love with the curate, Edward Weston, she makes every attempt to make Mr. Weston fall in love with _her_, thinking that it would be a grand joke to make Agnes miserable. Yet it is impossible to hate her, somehow.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Catherine S. Vodrey on April 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
Anne Bronte constructs a vivid Victorian world in AGNES GREY, which isn't surprising since it's drawn so strongly on her own experiences.

Agnes is a dutiful clergyman's daughter who goes into the world to seek employment as a governess in order to contribute to her family's financial well-being. Her several positions are described with deadly accuracy--the bratty children, the yapping dogs, the secretly disdainful other servants, the uninvolved parents. All are rendered here in minute and telling detail.

Agnes's familial background--and the familial background of Anne Bronte, of course--makes her especially well-suited to describing a local cleric she dislikes: "His favourite subjects were church discipline, rites and ceremonies, apostolical succession, the duty of reverence and obedience to the clergy, the atrocious criminality of dissent, the absolute necessity of observing all the forms of godliness, the reprehensible presumption of individuals who attempted to think for themselves in matters connected with religion, or to be guided by their own interpretations of Scripture, and occasionally (to please his wealthy parishioners), the necessity of deferential obedience from the poor to the rich--supporting his maxims and exhortations throughout with quotations from the Fathers . . . But now and then he gave us a sermon of a different order--what some would call a very good one; but sunless and severe: representing the Deity as a terrible taskmaster, rather than a benevolent father . . .
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Laura Merucci on May 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
Anne Bronte is probably the least popular Bronte sister for some reason. She actually wrote two books (and Charlotte wrote four) but the only Bronte books anyone ever seems to know are Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Those are by far the most popular and have been adapted many, many times. Unfortunately given Anne's relative obscurity, there are very few adaptations of her works. There are a couple TV versions of her second novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, but only one of those is available on DVD and there are none at all of her first book, Agnes Grey. I think this is a real shame because I love both of Anne's books and because of this, I would say she's my favorite of the three sisters.

Agnes Grey tells of the titular character's life as a governess. Her family loses their fortune in an accident and so Agnes decides to work as a governess rather than be a burden on her parents- even though they are against this idea. She first teaches extremely bratty young children (the son is a sociopath who tortures his younger sisters and small animals) and then older, more worldly children. All of her pupils are spoiled to the core, but she gets along well enough with her second family of employment.

Like Jane Eyre, Agnes Grey is about a governess, but the two books are very different from each other. Agnes Grey is much more realistic, lacking all the gothic and mysterious elements. Anne based the story and characters on her own experiences as a governess, and thus all the bratty kids are very well realized. Agnes does fall in love but it's a more understated romance with a good man, but nothing like the tumultuous passion between Jane and Rochester. Anne Bronte's books are definitely the most realistic out of all of the Brontes and this one most of all.
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