From the Back Cover
Following the tremendous popular success of Jane Eyre, which earned her lifelong notoriety as a moral revolutionary, Charlotte Bronte vowed to write a sweeping social chronicle that focused on "something real and unromantic as Monday morning". Set in the industrializing England of the Napoleonic wars and Luddite revolts of 1811-12, Shirley (1849) is the story of two contrasting heroines. One is the shy Caroline Helstone, who is trapped in the oppressive atmosphere of a Yorkshire rectory and whose bare life symbolizes the plight of single women in the nineteenth century. The other is the vivacious Shirley Keeldar, who inherits a local estate and whose wealth liberates her from convention. A work that combines social commentary with the more private preoccupations of Jane Eyre, Shirley demonstrates the full range of Bronte's literary talent.
About the Author
(1816-1855), English writer noted for her novel Jane Eyre (1847), sister of Anne Bronte and Emily Bronte. The three sisters are almost as famous for their short, tragic lives as for their novels. The collection of poems, Poems By Currer, Ellis And Acton Bell
(1846), which Charlotte wrote with her sisters, sold only two copies. Her novel The Professor
never found a publisher during her lifetime. Undeterred by this rejection, Charlotte began Jane Eyre
, which appeared in 1847 and became an immediate success. Jane Eyre
was followed by Shirley
(1848) and Vilette
(1853). Lucasta Miller
read English at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. She is the author of The Brontë Myth
and writes for The Guardian
. Jessica Cox
is a research student and postgraduate tutorial assistant in the Department of English at the University of Wales Swansea. Her research interests include the sensation fiction of the 1860s, the feminist movement of the nineteenth century and the Victorians in the twentieth century.