First published in 1847, and thought to be based on Anne Bronte's own experiences, Agnes Grey offers a fascinating insight into the plight of the educated spinster in Victorian times, for whom becoming a governess was the only respectable career available. In working with two different families, the Bloomfields and the Murrays, the eponymous heroine confronts the problems that face a young woman presiding over, spoiled, disobedient children for a living, and about the ability of wealth and status to destroy social values. The conditions under which most governesses worked in the 19th century were frequently harsh, and part of the emotional intensity of Agnes Grey comes from knowing that the author had experienced many of them first hand. Agnes Grey is a milestone in English literature, offering a wry, penetrating observation of middle-class Victorian Britain. Full Synopsis
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