Book review: Take Courage: Anne Bronte And The Art Of Life

Emily Bronte wrote Wuthering Heights, Charlotte Bronte penned Jane Eyre, even their brother Branwell has become infamous for his attempts at poetry and equally his perpetual drunkenness. 

Book review: Take Courage: Anne Bronte And The Art Of Life

Samantha Ellis

Chatto & Windus, £16.99;

ebook, £9.99

But Anne Bronte? Can you name what she wrote?

The target of playwright Samantha Ellis’ Take Courage is just that, history’s unfair dismissal of youngest Bronte Anne’s work, her relegation to the role of the ignored “other sister”.

It’s a robust, emotionally charged defence of the writer, whose death aged 29 left us with just a handful of poems and two novels , Agnes Grey and The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall.

Ellis’ main problem is that there is very little information, and very few certified facts, on which to build a whole picture of Anne — her hair colour can’t even be agreed upon — but the one she does manage to draw is of a woman misunderstood by historians and obscured by her sisters (Charlotte burned a lot of her work after she died), despite a mind blindingly sharp and progressive.

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