Shirley (Wordsworth Classics)
The Shirley of the title is a woman of independent means; her friend Caroline is not. Both struggle with what a woman's role is and can be. Their male counterparts - Louis, the powerless tutor, and Robert, his cloth-manufacturing brother - also stand at odds to society's expectations. The novel is set in a period of social and political ferment, featuring class disenfranchisement, the drama of Luddite machine-breaking, and the divisive effects of the Napoleonic Wars.
But Charlotte Brontës particular strength lies in exploring the hidden psychological drama of love, loss and the quest for identity. Personal and public agitation are brought together against the dramatic backdrop of her native Yorkshire. As always, Brontë challenges convention, exploring the limitations of social justice whilst telling not one but two love stories.
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.
Charlotte Bronte (1816-55) is perhaps the most admired of the Bronte sisters. Jane Eyre is her greatest and most loved novel.
Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 2.8 x 19.8 cm