“All our talents increase in the using, and every faculty, both good and bad, strengthens by exercise: therefore, if you choose to use the bad, or those which tend to evil till they become your masters, and neglect the good till they dwindle away, you have only yourself to blame.” – Anne Bronte
Both novelist and poet, the youngest member of the Brontë literary family (her sisters Emily and Charlotte also were widely published and read during her short lifetime), Anne was born on this date in 1820. She died at age 29 from tuberculosis and the flu, only a few months after the death of her sister Emily from a similar malady.
Her novel The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, published just months before she died, was considered both brilliant - for its complex, multi-layered plot - and shocking, especially in that staid Victorian era. It was an instant hit and sold out in just weeks. Still studied in writing programs around the globe, Tenant’s depiction of alcoholism and debauchery was both disturbing and an awakening to 19th-century sensibilities, especially in its revelation about the treatment of women.
In issuing a call to action from her readers, she wrote: “No generous mind delights to oppress the weak, but rather to cherish and protect.”
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