who were the important women novelists of the victorian age?
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The problem in answering this question is that inevitably, someone of significance is bound to be left out.
The Bronte sisters quickly come to mind as significant women novelists of the Victorian Age. Emily Bronte's masterpiece that combines gothic and period pieces is a phenomenal example: of course we are referring to Wuthering Heights. Sister Charlotte Bronte produced Jane Ayre. Another Bronte sister, Anne, did not have the stand out novels that her sisters did, but she wrote in a realistic rather than a romantic style.
Undoubedly, the most prolific female poet of the Victorian age was Elizabeth Browning, wife of poet Robert Browning.
I know we have left out many, but there is certainly a start.
Quite a number of women novelists significantly contributed to the richness & variety of Victorian fiction. We may name Mrs.Gaskell, the Bronte Sisters & George Eliot among them.
In her Mary Barton(1848) & North and South(1855) Mrs.Gaskell exposed the cruelty of the industrial system, showing her talent of combining social criticism and melodrama. She also pictured provincial life with a gentleness of humour in Cranford(1853).
Of the Bronte Sisters, Charlotte & Emily were the most famous. Charlotte's novels are grounded in realism and mostly autobiographical in nature. She combines scenes from her own life with far richer romantic experiences of her imagination in her Jane Eyre(1847), Shirley(1849), Villette(1853) & The Professor(1857). Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights(1847) is her only novel narrating with rare imagination & starkness of passion a strange story having a wild and cruel reality in the backdrop of moorlands.
Mary Ann Evans wrote under the name of George Eliot. Of the women novelists of the period, she was the most learned. Her early periodical publication, Scenes of Clerical Life(1857) was an immediate success. It was followed by Adam Bede(1859), a novel on the background of English rural life around the lively and pathetic figure of a young girl, Hetty Sorel. The Mill on the Floss(1860) told the story of the life of a brother and sister: the intospective and passionate girl reacting against the blunt and boisterous boy. Silas Marner(1861) was a short but well-designed narrative, followed by a historical novel of the Italian Renaissance, Romola(1863). Felix Holt(1866) was a radical work of the Reform Bill period, with an over-elaborate plot. Returning from the past to the present & having her intellect under the control of imagination, George Eliot wrote one of the greatest novels of nineteenth century, Middlemarch(1871-72).
Here is a list I found of nineteenth century female writers-
The three Brontë sisters, Charlotte, Anne, Emily
Anne Bronte, one of the more unknown Victorian novelists, writes about the challenges of governessing which impacts her female identity. Her major novel, Agnes Grey, focuses on Anne's life as a governess. Agnes works under difficult conditions, which mainly consist of a lack of respect between employer and employee and understands then and there, what being a governess is really all about.
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