In the north of England in the Victorian era, a pastor's family is experiencing financial hardship. Thereupon the younger, quite spoiled daughter Agnes decides to work as a governess to support the family. But the children as well as the adults of the well-situate house, with whom Agnes gets to do, make it difficult for her to handle her new situation. And also as Agnes meets the young Edward Weston and develops feelings for him, she does not seem to be on the lucky side of life...
"Agnes Grey" is the first novel by the British writer Anne Brontë (1820-1849), the youngest sister of the well-known writers Charlotte and Emily Brontë as well as the painter and poet Patrick Branwell Brontë. The book appeared in the English original in December 1847, but was originally published under the pseudonym Acton Bell.
The book tells about the activities and experiences of the protagonist Agnes Grey as governess in various well-situate households of Victorian England.
Based on literary scientific knowledge, it is assumed that the story is based essentially on the author's own experience as a governess. Like the novel "Jane Eyre" of her sister Charlotte, the book deals primarily with the difficult social situation of the governesses. On the one hand, due to their origin and education, they belonged to the bourgeoisie, but on the other hand, they were forced to work in other households.
"Agnes Grey" is one of the classics of 19th century English literature and one of the few representatives of the subgenre of the Victorian Governess novel and at the same time a so-called Bildungsroman. With the description of the title figure, Anne Brontë presents an unusually emancipated point of view for a woman of the Victorian period, since it is not only the financial hardship that makes Agnes Grey work as a governess, but also the desire to implement an individual life.