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Agnes Grey/Bronte, Anne/Paper/0140432108/S040-D
"The statistics touching lunatic asylums give a frightful proportion of governesses in the list of the insane," wrote Fraser's in 1844. "But has the whole life in home schoolrooms ever been investigated?" Drawing on her own experiences, Anne BrontÙ wrote her first novel out of an urgent need to inform her contemporaries about the desperate position of unmarried, educated women driven to take up the only "respectable" career open to them - that of governess. Struggling with the monstrous Bloomfield children and then disdained in the superior Murray household, Agnes tells a story that is at once a compelling inside view of Victorian chauvinism and ruthless materialism and, according to George Moore, "the most perfect prose narrative in English literature".