Charlotte Brontë: Shirley

(1820 words)
  • Judy Giles

Shirley, Charlotte Brontë's second novel, published in 1849 two years after JaneEyre, is set in the early years of the nineteenth century at the time of the Napoleonic Wars and the Luddite riots. The first edition, as was standard at the time, was published in three volumes. At the start of the novel Charlotte Brontë, stung by some critics' condemnation of the passion and emotion in Jane Eyre, insists that this new novel will be unlike what has gone before. Addressing her readers she asks: “Do you anticipate sentiment, and poetry, and reverie? Do you expect passion, and stimulus, and melodrama? Calm your expectations; reduce them to a lowly standard. Something real, cool and solid lies before you; …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Giles, Judy. "Shirley". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 November 2001
[, accessed 07 July 2015.]