Charlotte Brontë, Shirley

Judy Giles (York St John University)
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, Charlotte Brontë's second novel, published in 1849 two years after


, 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; something unromantic as Monday morning”.


tells the story of a Yorkshire…

1810 words

Citation: Giles, Judy. "Shirley". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 November 2001 [, accessed 21 June 2024.]

2086 Shirley 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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