Bronteana: Bronte Studies Blog Archives

January 8, 2006


Filed under: Agnes Grey,Anecdotes,Bronteana,Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 12:31 am

Alas, Anne!!

I have a report to make on the state of Bronte currency in this corner of Canada. It looks like things have not improved much lately. And today I had a very sad experience. I still do not own a copy of Agnes Grey, or a proper collection of Anne's poetry. I went to the university bookstore today to get my books for classes which begin next week when I thought I would buy AG for myself since my birthday is in a week. I looked everwhere in the store, and firstly I have to say that this bookstore is the strangest I have ever seen. It does not include any 'literature.' 'Fiction' does not include any works by authors no longer living. I know that there's often a bias towards contemporary literature but this is ridiculous! I retreated, in defeat, to the check out.

"Did you find everything you were looking for?"

"Actually, I was looking for Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë?"

"The novel?"


"Did you try upstairs?"

There was no one upstairs. There shoudl be someone upstairs. So, I went upstairs. There was no one there- until then suddenly someone appeared from nowhere. I repeated my request.

"Grey with an E or an A?"

"You know, I am never sure. E I think."

"…And the first name?"

"Agnes… …Oh, you mean the author? Anne."

"Hmn… There's so many Charlotte and Emily- the older ones."

There was no Agnes Grey. They had Tenant but Agnes Grey was not even in their catalogue!

Fine, I thought. No problem- I'll go to the mall instead. They have a huge bookstore there with its own coffee shop and kiddie play castle! I decided to call ahead just to be safe.

*something between symphony and circus music is blaring in the background*

"What was that name again?"

"Anne Brontë!"

"Sorry, I couldn't hear over this symphony!"

And… it turned out they didn't have it either! There goes all but the second hand stores. I don't want to make it seem like Anne is the only Brontë suffering in this way. I also looked around for DVDs of Wuthering Heights and found stores only carrying one copy of one version of it. Hmn. I will never forget the time I called in after Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair.

"Eyre, spelt-"
"I know how to spell, Air! A-I-"
"No, Eyre- as in 'Jane Eyre"
"Hmnn…" (ie, 'well, we'll just see about that…')

Sometimes I wonder if I live in a Monty Python skit. "That's Dickens with two ks!" I went through the day with even my closest family looking at me like I was touched as I said: "I don't believe it! I just don't believe it! Not one copy of Agnes Grey?!"



  1. aww that’s really sad 😦
    Why should they leave out Anne?? really? I mean at least more stores have something that’s Charlotte’s or Emily’s. Anne tends to be more left out, in my opinion :-/

    Comment by mysticgypsy — January 8, 2006 @ 11:49 am |Reply

  2. It was especially bad that the university bookstore not have it. I know that it had been ordered for a class awhile back so it should have been in their catalogue at least!

    I’ve spoken about this to a friend of mine who works at Borders Books in the US. She said that they did not carry any books by Anne whatsoever until she ‘nagged the manager’ about it. She believes- and I agree from my own observations- that it is probably part of a strategy to stock more general reading and fewer ‘classics’ to appeal to a wider consumer base. :- I mean, our bookstore wastes nearly half of its floor space with a play castle and something like an Ikea store- all glassware, fabrics, thingies and whatsits that have nothing to do with reading. But at least they have Tenant? 😦 I did notice that they have one copy of Villette too. I tried to find Villette here for awhile but eventually a friend in Iowa just sent me a copy out of pity. She is certainly more left out- but all three of them are being shunned. Emily fares okay but she still only gets perhaps 3 copies of WH in that entire store, Charlotte has moved up from one copy of JE to one copy of JE, Villette, and The Foundling (for some odd reason her Juvenilia is not on the same shelf as her other works?). By contrast, J.R.R. Tolkein has about 5 shelves with different editions of the same four books. :- Things should change when the new Jane Eyre is released- or perhaps sooner, if ‘Brontë’ ever gets off the ground.

    Comment by Brontëana — January 8, 2006 @ 4:18 pm |Reply

  3. There is 1 hardcover book available through Paperback version is also available. I hope this helps!

    Comment by Anonymous — January 10, 2006 @ 6:30 pm |Reply

  4. Thanks for the tip! I usually order my books online, but I had not thought of getting it for my birthday until now. It takes usually 3 weeks for anything to get here if it has to come from the US.

    Comment by Brontëana — January 12, 2006 @ 11:47 pm |Reply

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