Anne Bronte's first novel, Agnes Grey, combines an astute dissection of middle-class social behavior and class attitudes with a wonderful study of Victorian responses to young children which has parallels with debates about education that continue to this day. In writing the novel, Bronte drew on her own experiences, and one can trace in the work many of the trials of the Victorian governess, often stranded far from home, and treated with little respect by her employers, yet expected to control and educate her young charges. Agnes Grey looks at childhood from nursery to adolescence, and it also charts the frustrations of romantic love, as Agnes starts to nurse warmer feelings towards the local curate, Mr. Weston. Sally Shuttleworth's fascinating introduction considers the book's fictional and narrative qualities, its relationship with Victorian child-rearing and the responsibilities of parents, and the changing attitudes to the book influenced by modern concerns for children's rights. The new edition includes a revised and updated bibliography as well as revised notes drawing on the latest critical material. Agnes Grey is based on Anne Bronte's own experiences as a governess and is full of interest both for its autobiographical content and its powerful depiction of the plight of the governess in Victorian society. The fascinating introduction considers the book's fictional and narrative qualities and its relationship with Victorian discourses on child-rearing and the responsibilities of parents. It examines changing attitudes to the book influenced by modern concerns for children's rights, which produces more complex responses to Agnes's treatment and description of her pupils. Sally Shuttleworth brings to bear her in-depth knowledge of the Haworth context and childhood in nineteenth-century literature, medicine, and science, and looks at the representation of childhood cruelty in the novel, as well as the novel's portrayal of class and attitudes to women. - Publisher.