Shirley was written throughout one of the darkest periods of Charlotte Brontė's life. She was completing it during the time when her brother Branwell died in September of 1848. She lost her sisters Emily and Anne too, before the end of the next summer. The novel is set in the north of England, specifically Yorkshire, in the later years of the Napoleonic Wars and the time of the Luddite riots which were caused by the introduction of new machines that replaced human labour. Robert Gerard Moore, a mill owner, decides despite the mood of the time to buy the latest labour-saving devices. His workers threaten to destroy the mill and eventually to take his life. To improve his lot, Robert attempts to marry the heiress Shirley Keeldar who believes she loves him. Bronte introduces a true love interest in Robert's cousin Caroline Helstone and out of the murky social conflicts and poverty we reach something of a resolution. Shirley is characteristic of the 1840s and 1850s trend of the social class conflict novel (with Dickens and Disraeli) and also tackles the issue of the need for useful employment for women
Table of contents
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29
Chapter 30
Chapter 31
Chapter 32
Chapter 33
Chapter 34
Chapter 35
Chapter 36
Chapter 37

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