The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is the second and final novel by English author Anne Brontë, published in 1848 under the pseudonym Acton Bell.
It is framed as a letter from Gilbert Markham to his friend and brother-in-law about the events leading to his meeting his wife. The novel challenged the prevailing morals of the Victorian era. Especially shocking was Helen's slamming of her bedroom door in the face of her husband after continuing abuse, thereby overturning the sexual politics for the time. One critic went so far as to pronounce it "utterly unfit to be put into the hands of girls", though another cited it as "the most entertaining novel we have read in a month past." It is considered to be one of the first feminist novels.
The 1st edition, published in three volumes by T. C. Newby around 1 July 1848. T. C. Newby was renowned for poorly supervising the printing and correction of the novels that he published. This edition is no exception; it contains many errors.
The emended 1st edition, published in three volumes by T. C. Newby later in July 1848. This edition incorporated many corrections into the unsold sheets of the 1st edition.
The 1st American edition, published by Harper Brothers on 28 July 1848. Newby misled Harper Brothers as to the authorship, resulting in the 1st American edition being attributed to "Acton Bell, author of Wuthering Heights". This edition was heavily edited by the Harper Brothers house-editor, and is therefore not regarded as authoritative.
The 2nd edition, published mid-August 1848, incorporating more corrections and an author's preface, but also introducing some new errors.
The Parlour Library edition, published by Thomas Hodgson in 1854 as issue 106 of the Parlour Library series. Hodgson condensed the book into a single volume by omitting large amounts of material including, most notably, Markham's opening letter to Halford. Other material was rearranged to compensate for the omissions. This edition is therefore regarded as corrupt or "mutilated".
The Clarendon edition, published in 1992 by The Oxford University Press. This is based on the English first edition, but incorporates the English second edition's corrections and author's preface. This is now regarded as the canonical edition.