DOI: 10.1515/zaa-2023-2024 ISSN: 0044-2305

“To this Silent Paper I May Confess it”: Diary Writing and Trauma in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

Ayşegül Kuglin
  • Literature and Literary Theory
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Language and Linguistics


The diary section in Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is often criticized. However, Helen’s diary is an essential element of the novel: recording and processing her traumatic first marriage in her diary is an important means of character development, making it possible for Helen to heal, and to experience what experts term posttraumatic growth. According to Herman as well as Tedeschi and Calhoun, the only way to recover from, and grow beyond, trauma is to narrate it. In the novel, Helen does this through recording and confronting her traumatic experiences in her diary.