Shirley is an 1849 social novel with an embedded Victorian romantic drama by the English novelist Charlotte Brontë. It was Brontë's second published novel after Jane Eyre. The novel is set in Yorkshire in the period 1811–12, during the industrial depression resulting from the Napoleonic Wars. The novel is set against a backdrop of the Luddite uprisings in the Yorkshire textile industry. The novel's popularity led to Shirley's becoming a woman's name. Before the publication of the novel, Shirley was an uncommon - but distinctly male - name and would have been an unusual name for a woman. Today it is regarded as a distinctly female name and an uncommon male name. While Brontë was writing Shirley, three of her siblings died. Her brother Branwell died in September 1848, and her sister Emily fell ill and died in December. Brontë resumed writing, but then her only remaining sibling, her sister Anne, became ill and died in May 1849.
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