Shirley, A Tale is a social novel by the English novelist Charlotte Brontë, first published in 1849. It was Brontë's second published novel after Jane Eyre (originally published under Brontë's pseudonym Currer Bell). The novel is set in Yorkshire in 1811-12, during the industrial depression resulting from the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812. The novel is set against the backdrop of the Luddite uprisings in the Yorkshire textile industry.
The novel's popularity led to Shirley's becoming a woman's name. The title character was given the name that her father had intended to give a son. Before the publication of the novel Shirley was an uncommon but distinctly male name. Today it is regarded as a distinctly female name.