Jane Eyre

Front Cover
Random House Publishing Group, Oct 31, 2000 - Fiction - 704 pages
4 Reviews
Jane Eyre is a wildly emotional romance, with a lonely heroine and a tormented Byronic hero, pathetic orphans, dark secrets, and a mad-woman in the attic. When it was published in 1847 it was a great popular success. The power of the writing, the masterly handling of narrative, and the boldly realistic style were much admired. But when Currer Bell, the pseudonymous author, was revealed to be Charlotte Bronte, a young woman from a bleak Yorkshire parsonage, critics were disapproving. Jane Eyre is full of erotic tension, passion, and irony. These were not qualities encouraged in Victorian women writers, and Jane Eyre was an 'immoral production' to more than one contemporary. For late-twentieth-century readers, however, the book is an astonishing paradigm of feminist writing. At its heart is the assertion that a woman has the right to be independent, and its insistence on that fact and on the equality of the sexes makes it a truly revolutionary work of art.
 

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User Review  - soniaandree - LibraryThing

Getting books that give pointers as to the various themes and summaries was very helpful in the course of my studies and this one on Jane Eyre helped me go beyond the book itself. I had read the novel ... Read full review

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User Review  - angelanne - LibraryThing

Jane Eyre tells of a background coming from an unloved almost reviled childhood fighting the teachings of tradition to gain independance and fighting the natural desires of love. Torn between love and her moral upbringing that she fought so hard to defy. Read full review

Contents

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Twentyone
Chapter Twentytwo
Chapter Twentythree
Chapter Twentyfour
Chapter Twentyfive
Chapter Twentysix
Chapter Twentyseven
Chapter Twentyeight

Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen
Chapter Fourteen
Chapter Fifteen
Chapter Sixteen
Chapter Seventeen
Chapter Eighteen
Chapter Nineteen
Chapter Twenty
Chapter Twentynine
Chapter Thirty
Chapter Thirtyone
Chapter Thirtytwo
Chapter Thirtythree
Chapter Thirtyfour
Chapter Thirtyfive
Chapter Thirtysix
Chapter Thirtyseven
Chapter Thirtyeight
Copyright

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About the author (2000)


Charlotte Bronte was born at Thornton, Yorkshire, on April 21, 1816. Her father, Patrick Bronte, became curate for life of the moorland parish of Haworth, Yorkshire, in 1820, and her mother, Maria Bronte, died the following year, leaving behind five daughters and a son who were cared for in the parsonage by their aunt, Elizabeth Branwell. The eldest daughters, Maria and Elizabeth, died in 1825 from tuberculosis contracted at the religious boarding school to which they (along with Charlotte and her younger sister Emily) had been sent. (All the Bronte children ultimately suffered from lung disease.)

Raised at home thereafter, Charlotte, Emily, their youngest sister, Anne, and brother, Branwell, lived in a fantasy world of their own making, drawing on their voracious reading of Byron, Scott, Shakespeare, The Arabian Nights, and gothic fiction, and writing elaborate poetic and dramatic cycles involving the histories of imaginary countries. Charlotte's early writings revolved around the kingdom of Angria, about which she wrote melodramatic tales of passion and revenge. She spent a year studying at Miss Wooler's school in Roe Head (later relocated to Dewsbury Moor), and went back there to teach from 1835 to 1838; subsequently she worked as a governess.

With Emily, Charlotte traveled in 1842 to study languages at a boarding school in Brussels; her close emotional attachment to her instructor, M. Heger, a married man, would later figure in her fiction. Charlotte and Emily went home after a year because of their aunt's death; Charlotte subsequently returned to Brussels for a year of teaching, 1843 to 1844. A joint collection of poems by Charlotte, Emily, and Anne—published pseudonymously as Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell—appeared in 1846. The three sisters had in the meantime each written a novel, of which Emily's Wuthering Heights and Anne's Agnes Grey were accepted in 1847 for publication the following year. Charlotte's first novel, The Professor, based on her experiences in Brussels, was rejected by a series of publishers (it finally appeared posthumously in 1857).

Jane Eyre was published under Charlotte's pseudonym, Currer Bell, in 1847 and achieved commercial and critical success; it had gone through four editions by the time of Charlotte's death. Jane Eyre won high praises; William Makepeace Thackeray (who later became a friend) declared himself 'exceedingly moved and pleased,' and George Henry Lewes applauded its 'deep significant reality'; it was also criticized by some for the rebelliousness of its heroine and for what the Quarterly Review called 'coarseness of language and laxity of tone.'

During this period the Brontes underwent repeated tragedies. Branwell, despite his early promise, had been ravaged by the effects of drink and drugs, and when he found work as a tutor in the same household where Anne was a governess, his involvement with his employer's wife led to his dismissal; he died in September of 1848, followed three months later by Emily and the following year by Anne. Charlotte, the sole survivor, published two more novels, Shirley (1849), a novel of Yorkshire during the Napoleonic period, and Villette (1853), a further fictional exploration of her Brussels experiences. In 1850 she met the novelist Elizabeth Gaskell, with whom she formed a close friendship; Gaskell later wrote the classic biography of her friend, The Life of Charlotte Bronte (1857). Charlotte married her father's curate, Arthur Bell Nicholls, in 1854, and died on March 31, 1855.

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