“Jane Eyre,” Charlotte Bronte

Herpreet Kaur Grewal
26 October 2005

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

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“Jane Eyre”
by Charlotte Bronte
Dover Publications | January 2003 | ISBN 0486424499

Recommended by Herpreet Kaur Grewal : “The idea of a passionate and independent heroine choosing her life when the status of women in Victorian times was limited is the great appeal of Jane Eyre. Although countless books with female leads now exist, there are few contenders to Jane Eyre – an individual whose rebellion is thought-out and profound not rash and superficial. Our unconventional protagonist is plain, orphaned and a loner, but determined to seek love and retain some autonomy and equality in her relationship with Edward Rochester. In many ways the narrative can be seen as a standard melodrama – a poor girl rising above her conditions and fate - but its memorably crafted characters and vivid scenes, written in an engaging prose style make it anything but. Bronte’s use of the supernatural adds an otherworldly luminosity to the novel, which is set against isolated, grey and gothic landscapes evocative of Eyre and Rochester’s stormy yearning for belonging (and each other) and their deprived, long-suffering histories.”

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What the publisher says: “Having endured humiliation and loneliness in the home of her heartless Aunt Reed, and the harsh regime of Lowood, a charity boarding school, the orphaned Jane Eyre survives her childhood unbroken in spirit and integrity. When she takes up a post as a governess at Thornfield Hall, she also finds love with her employer, the dark and sardonic Mr Rochester. But her discovery of Rochester’s terrible secret forces Jane to follow her own moral convictions, even if it means giving up her chance of happiness. Although many were shocked by its depiction of a woman’s bold and passionate search for independence and love on her own terms, Jane Eyre was an immediate success when it appeared in 1847 and remains one of the most popular of all English novels.”

portrait of Charlotte Bronte

About the author: Charlotte Bronte lived from 1816 to 1855. In 1824 she was sent away to school with her four sisters and they were treated so badly that their father brought them home to Haworth in Yorkshire. The elder two sisters died within a few days and Charlotte and her sisters Emily and Anne were brought up in the isolated village. They were often lonely and loved to walk on the moors. They were all great readers and soon began to write small pieces of verse and stories. Once Charlotte’s informal education was over she began to work as a governess and teacher in Yorkshire and Belgium so that she could add to the low family income and help to pay for her brother Branwell’s art education. Charlotte was a rather nervous young woman and didn’t like to be away from home for too long. The sisters began to write more seriously and published poetry in 1846 under male pen names – there was a lot of prejudice against women writers. The book was not a success and the sisters all moved on to write novels. Charlotte’s best-known book, Jane Eyre, appeared in 1847 and was soon seen as a work of genius. Charlotte really knew how to make characters and situations come alive. Charlotte’s life was full of tragedy, never more so than when her brother Branwell and sisters Emily and Anne died within a few months in 1848/49. She married her father’s curate in 1854 but died in 1855, before her fortieth birthday.

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