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Jane Eyre

by Charlotte Brontė

(1816 - 1855)

First Published:  1847 

Jane Eyre is a psychological romance novel about an orphan told in first-person.  The novel is a fictional account of events, people, and places closely resembling the author's own life that takes place in northern England during the mid-1840s.  Jane Eyre matures from an orphaned child left to grow up in the care of an abusive aunt into a compassionate teacher and governess living in the midst of wealth.

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Jane Eyre was written by Charlotte Brontė, but published under the pseudonym, Currer Bell, a name that had neither feminine nor masculine identity.  However, the story itself is very emotional with feminine interests built into the drama.  The characters, setting, and plot were autobiographical.  With Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontė introduced a new type of heroine to English adult romanticism endowed with intelligence and pluck.


The Story

Orphaned as a baby, Jane Eyre is cared for by an aunt, Mrs. Reed of Gateshead Hall.  After ten years of abuse and neglect, Jane is sent to Lowood School to study.  At age eighteen she becomes a teacher for the school, and later takes a position as a governess at Thornfield Hall, an estate owned by Mr. Edward Rochester.  At Thornfield, Jane falls in love with Edward only to discover at the altar that he is already married to a madwoman.  In despair Jane leaves Thornfield penniless and is found starving by Reverend St. John Rivers who admires Jane and envisions her as his assistant in missionary work.  After a supernatural occurence involving Edward Rochester, Jane Eyre returns to Thornfield Hall to find the mansion has been burned to the ground by Edward's mad wife.  Upon finding Edward, he and Jane rebuild their love and start a family together.


PN761 .N5 Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism Vol. 3 and 8 
PN41 .D5 Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 21
PN 523 .W67 World Literature Criticism Vol. 1
PR 85 .B688 British Writers Biography - Vol. 5
PR 85 .N39 New Moulton's Pre-Twentieth Century Criticism of British and American Literature to 1904 Vol. 8
PR 85 .M33 Major Author's Edition of the New Moulton's Pre-Twentieth Century . . . . to 1904 Vol. 4
PN 50 .L574 Literature and Its Times Vol. 2
PR 751 .N65 Novelists and Prose Writers Pgs. 162-165

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Catherine Olson adapted by Melinda Cavanaugh 9/7/2000 links checked 3/28/02