Jane Eyre

Charlotte Brontë’s (1816–1855) iconic novel of 1847 is subtitled ‘An Autobiography’. It is an example of a Bildungsroman: a work that traces the education and development of its heroine, and follows her journey through life. The text combines realism with fairy tale and Gothic motifs. Jane is a bullied, but rebellious, orphan, whose suffering continues when she is sent to Lowood School. She eventually becomes a governess at Thornfield Hall, where she is proposed to by her employer, Edward Rochester. A Byronic figure, Rochester holds a dark secret: he is already married, to an insane woman incarcerated in the attic. Some contemporary reviewers voiced concerns, accusing the author of coarseness and anti-Christian sentiments.

Fair copy manuscript of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre

Opening page from the handwritten copy of Jane Eyre, with the text 'by Currer Bell' crossed out

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Creator:
Charlotte Brontë
Published:
1847
Full title:
Jane Eyre: An Autobiography
Forms:
Prose
Genre:
Victorian literature
Literary period:
Victorian

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History

Article by:

Jane Eyre and the rebellious child

Article by:
Sally Shuttleworth
Themes:
Childhood and children's literature, The novel 1832–1880

Drawing on children’s literature, educational texts and Charlotte Brontë’s own childhood experience, Professor Sally Shuttleworth looks at the passionate and defiant child of Jane Eyre.

Fairytale and realism in Jane Eyre

Article by:
Carol Atherton
Theme:
The novel 1832–1880

Dr Carol Atherton explores how Charlotte Brontë mixes fantasy with realism in Jane Eyre, making use of fairytale and myth and drawing on the imaginary worlds she and her siblings created as children.

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Bronte’s Jane Eyre: Women in 19th Century England

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