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

Fair copy manuscript of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre [folio: 1r]

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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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Jane Eyre: mixing the familiar and the fantastic

Article by:
John Bowen
Theme:
The novel 1832–1880

In her writing as a child and as a young schoolteacher, Charlotte Brontë moved effortlessly between ordinary and imaginary worlds. Professor John Bowen explores how this dual existence made its way into her novel 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.

The figure of the governess

Article by:
Kathryn Hughes
Themes:
Gender and sexuality, Poverty and the working classes

From Jane Eyre to Vanity Fair, the governess is a familiar figure in Victorian literature. She is also a strange one: not part of the family, yet not quite an ordinary servant. Kathryn Hughes focuses on the role and status of the governess in 19th century society.

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Bronte’s Jane Eyre: The Figure of Bertha Mason

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