Jane Eyre

By Charlotte Brontë,

Book cover of Jane Eyre

Book description

Introduction and Notes by Dr Sally Minogue, Canterbury Christ Church University College.

Jane Eyre ranks as one of the greatest and most perennially popular works of English fiction. Although the poor but plucky heroine is outwardly of plain appearance, she possesses an indomitable spirit, a sharp wit and great courage.…

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Why read it?

29 authors picked Jane Eyre as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I first read this novel when I was ten. Pages had fallen out and even though I later found intact copies, I read it over and over to fill the gaps in my understanding.

How I loved the way Jane took charge of her fate with such intelligence, the way she captured Rochester’s heart without demeaning herself. But oh that madwoman she encountered in the attic. What did Jane make of Bertha, this “clothed hyena?”

Unlike Rochester, she didn’t blame Bertha for her violence. And while she understood Rochester’s dilemma she couldn’t agree to stay with him. In an intolerable…

The romantic power of this story has never left me.

I read Jane Eyre as a high-school student studying my favorite subject, English Literature. I loved the gothic gloom and mystery, secrets to be explored and solved. Jane epitomizes the seemingly weak female who ultimately shows the greatest strength while Rochester oozes protector energy, a man with a dark past.

The contemporary protector romances I love today haven’t strayed far from the over-arching themes of the books of my teenage years, and there is comfort in that. I’ve yet to figure out exactly why, but like all of us, I…

This is a beautiful book. It is a story of unconditional love and devotion between Jane and Mr. Rochester.

Through Jane, the story shows us how a young woman who starts out as an orphan in a harsh environment where she is forced to accept her lot in life, digests her experiences, and makes her own way.

I like to read about female main characters who triumph over obstacles to find joy and peace. The teachings of Jane’s home and her boarding school restrain her. But Jane becomes strong on her journey to self-development through challenging obstacles and moments of…

I absolutely love wounded heroes, and Charlotte Bronte is a master at this trope.

Even the powerless Jane gets to control her life. It’s hauntingly romantic. I love reading this book and disappearing into her world. No matter how bad her life gets, and it gets pretty bad, things work out for her in the end

Of this novel, Virginia Woolf famously remarked, “The writer has us by the hand, forces us along her road, makes us see what she sees, never leaves us for a moment or allows us to forget her.”

The voice of Jane is so powerful, so real, that some thought that she and her author were one. But no.

In Jane, Bronte presents a truly modern self that all can relate to.

We may not be orphaned, abused, and alone as Jane is. But we do have to, like her, fight for our own sense of self and dignity in…

Jane Eyre is a book I read and teach at least once a year. Its early section about childhood is, for me, the archetype of all impossible childhoods. Jane is orphaned, misunderstood, oppressed by the awful relatives who take her in, and abused by officials of Lowood School, the institution they palm her off on. Deprivation and hunger are the daily facts of her life. Humiliation, physical “punishment,” and the threat of hell are used to control her fellow wards. She is not so easily controlled. She watches while some of her fellow children, including her beloved friend Helen Burns,…

From Deborah's list on impossible childhoods.

At the altar, heartbroken on discovering her husband-to-be is already married, Jane renounces him. When he asks her to live with him as ‘man and wife’ in France, she refuses, as it goes against her Christian principles. 

What’s so fascinating about Jane Eyre is comparing Jane’s choice, given her reasons at the time (mid-1800s), to how that choice would probably have been completely different given a twenty-first-century context. This ‘daring’ book was considered anti-Christian by many but nevertheless, I wonder how many readers at the time asked themselves the question, What would I have done? 

Jane Eyre is an eerily evocative novel in which two Victorian mansions present with sinister apparitions. Jane’s first terrifying ghostly encounter occurs in Gatesfield Hall when a wicked aunt locks her in the red room, haunted by her deceased uncle. After years in the harsh world of Lowood Institute for orphaned girls, she becomes the governess at Thornfield Hall. Jane falls in love with the dashing but brooding Edward Rochester, though also senses a mysterious, foreboding presence within the walls of his Thornfield home. On their wedding day, after discovering Rochester is still married to a madwoman he keeps…

From the first time I read Jane Eyre it became, and remains, my favorite novel. Charlotte Bronte is an expert at drawing you into the characters while weaving in symbolism that makes each subsequent read one of discovery. It may seem a strange choice given the other books on my list and the nature of my own book, but there is a small supernatural element to Jane Eyre, and there are a lot of key elements of the story that are dictated by Fate. Don’t let the fact that this book may have been required reading in school put…

From Michelle's list on fate dealing its infamously fickle hand.

Gothic horror novels were wildly popular in Jane Austen’s day, and she made fun of them and their readership in Northanger Abbey, but I much prefer Bronte’s later, serious treatment of the genre’s features: the “haunted” house, the threatened female protagonist, and the supernatural elements which cannot be explained away. Jane Eyre is so familiar and has been adapted for film so often that it’s hard to take each plot twist as the revelation it once was, but do your best, and you will be richly rewarded. Besides—I don’t care what he tried to pull on Jane, I <3…

From Christina's list on spooky romance for chilly nights.

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