"No one can be lonely who has a book for company." ~ Nelle Reagan

Friday, July 1, 2011

Book Review: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre
Author:  Charlotte Bronte
First Published October 1847 by Smith, Elder and Co.
This Edition:  Oxford University Press 1980
473 pages
Includes:  Introduction, Note on the Text, Select Bibliography, A Chronology of Charlotte Bronte, Preface, Volumes I-III (the entire story is told in three volumes), Explanatory Notes
ISBN 0-19-281513-X
Source:  I purchased this edition of Jane Eyre

This book is our book club book of the month for June 2011.

From the cover:  Widely regarded as one of the finest novels in the English language, Jane Eyre has also remained on of the most popular.

'Such a strange book!  Imagine a novel with a little swarthy governess for heroine, and a middle-aged ruffian for hero', wrote a contemporary reviewer.  Charlotte Bronte had concluded that publishers preferred the "wild, wonderful, and thrilling" to the 'plain and homely' when her first novel, The Professor, was rejected.  Certainly Jane Eyre contains much that is 'thrilling', and equally certainly it was welcomed by publishers and public alike.  The first edition in 1847 was followed by a second and third in quick succession, and had already reached a fifth edition before Mrs Gaskell's Life of the author in 1857 stimulated such an interest that 35, 000 copies of Jane Eyre were printed in two years."

A powerful and gripping 19th century novel, Jane Eyre is still as compelling a read now as it was a century ago.  Jane Eyre An Autobiography reads the title page making the reader wonder just who the book is really about.  There are striking similarities between the lives of Jane Eyre and Charlotte Bronte who wrote this novel under the pen name Currer Bell.  Both Charlotte Bronte and Jane Eyre lost their mothers at a young age, both had an aunt help raise them, both went away to school where the conditions were less than adequate, both became teachers, both were governesses, both dreamed of having their own school.  There are the similarities.  The differences lie in the rest of the story, of which the reader will have to ascertain on their own to avoid spoilers herein.

Bronte has the ability to capture the expanse of the moors, the cold and forbidding atmosphere of Lowood School, and the warmth of Moor House with such vividity that the reader can readily envision the locales, seeing it as Jane surely does. The reader tags along, caught up in the emotions that Bronte so easily provokes.  Jane Eyre is certain to be one of those books that one will recall with fondness, time and again, and desire to revisit time and again.  

One aspect of Charlotte Bronte's writing that caught my attention, is her  frequent reference to the writings of other authors throughout the book of Jane Eyre, which is a lovely way of introducing the reader to the works of other writers.  She particularly had a fondness for Shakespeare (Midsummer Night's Dream) and Scott, while quoting often from the bible too.  Doing so, Bronte further develops the stage set within the novel and the era thereof.  All in all, Bronte's enchantment lingers, the characters of Jane and Rochester remembered fondly, though time passes in the reading.  One still looks back in recollection of one of the greatest classics ever written, Jane Eyre's story is timeless.



  1. I read Jane Eyre for the first time this year and I loved it. I can't believe I had taken so long to read it. It has made me want to read more classics now than ever before!

  2. A reader left me this comment and I thought I'd pass it on in case any Bronte fans would like to check out this book that the reader recommended:

    Stumbled onto 'My Bookshelf' and saw last month's review of Jane Eyre . Hope you don’t mind this recommendation but thought you might be interested in a new and shocking Bronte bio. You can check out a free sample at Charlotte Bronte's Thunder. The author spent 7 years researching the Brontes and found startling new info that proves Charlotte wrote everything. You read that right. She proves Emily and Anne never actually wrote anything. Unbelievable I know but by the end of the book you’ll be convinced. No tricks, just facts that scholars never saw before. It's incredible what she uncovered. If you like codes, anagrams, and riddles you’ll love it. A Bronte expert privately agreed with her but he won’t support her publicly. That’s just wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's brilliant!


    Poppy D


Hey there! Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate all my visitors and your comments so please introduce yourself, ask or make suggestions. I'd love to hear from you. This blog is a no-award zone. I appreciate the acknowledgment but your kind words are enough.

No spam please!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...