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Jane Eyre (Norton Critical Editions) Paperback – December 13, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

Review

One of Shaw's best works, Pygmalion is a perceptive comedy of wit and wisdom about the unique relationship between a spunky cockney flower-girl and her irascible speech professor. The flower girl Eliza Doolittle teaches the egotistical phonetics professor Henry Higgins that to be a lady means more than just learning to speak like one. The performance by the L. A. Theatre Works is technically flawless and a world-class performance of a theatrical classic. --Midwest Book Review --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

Richard J. Dunn is Professor of English at the University of Washington. His books include the Norton Critical Edition of Wuthering Heights, Approaches to Teaching Dickens’s David Copperfield, David Copperfield: An Annotated Bibliography, The English Novel, Twentieth-Century Criticism, Defoe to Hardy, and Oliver Twist: Whole Heart and Soul.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 552 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Third Edition edition (December 13, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393975428
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393975420
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.2 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (138 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,211 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

176 of 193 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Guyer on August 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
This review is aimed more toward the Norton edition than to JANE EYRE. We all know this is a classic. Bronte was simply a genius and a harbinger of romantic, dramatic, gothic, and horror writing. (However, it still irks me that she couldn't end a simple sentence with a period. Every declarative statement, it seems, must be qualified with a colon or semi-colon. Oh well. Sign of the times.)

As for the Norton edition, it's the only one to buy. Bronte makes the assumption that you have read the Bible cover-to-cover a zillion times, and for those of us who have not read it through once, Norton's annotations are more than helpful---they're essential to understanding the novel's Christian allusions. This edition also provides the reader with critical essays, contexts of Bronte's life, Bronte's reactions to critics of her day, etc.

Bottom line: you can get the Dover Thrift edition for a couple bucks, but, if you are interested in giving this classic more than a cursory read, this edition is worth the extra money.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By E. Strickenburg on September 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
If you already love this book - with its lush style, gothic suspense, striking characters, and passionate romance - but are still looking for the right edition to purchase, search no more. You've found it.

In addition to nicely laid-out typeface and margins, this edition has truly helpful footnotes. They point out the origin of obscure quotations, the meanings of archaic words, and the translations of the smattering of French interspersed throughout the book. Footnotes are found at the bottom of the page within the text, taking away the need for unnecessary flipping to the back of the book. And unlike other footnotes I've read, they don't waste your time pointing out things that are fairly obvious.

At the end of the book is a section entitled "Contexts." This contains helpful biographical information about the author, not just in a summary format, but in actual source documents. We can read letters Charlotte Bronte wrote while at boarding school. Or parts of her journal while she was working as a governess. Or letters to her publisher. Or responses to her book written at the time of its publication.

A section of "Criticism" follows, containing six essays, which focus on everything from assessment of Jane and Mr. Rochester's interactions to a survey of film adaptations of the book. The essays are varied in their perspective and quite interesting to read. This edition was last released in 2001, so the survey of film adaptations doesn't cover the most recent versions, but is a fascinating look at the variation within the previous versions.

My only complaint about this edition is the cover. It is burnt orange in color, and the illustration isn't one I would have picked. But the quality of the edition certainly outweighs any aesthetic concerns with the cover.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Wyote VINE VOICE on May 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
If you're thinking of reading Jane Eyre, and you want to understand it, this edition is the one for you. The footnotes are very helpful, explaining the allusions to the Bible or older literature that you might not pick up on, as well as some of the vocabulary. The contemporary reviews in the back are great - everyone must read Elizabeth Rigby's review. Our culture has changed so much, we don't understand how revolutionary books like Jane Eyre once were. The essays of modern criticism are also very helpful. Someone did a very good job with this book.

A few reviewers wrote that Jane Eyre is not entertaining or something. Actually, it is if you understand it. To me, Jane Eyre is up there with Shakespeare, the Great Gatsby, Catcher in the Rye as some of the deepest, most well thought-out stories I know of. It is a book to read 2 or 3 times before you draw your conclusion.

So - in short - read Jane Eyre, and use the Norton Critical Edition.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By christine on September 13, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pygmalion is a brilliant success by George Bernard Shaw to modernize the legendary Greek tale of a sculptor who falls in love with his artsitic creation and wishes to bring her to life. The rags-to-riches tale of Eliza Doolittle captivates the reader with its fast paced storyline, and witty dialogue. Shaw fascinates the reader with complicated characters such as Henry Higgins, Doolittle, and Colonel Pickering. Set in England, during a period of sophistication and elegance, Higgins and Pickering were faced with the seemingly impossible task of transforming a filthy flower girl (Eliza) into a beautiful duchess. The outrageous antics that ensue are both humorous and entertaining. Shaw's playful dialogue and timeless plot have been updated to fit the social and cultural standards of our time. For example, Alan Jay Lerner's My Fair Lady is an internationally acclaimed musical adaptation of Shaw's classic play. 1999 brought yet another adaptation of Pygmalion, in the form of the film She's All That, penned by R. Lee Fleming Jr. This teen comedy brings a new twist to the classic characters of Shaw's play. Pygmalion is a quick read and an enjoyable way to spend the day, and the characters in the story will remain with you forever.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Anne Salazar on March 29, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a really nice edition since it has George Bernard Shaw's original text AND the script of Lerner and Loewe's musical adaptation, including the lyrics. I actually read the play in the Simon and Schuster paperback edition and followed each act by reading this book's My Fair Lady; the lyrics are a lot of fun to read, just as they were fun to hear in the movie or the soundtrack or on the stage.

While I was reading Pygmalion, Henry Higgins comes across as even more insufferable than the character as depicted by Rex Harrison. But Shaw was trying to make a point in his play -- actually, several points -- about the English language. For example, the Publisher's Note in this edition quotes Shaw in 1902 discussing what he emphatically states as the stupid, unnecessary use of apostrophes in such words as won't, can't, haven't, etc., and it strikes me that in today's abbreviated computer-speak (lol, omg, etc.) his desire is finally come to pass. Oh well, it only took a hundred years.

But the use of apostrophes is just one point made seriously but humorously in both play and musical, and you really need to read both to understand the full message about the use of language and "types" of people, including Eliza's father, not to mention the Conclusion to the play not widely known by the non-readers among us. I thought both the play and the musical were delightful and this is a wonderful edition because it includes the full text of both, but the Simon and Schuster edition has Shaw's complete Epilogue.
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