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Jane Eyre (Penguin Classics) Audio, Cassette – Abridged, Audiobook

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Editorial Reviews


"At the end we are steeped through and through with the genius, the vehemence, the indignation of Charlotte Brontë."
--Virginia Woolf

About the Author

Charlotte Bronte lived from 1816 to 1855. In 1824 she was sent away to school with her four sisters and they were treated so badly that their father brought them home to Haworth in Yorkshire. The elder two sisters died within a few days and Charlotte and her sisters Emily and Anne were brought up in the isolated village. They were often lonely and loved to walk on the moors. They were all great readers and soon began to write small pieces of verse and stories.

Once Charlotte’s informal education was over she began to work as a governess and teacher in Yorkshire and Belgium so that she could add to the low family income and help to pay for her brother Branwell’s art education. Charlotte was a rather nervous young woman and didn’t like to be away from home for too long. The sisters began to write more seriously and published poetry in 1846 under male pen names – there was a lot of prejudice against women writers. The book was not a success and the sisters all moved on to write novels. Charlotte’s best-known book, Jane Eyre, appeared in 1847 and was soon seen as a work of genius. Charlotte really knew how to make characters and situations come alive.

Charlotte’s life was full of tragedy, never more so than when her brother Branwell and sisters Emily and Anne died within a few months in 1848/49. She married her father’s curate in 1854 but died in 1855, before her fortieth birthday.


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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Penguin Global; abridged edition edition (November 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140861874
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140861877
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 4.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,522,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

This is what sets it apart: it is the depth of these thoughts and feelings that make the novel interesting.
Paul McGrath
Charlotte Bronte is so convincing in her description of Jane's love for Mr Rochester that if anyone ever asks me again `what is love?'
The book begins slowly, and the plot hinges on coincidence, but that aside the book is well worth 450+ pages.
The Nerd

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

100 of 117 people found the following review helpful By Albert Einstein on August 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
Don't get me wrong, Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books. However, this version of Jane Eyre has millions of footnotes so you are forced to constantly flip back and forth to see if the footnotes are saying anything useful.

When the character Adele is speaking paragraphs of French, they don't bother translating it for you but they will gleefully tell you what's going to happen one-hundred pages later in the book.

Reading this version of Jane Eyre is like watching a movie with an over-enthusiatic friend who keeps talking through the whole movie and telling you what's going to happen. If you're going to read Jane Eyre, I would reccomend different version
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Paul McGrath on April 22, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There is so much to be said for this novel that it's difficult to know where to begin. It is a superb evocation of a time and place; it is a complex, detailed character study; it has a believable and compelling plot; and, more than anything else, it is a magnificent love story.

Of course, love stories are the common denominator of human existence and have been the subject of literature since mankind first put charcoal to rock, so the fact that Jane Eyre is a love story is nothing terribly significant. No, what makes this novel so special is the thoughtfulness with which its narrator, Jane Eyre herself, documents her love affair. She is extremely intelligent, she carefully analyzes her feelings and actions, and she is scrupulously honest with both herself and her reader. This is what sets it apart: it is the depth of these thoughts and feelings that make the novel interesting. Beyond that, though, it is the character of Jane, slowly revealed, that makes the novel a delight.

The plot is Jane's story. Orphaned, she is sent to live with her cruel aunt and cousins. At the age of ten she is sent away for good to a charity school, at which she gets her education, but which is run in such a miserly fashion that many of the students there actually die of disease and starvation. Jane survives, and at the age of eighteen, is able to secure a position as a governess to a child in a great house of England: Thornfield Hall. It is owned by Edward Rochester, the man who will become the centerpiece of her life.

How the two begin to slowly realize their affection for one another, how they then cautiously begin to act on their feelings, and how they must then surmount the obstacles in their path--both societal and self-inflicted--are what make up the bulk of the novel.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Fisher TOP 500 REVIEWER on August 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
After her uncle dies, Jane Eyre is grudgingly raised by her aunt (bound unwillingly by a promise made to her husband), in a home where she's constantly reminded of her inferior birth, orphaned state and dependence on her relatives. To top it off, she is of unremarkable appearance and is as poor as a church mouse. Yet there is something in Charlotte Bronte's protagonist that sets her apart from the rest of the world, a sense of self-worth and self-discipline that gives her strength and resilience against the many hardships that she'll face in her lifetime.

Charlotte Bronte's story begins with Jane as a young girl, living unloved and neglected amongst the untouchable splendour of Gateshead and the Reed family. Jane's only escape is in her love of books and learning, for her spiteful aunt and cousins have no control over the power of her mind - though reading must be done on the sly as John Reed will stoop so far as to deprive her of books he has no interest in himself. When such an event occurs, Jane summons up the spirit to defend herself against her cousin and is duly punished for it. Estranged from human company, her aunt orders her locked in the red room, the chamber in which her uncle dies and which holds imaginary horrors for Jane. This terrifying experience is the catalyst of her childhood which will be remembered in all frightening and unnatural occurrences henceforth in her life.

Relief from her extended family comes only when she is called away to school, and despite the poor living conditions and the zealous religious restrictions of Lowood School's patron Mr Brocklehurst, Jane finds a new outlook on life through her somewhat sentimental friendship with the pious Helen Burns.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Peter Reeve VINE VOICE on January 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
The title character of this novel is unusual, indeed, extremely rare - Marian Halcombe in The Woman in White is the only other such romantic literary heroine I can think of - in that she is not physically attractive. She has neither looks nor fortune. Most romantic heroines have the former but not the latter. It is Jane's character alone that the hero falls in love with. It is clear from the writing that Charlotte herself was unattractive and painfully aware of it. Strangely, the reading public have been unable to accept this, the very element of the book that makes it a perfect romance. The portrait of Charlotte that is most often reproduced is an idealized effort that makes her look beautiful. And whenever a screen adaptation is made of the book, the actress playing Jane is always beautiful. This reduces the theme to that of a rich man falling for a pretty servant girl. As always with classic literature, if you have only seen the movie, you emphatically do not know the book.

My first Bronte novel was Emily's Wuthering Heights, which I found very disappointing, with its heavy-breathing masochistic melodrama. But sister Charlotte is a writer of a very different caliber. From the first few pages, the reader knows they are in the hands of a great artist. The heartrending portrait of childhood with which the story opens is based on the author's own experiences, and it shows.

The book is not without flaws. The latter stages of the plot are carried along by a series of totally incredible coincidences and there is rather more Victorian melodrama than most modern readers would care for. But it remains, with its Plain-Jane heroine and its unlikely hero (in the end, he satisfies none of the conventional requirements of a romantic hero) the perfect romance. Never was the power of love more satisfyingly expressed.
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