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Jane Eyre (Penguin Classics) Paperback – August 15, 2006
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"At the end we are steeped through and through with the genius, the vehemence, the indignation of Charlotte Brontë."
About the Author
Charlotte Bronte (1816-55), sister of Anne Bronte and Emily Bronte. Jane Eyre appeared in 1847 and was followed by Shirley (1848) and Vilette (1853). In 1854 Charlotte Bronte married her father's curate, Arthur Bell Nicholls. She died during her pregnancy on March 31, 1855 in Haworth, Yorkshire. The Professor was posthumously published in 1857.
Dr Stevie Davis is a novelist, critic and historian. She is Director of Creative writing at the University of Wales Swansea. She is the author of four books on Emily Bronte, three novels, and three books in the Penguin Critical Studies series.
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Heathcliff and Catherine are the prime exemplars of this; Catherine’s love for Heathcliff is strong, but inchoate. She dies. Heathcliff is constitutionally stronger than Catherine, but after years of tormenting, both emotionally and physically, those around him, he suffers death by Romance as well.
I write this tongue-in-cheek. Wuthering Heights is a novel that should be read. Certainly it makes demands on its readers. But we should rise to meet its high mark.
As with most people nowadays I had been exposed to the story through movies and mini-series but didn't realise how much I was missing by not reading the author's actual words. Jane Eyre is written in the first person as a young Victorian woman who suffered in her childhood but eventually gained a fine education, found good employment and surprisingly someone to love her (the famous Mr Rochester), only to have her happiness taken away at the altar. She runs away, finds herself and her family again but cannot totally break her feelings for Rochester.
Charlotte Bronte weaves a novel of strength and length that lays bare the soul of Victorian England through the eyes of Jane Eyre. There is vivid description of the ways of life of the poor and the rich, the morality of the time, including their approach to the role of women, religion, wealth and class. Bronte gradually unfolds the story of Jane's life, struggles and emotions in an intense and spellbinding way and brilliantly uses coincidence and spiritual connections to tell her story.
To me Jane Eyre is one of the most honest and good characters in fiction. I read/listened to the book as an audiobook and the skills of the narrator, Emma Messenger, brought the book to life in an emotional and compelling way. 5 plus stars.