- Paperback: 564 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (January 25, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1456534831
- ISBN-13: 978-1456534837
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5,894 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,963,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights Paperback – January 25, 2011
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About the Author
Charlotte and Emily Brönte were the two eldest surviving daughters of a clergyman’s family. Born and brought up in Yorkshire, they spent much of their lives in the village of Haworth, where their home is now a museum. Emily was extremely shy and never married, and died from tuberculosis at the age of 30. Charlotte married a curate, Arhtur Bell Nicholls. It is believed that she died while pregnant due to dehydration brought on by a severe case of hyperemesis gravidarum. Jane Austen (1775-1817) is considered to be one of the finest writers in English Literature. Next year will see many commemorations of the 200th anniversary of her death. Born and brought up in Hampshire in the south of England, her witty writing has entertained numerous generations of readers, and her works have been adapted into many films and TV series. --This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
A) Text oriented editions (that is, editions with few materials added: normally an Introduction, annotation, and perhaps Charlotte's Peface and Biographical Notice and some bibliographical indications).
1. Oxford World's Classics: authoritative text, good annotation,
2. Penguin's Classics: same as above, everything looks a little shorter but is excellent nonetheless.
3. Wordsworth Classics edition. This would be a rather fine edition as befitting this collection, if it had a good 1847 text and not the heavily tampered-with Charlotte's 1850 edition. The text itself reflects accurately that of the 1900 Haworth Edition -a careful one-. The wording changes aren't perhaps so worrying nor is the toning-down of the dialectal tirades -although funny and useless-. What is worrying is the disappearance of more than six hundred paragrapph entries (I mean just the paragraphing, not the contents itself!), that makes for a different -and worse- reading experience. Very good and full -if brief- annotation. Mass-market, glued paperback.
4. Heather Glen's for Routledge. One of the finest text-oriented editions, especially for the excellent Introduction and Epilogue together with its good annotation, out-of-print for rather obscure reasons. If you find still a very good to fine copy at amazon Canadian branch (or at abebooks.com, it would be a good buy.
5. Orchises two-volume facsimile reprint of the 1847 edition. No notes nor any additional material. the books are well produced if a little expensive. Very interesting item, but only suitable for textual scholars or would-be scholars, or otherwise for fetish-oriented WH-maniacs.
B) Study-oriented editions (i.e. editions that contain additional contextual information: early reviews, selection of Emily's poems, critical essays, chronologies of the novel or of the Bronte family...).
6. Norton's Fourth Edition (current item): OK, the text is still a little idiosyncratic, but the notes are much improved, and so is everything else (with the anthology of poems, and the critical essays). A very fine study edition but also suitable for a first contact, although annotation is still on the scarce side. Good paperback production without flaps but signature-sewn (or so it seems) and good paper and printing quality (albeit with a rather small type).
7. Broadview edition by Beth Newman: it's one of the best study editions overall. There are some minor textual foibles and the annotation is decidedly scanty (to make amends for Heywood excesses) but good and accurate, and both Prof. Newman ecellent Introduction and the selection of the additional contextual material is, arguably, the finest ever (including the very interesting document on "Brain fever"). Materially speaking, it is a good paperback without flaps with good paper and printing quality (like Norton Critical, although I can't ascertain without tearing apart my copy of Beth Newman's that it be signature-sewn instead of glue-only "perfect binding). In any case a very good buy.
7. Alison Booth's for Longman Cultural. Other of the very best study editions available. The text is deadly acuurate -except for some 1850 unobtrusive detail- on the
Clarendon 1976 reference critical edition, although the punctuation -like Norton Critical, Broadview's Newman and Oneworld's one- has been silently lightened and modernized throughout. It looks like glue-only "perfect binding" paperback, but perhaps it is signature-sewn. Paper and printing quality are good enough. The only misgiving I have is the overdone fragmentation of contextual material (good and relevant material though it is): there are 40+ items, many of them very short or they wouldn't fit into 430 pages. One of the best possible buys.
8. Onewold's Classics edition. A fine paperback edition with flaps, very good paper and printing quality and (I rather surmise than know for sure) signature-sewn. The text looks like 1847 in paragraphing but it takes in too
many of 1850 "improvements" and is wrong at some places: it's short of a disaster, but rather non-reliable (in spite of the well-meant efforts by the almost anonymous editing panel who perpetrated it). Annotation is good and comprehensive enough, but the contextual material is rather scanty and run-of-the-mill non-commital.
9. Barnes&Noble's Tatiana Holway edition (hardcover). To say it promptly the only fault with this lovely edition (but, as stated above in wordsworth Classics edition, a really big fault) is its accurate and reliable 1850 Haworth Edition text. Other than this, it looks as a popularly oriented edition, but with quality marks. The Introduction by Daphne Merkin is good enough, the annotation by Holway is really excellent. Supplementary material is very scanty: the "Charlotte's prefatory materials" of 1850 (prefixed to the text, which is a pity), and some comments about film and TV adaptations as well as some chosen excerpts of reviews. Material production is outstanding: nice hardcover with dust jacket, good paper and printing quality, the only good available edition in a becoming format (Clarendon Edition is very hard to come by nowadays: say one to three years to pin it down). Don't forget the Franklin Mint editions of the sixties and seventies if you are interested in a very beautiful book with a reliable 1847 text and illustrations by Alan Reingold (and nothing else).
At any rate, I didn't read Jane Eyre until this year and found myself immediately drawn into the book. The first part, told from a child's point of view, is so vivid, and the character created is so likable that I couldn't put it down. What I found most interesting was how Jane discovers that her curious combination of analytical thinking and emotion-based reactions was intimidating to the adults around her. Some found it "unnatural" while the more simple (like her stepmother) found it "deceitful." Later, we find out that Jane does have a manipulative bent to her nature, but she uses her powers for good. Still, perhaps the adults picked up on her ability to see them clearly enough to manipulate them and found this horrifying in a young child. I found this the most interesting and powerful part of the book. While the rest of it was as well-written, my attention tapered off.
I'm sure that's due to the fact that Jane Eyre had such a huge impact and because of it this once unique romance is now a cliche. At any rate, the plot is a cliche--the poor governess falls for the dark and brooding master with a terrible secret, yet she, with her sweetness and goodness overcomes all obstacles to live happily ever after.
This is an extremely common plot, but I found as I read Jane Eyre that it rises above its imitators in several ways. For one thing, Mr. Rochester is not the domineering demon lover so common to the gothic romance. In fact, I found him a bit of a flippant Chatty Cathy with an amusing, if lightweight, line of patter. In addition, Jane has him figured out from the get go and runs circles around him. She knows who she is, and she has a clear idea of her own moral boundaries that she's created more or less on her own, rather than blindly accepting whatever she was taught as a child. (She saw too much hypocrisy and ineptitude from the adults around her for that.)
Rochester, on the other hand, hasn't the strength of mind that she does primarily because he has no sense of moral boundaries. And he thinks, wrongly, that he'll be able to persuade her, if he just talks loudly, and fast enough, and appeals to her emtions, into spurning her moral convictions.
The real love here is in Jane's understanding of his limitations and the way she often manipulates him in order, at times, to protect him from his selfish, heedless, and impetuous actions.
In fact, what stands out to me in the romance part of the novel is how the main characters take turns manipulating each other. Some of them manipulate entirely in the other person's interests (rather like Andy Griffith's Sheriff Taylor on the Andy Griffith show--and I bet that is the first time in history Andy Griffith has been compared to a Bronte character); while the others manipulate in the more common way of trying to get their own way.
The least enjoyable and yet most fascinating part of this book is the final section where we meet St. John. Here is where Charlotte Bronte's genius is revealed. She first of all shows us Rochester who is openly selfish and flawed and physically unattractive, then she introduces us to St. John who is almost miraculously handsome, is ethically above reproach even to the point of denying himself love for intelligent reasons...and yet he is far more unattractive than Rochester. He is, in fact, a coldly manipulative narcissist.
Without pointing anything out directly, Bronte shows us how Jane reacts to both men. With Rochester she is a strong, vital, charismatic woman who can hold her own and provide support where those she loves require it to combat their own weaknesses. With St. John she becomes a meek, frightened, helpless enabler who almost loses sight of her own convictions in the face of his unyielding self-certainty. The irony for me is that St. John, although representing Christendom, is the real "demon lover" that Rochester is most commonly seen as. Rochester is a flawed human and Bronte never attempts to present him as anything else. St. John, however, is a monster in sheep's clothing. This part of the book was the true gothic part of the novel I felt, since it was the only time the heroine felt helpless and trapped.
Without fail I always find that where the classics are concerned it's like a game of "telephone," where someone says something and it gets passed on until by the time it reaches the person at the end of the line it barely resembles the original comment. My idea of Jane Eyre hasn't survived the actual reading of the novel--and for that, I'm glad. This is a far better book than its imitators make it out to be.