Jane Eyre

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Jane Eyre

by Charlotte Bronte
Introduction by Diane Johnson

Random House Publishing Group | November 14, 2000 | Trade Paperback

4.4516 out of 5 rating. 31 Reviews
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Introduction by Diane Johnson
Commentary by G. K. Chesterton, Virginia Woolf, Elizabeth Rigby, George Saintsbury, and Anthony Trollope
 
Initially published under the pseudonym Currer Bell in 1847, Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre erupted onto the English literary scene, immediately winning the devotion of many of the world's most renowned writers, including William Makepeace Thackeray, who declared it a work "of great genius." Widely regarded as a revolutionary novel, Brontë's masterpiece introduced the world to a radical new type of heroine, one whose defiant virtue and moral courage departed sharply from the more acquiescent and malleable female characters of the day. Passionate, dramatic, and surprisingly modern, Jane Eyre endures as one of the world's most beloved novels.
 
Includes a Modern Library Reading Group Guide

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 752 pages, 8 × 5.23 × 1.09 in

Published: November 14, 2000

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0679783326

ISBN - 13: 9780679783329

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– More About This Product –

Jane Eyre

by Charlotte Bronte
Introduction by Diane Johnson

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 752 pages, 8 × 5.23 × 1.09 in

Published: November 14, 2000

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0679783326

ISBN - 13: 9780679783329

Read from the Book

There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. We had been wandering, indeed, in the leafless shrubbery an hour in the morning; but since dinner (Mrs. Reed, when there was no company, dined early) the cold winter wind had brought with it clouds so sombre, and a rain so penetrating, that further out-door exercise was now out of the question. I was glad of it: I never liked long walks, especially on chilly afternoons: dreadful to me was the coming home in the raw twilight, with nipped fingers and toes, and a heart saddened by the chidings of Bessie, the nurse, and humbled by the consciousness of my physical inferiority to Eliza, John, and Georgiana Reed. The said Eliza, John, and Georgiana were now clustered round their mama in the drawing-room: she lay reclined on a sofa by the fireside, and with her darlings about her (for the time neither quarrelling nor crying) looked perfectly happy. Me, she had dispensed from joining the group; saying, ''She regretted to be under the necessity of keeping me at a distance; but that until she heard from Bessie, and could discover by her own observation that I was endeavouring in good earnest to acquire a more sociable and childlike disposition, a more attractive and sprightly manner,—something lighter, franker, more natural as it were—she really must exclude me from privileges intended only for contented, happy, little children.'' ''What does Bessie say I have done?'' I asked. ''Jane, I don''t like cavillers or questioners:
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From the Publisher

Introduction by Diane Johnson
Commentary by G. K. Chesterton, Virginia Woolf, Elizabeth Rigby, George Saintsbury, and Anthony Trollope
 
Initially published under the pseudonym Currer Bell in 1847, Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre erupted onto the English literary scene, immediately winning the devotion of many of the world's most renowned writers, including William Makepeace Thackeray, who declared it a work "of great genius." Widely regarded as a revolutionary novel, Brontë's masterpiece introduced the world to a radical new type of heroine, one whose defiant virtue and moral courage departed sharply from the more acquiescent and malleable female characters of the day. Passionate, dramatic, and surprisingly modern, Jane Eyre endures as one of the world's most beloved novels.
 
Includes a Modern Library Reading Group Guide

From the Jacket

Initially published under the pseudonym Currer Bell in 1847, Charlotte Bronte''s Jane Eyre erupted onto the English literary scene, immediately winning the devotion of many of the world''s most renowned writers, including William Makepeace Thackeray, who declared it a work "of great genius."
Widely regarded as a revolutionary novel, Bronte''s masterpiece introduced the world to a radical new type of heroine, one whose defiant virtue and moral courage departed sharply from the more acquiescent and malleable female characters of the day.
Passionate, dramatic, and surprisingly modern, Jane Eyre endures as one of the world''s most beloved novels. This Modern Library Paperback Classics edition includes newly written explanatory notes.

About the Author

Diane Johnson is the author of many books, including the bestselling novel Le Divorce, which was a 1997 National Book Award finalist, and Le Mariage.

Editorial Reviews

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

Bookclub Guide

1. In Jane Eyre, nothing can better show a man''s moral worth than the way in which he treats the women in his life. How is Rochester''s character reflected in the way he treats Jane, Adele, Bertha Mason, and Miss Ingram, and in his reported treatment of Celine Varens? How is St. John''s character reflected in the way he treats Jane, Miss Oliver, and Diana and Mary? Why does this serve as such a good gauge of a man''s morality and worth? What other relationships serve similar functions in the novel?

2. Throughout the novel, questions of identity are raised. From her identity as an orphan and stranger in the hostile environment of Gateshead Hall to that of a ward of the church at Lowood; from her being a possible wife of Rochester, then of St. John, to being the cousin of Diana and Mary, Jane is constantly in transition. Trace these changes in identity and how they affect Jane''s view of herself and the world around her. Describe the final discovery of her identity that becomes apparent in the last chapter of the novel and the events that made that discovery possible.

3. Throughout the novel, Charlotte Brontë uses biblical quotes and religious references. From the church-supported school she attended that was run by Mr. Brocklehurst to the offer of marriage she receives from St. John, she is surrounded by aspects of Christianity. How does this influence her throughout her development? How do her views of God and Christianity change from her days as a young girl to the end of the novel? How is religion depicted in the novel, positively or negatively?

4. Many readers of Jane Eyre feel that the story is composed of two distinct parts, different in tone and purpose. The first part (chapters 1-11) concerns her childhood at Gateshead and her life at Lowood; the second part is the remainder of the story. Is creating such a division justified? Is there a genuine difference of tone and purpose between the two sections as they have been described? Some critics and readers have suggested that the first part of Jane Eyre is more arresting because it is more directly autobiographical. Do you find this to be true?

5. Upon publication, great speculation arose concerning the identity of the author of Jane Eyre, known only by the pen name Currer Bell. Questions as to the sex of the author were raised, and many critics said that they believed it to be the work of a man. One critic of her time said, "A book more unfeminine, both in its excellence and defects, it would be hard to find in the annals of female authorship. Throughout there is masculine power, breadth and shrewdness, combined with masculine hardness, coarseness, and freedom of expression." Another critic of the day, Elizabeth Rigby, said that if it was the product of a female pen, then it was the writing of a woman "unsexed." Why was there such importance placed on the sex of the author and why was it questioned so readily? What does it mean that people believed it to be the product of a man rather than of a woman?

6. Scenes of madness and insanity are among the most important plot devices in Jane Eyre. From the vision Jane sees when locked in the bedroom at Gateshead to her hearing the "goblin laughter" she attributes to Grace Poole, to the insanity and wretchedness of Bertha Mason, madness is of central importance to the plot and direction of the story. Give examples of madness in the text, and show how they affect the reader''s understanding of the character experiencing the madness and how these examples affect the reader''s understanding of the characters witnessing it.

7. There is probably no single line in the whole of Jane Eyre that has, in itself, attracted as much critical attention as the first line of the last chapter: "Reader, I married him." Why is the phrasing of this line so important? How would the sense be different-for the sentence and for the novel as a whole-if the line read, "Reader, we were married"?

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