Jane Eyre by Charlotte BronteJane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre

byCharlotte BronteIntroduction byDiane Johnson

Paperback | November 14, 2000


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
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.
Title:Jane EyreFormat:PaperbackDimensions:752 pages, 8 × 5.2 × 0.98 inPublished:November 14, 2000Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0679783326

ISBN - 13:9780679783329

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from SO. GOOD. I love Jane. I love Jane a lot. She's strong, and independent, and speaks her mind, and I love reading from her perspective. Is Mr. Rochester as great as I'd heard? No. There's no way I'd go for someone like him or encourage someone I know to pursue him. That being said, I enjoyed Jane and Rochester's interactions because she can dish it right back to him. For me, this book is so, so, so much more than their romance, though. It's watching a strong-willed girl be strong-willed and persist in what she believes, even if she can't always act on it immediately. She knows who she is, and who she is is pretty awesome.
Date published: 2017-11-14
Rated 2 out of 5 by from important, but i hate it jane is a great early feminist character. if read as a study of feminism and strong female characters, it isn't bad. if read as a romance it is absolute trash. Mr rochester is arrogant and rude and abusive. Trigger warnings for mistreatment of mentally ill persons and child abuse.
Date published: 2017-11-10
Rated 2 out of 5 by from important but i hate it jane is a great early feminist character. if read as a study of feminism and strong female characters, it isn't bad. if read as a romance it is absolute trash. Mr rochester is arrogant and rude and abusive. Trigger warnings for mistreatment of mentally ill persons and child abuse.
Date published: 2017-11-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A classic. Although not my personal favourite, Jane Eyre is definitely literarily valuable and one of those books I think any lover of English literarture should dive into.
Date published: 2017-10-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful novel Jane Eyre is an amazing novel. Everyone should read it.
Date published: 2017-08-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Great classic love the relationship
Date published: 2017-03-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Story! Classic! Love these penguin editions also
Date published: 2017-03-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Awesome Great story one of the best classics i've read
Date published: 2017-02-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favourites I loved Jane Eyre, it is suspenseful and eerie but can be relatable in many ways. Jane Eyre is a true heroine that will always have influence in my life.
Date published: 2017-01-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Kind of creepy It is certainly well written, but some aspects of the book creeped me out.
Date published: 2016-12-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Jane Eyre This is my favourite Victorian novel and one that truly stands the test of time. It gets better with every read - would highly recommend.
Date published: 2016-12-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love this! I love this novel. This is the novel where I realized my interest in Victorian literature. Such a great read. I have already read it twice
Date published: 2016-11-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Read it and read it again So far I've read Jane Eyre four times in 2016. It is in my top five books of all time. A wonderful tale.
Date published: 2016-11-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A classic that still stands today Charlotte Bronte's tale of Jane Eyre's struggles from childhood to adulthood still resonates with people today. That's a lot to say about a novel that's 200 years old. Bronte manages to combine a strong feminist heroine with a gothic atmosphere and air of mystery.
Date published: 2016-11-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Review of Jane Eyre “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë, published by Smith, Elder & Co. is about a plain heroine who possess courage and spirit. She was brought up in an unjust household, a strict boarding school and overcomes rigid social order as a governess for the adopted daughter of the mysterious Mr. Rochester. The novel Jane Eyre shows convincing internal character traits. Jane is shown to have passionate opinion when Mr. Brocklehurst had just left and she and Mrs. Reed were having a discussion “Jane, you are under a mistake: what is the matter with you? Why do you tremble so violently? Would you like to drink some water?” “No, Mrs. Reed.” “Is there anything else you wish for, Jane? I assure you, I desire to be your friend.” “Not you. You told Mr. Brocklehurst I had a bad character, a deceitful disposition; and I’ll let everybody at Lowood know what you are and what you have done.” “Jane, you don’t understand these things: children must be corrected for their faults.” “Deceit is not my fault!” “But you are passionate, Jane, that you must allow: and now return to the nursery-there’s a dear- and lie down a little.” “I am not your dear; I cannot lie down: send me to school soon, Mrs. Reed, for I hate to live here” Jane shows that even though Mrs. Reed is noticeably trying to be nice but Jane keeps on pushing her away because she won’t break her strong opinion. This conversation also shows Jane’s pride, where even if she might think that Mrs. Reed is being good Jane still won’t admit that she has judged her benefactress wrongly. Another example of her possible pride is since “Jane Eyre” is a fictional person’s autobiography Jane could have enhanced her grammar because as a ten year old her speech is quite proper even during a conversation to with her best friend, like “No; I know I should think well of myself; but that is not enough: if others don’t love me I would rather die than live- I cannot bear to be solitary and hated, Helen. Look here; to gain some real affection from you, or Ms. Temple, or any other whom I truly love, I would willingly submit to have the bone of my arm broken, or to let a bull toss me, or to stand behind a kicking horse, and dash its hoof at my chest-”, she sounds like a well-read adult. That is why “Jane Eyre” shows considerable core character qualities. Jane Eyre is an interesting novel because it spreads over a variety of elements. The book has a feature of romance between the strong Jane and Edward Rochester. Yet the couple is torn apart by a fiery, mad force that partakes in an element of mystery and madness. The force tears them apart yet still brings them together when it leaves Edward in a dependent state. Jane comes and she helps him, so Edward must trust her to guide him and do most things for him. The novel also features a strong lady as its protagonist, Jane Eyre. The novel has sorts for romance lovers, gothic fans and feminists. I feel that “Jane Eyre” is an old book that some would enjoy if they were committed to reading and understanding it. “Jane Eyre” probably has over one hundred odd pages of description that help enhance the scene’s mood to a superfluous amount. The novel has over religious themes and moral preaching, the last six words in the book are “Amen; even so come, Lord Jesus!” This would be something common at the time of this novel’s time praising Christian values as the compound for the prosperity pictured in this story. The world of “Jane Eyre” isn’t lost for love as of most romantic dramas. In the battle between self- respect and grand desire, principle wins unquestionably. Rousing, yet tender speeches do not make our heroine desert her belief to fall swooning and docile into her alpha’s arms. Those were some reasons that “Jane Eyre” is a longstanding yet still good novel. I only have a couple points of criticism for “Jane Eyre”. My view is that it was pretty unrealistic that Jane just happens to stumble upon her only relatives in England’s doorstep. It is very improbable that out of the influx of people immigrating to the England- Whales area and the elongated lives in the Victorian era, that she would find three people who are related to her and that one, St. John, happens to be a giving clergy man who convinces the maid to let Jane stay in their house for a bit. I felt that the ending of the novel was very cliché with marriages, everyone being happy and having everybody been accomplished their goals. Even if Jane did deserve the happy ending after her terrible childhood and hardships I expected a more ambiguous ending. Those topics were my only points of criticism of “Jane Eyre”. “Jane Eyre” is an overall good book. It shows understandable internal characteristics, it has elements for most people’s interests and after 169 years it stays a great classic that most love.
Date published: 2016-06-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An excellent book! this book is extremely well written which gives the reader motivated feelings. So heartwarming and full of romance and melodrama. This book is an unforgettable and a must read book.
Date published: 2016-06-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Classic! Absolutely love this book!
Date published: 2015-09-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Book Ever The story is gripping, the characters are loveable and the writing is beautiful. What can you not love about this book?
Date published: 2015-03-02
Rated 2 out of 5 by from meh I like that the protagonist is a girl and i love that it shows the capabilities of us girls but looking at the writing itself, I prefer Oliver Twist.
Date published: 2015-01-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the best! Jane survives her neglectful and cruel family only to find her true heart's desire become unattainable. Escaping into the wilderness, she finds herself settling for another only to hear the siren call of her lover again. Will all turn out as it should? Truly a delightful read.
Date published: 2013-07-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Glad I read it. 3.5 stars Jane was an orphan, raised by an aunt who really didn't want to raise her. At 10 years old, Jane was shipped off to a boarding school for orphans. At 18, after she'd been teaching at that school for a couple of years, Jane became a governess. The story continues to follow Jane through other events in her young life. It was good, though there were parts that dragged a bit for me and I found my mind wandering. I could have done without the religious stuff, but I enjoyed the turns that Jane's life took. Unfortunately, the book did feel long, and it took me a long time to read. In part, I can blame the holidays, but even the time I spent reading, it took longer to read a certain number of pages than it often does for me. However, overall, I enjoyed it and I'm glad I read it.
Date published: 2012-12-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A timeless classic Jane Eyre was born poor. When she was very young her parents died and her uncle, who was wealthy, had her come and live with his family. However her uncle died and Jane was not wanted in the household. Her cousins were not kindly towards her and she suffered abuse from her male cousin and aunt. Fairly soon she was sent off to a boarding school. The boarding school was austere but Jane loved to learn and 'turned out' fairly well. After finishing school she stayed to teach but soon grew bored and placed an ad for a position of governess. She found herself as a governess to Mr. Rochester's ward at Thornfield. But all is not as it seems, there is a very strange woman servant who works in the attic. A strange man appears one day and disappears with Mr. Rochester only to turn up injured. The doctor visits to patch him up and he then is spirited away. Jane grows steadily in love with Mr. Rochester. This novel was written in the 19th century when women were little more than a man's possession. Jane is a strong-willed feminine character. She is not afraid of going it alone and has strong principles. There were several situations where it would have been so much simpler to just give in. Even the male characters have something to learn, mostly humility. I had never read this book before and was enthralled. It is an ageless book full of strong characters, good and evil, romance and mystery.
Date published: 2011-09-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Classic! Classic. Although I'm not a fan of Mr.Rochester, i love the story.
Date published: 2011-05-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Classic I first read this book when I was in Grade 8 and have read this book a few times since then. One thing I like about the story is that while the story ends up in a fairy tale manner, the two main characters are anything but what we imagine our "fairy tale" characters to be like. Jane is a plain individual, who has a difficult past and who is trying to escape it by any way imaginable. Mr. Rochester isn't the dashing man who has money; he is moody and temperamental, with secrets of his own that he wants to desperately to hide at all costs. While I have read this book only a few times, the book still remains one of my favourites and would recommend it to anybody who loves to read and needs a good read for the summer or hasn't read a piece of classic Victorian literature. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2010-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great book I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Even more so than Wuthering Heights. WH was good too, but I enjoy reading something a little more cheerful, and this one was excellent.
Date published: 2009-11-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Gah! That's IT! I'm officially hooked on classic novels! Someone get me Pride and Prejudice pronto!
Date published: 2009-10-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic! Loved it!, This turned out to be an exceptional book though I didn't think so in the beginning. By what seems the hundredth page, I had decided it was a feminine version of David Copperfield but not as interesting. By the hundred and fiftieth page, I was completely discouraged and was sure it had turned into the very romantic mush I detest (a lot of what she feels about him and what he feels about her, and so on). Somewhere soon after that, I fell in and was absorbed. It became a tremendously good book with a fantastic plot and a good pace. I read for hours and hours at a sitting enjoying every single minute of it and only stopped when something absolutely forced me. Excellent, excellent! Jane Eyre is an orphaned child under the guardianship of her maternal aunt. Not liked by her aunt and not able to get along with her cousins, Jane is sent to Lowood School for the children of the poor (it is a charity school) to be taught the fundamentals and, more importantly, to be conditioned for a life of poor expectations. Lowood changes the strong willed, impetuous Jane into a woman of uncommon restraint. When she accepts a post as governess to Adele at Thornfield Hall, she attracts the attention of Mr. Rochester, the master of the house, who has the desire to reclaim himself from a sordid past. He comes to believe that Jane has the power to transform him and help him to realize himself in the better light that he has not heretofore been able to achieve on his own. But his secrets are not far away and peculiar events at Thornfield make the reader question his advances. Sworn not to ask about who or what is in the room on the third floor, Jane's iron resolve begins to falter with the dreamlike romance and the reader begins to trepiditiously hope for her happiness. When Mr. Rochester is unable to keep his past under wraps, however, Jane is forced onto a path that will require all of her internal resources to survive but will ultimately put her in the position to make choices for herself rather than just choose among available options. The question is, with her conditioning, can she lead with her heart instead of her head? My only legitimate greivance, and given only in the vein of humour, is that is seems like Jane would have taught Adele some English. The child speaks only in French and myself not being able to read French, I did not understand anything the child ever said. Luckily, her exuberance and intent still comes through and the reader can develop a softness for the child without understanding her dialogue.
Date published: 2009-09-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Welcome to Jane's world... If you liked Jane Austen (anything by her, really) but thought it seemed a little bit too much like fluffy chick-lit rather than something with a substantial plot, you will love 'Jane Eyre.' (I'm not hating on Austen, mind you, because I do love her.) A rather serious book, 'Jane Eyre' shows us that strength, confidence and pure love can be found within ourselves, if only we have the courage to look into our hearts. The novel follows Jane throughout her life from a young age to her marriage. An orphan who has found herself unwanted by her aunt, Jane is shipped off to boarding school, and her adventure begins. She teaches a young French girl, she discovers the mystery of the attic, she finds the family she's always dreamed of, and of course, she learns to love. Give yourself some time with this one. The writing, like Austen, is not something you can skim if you want to get the true feeling of the novel. This particular edition contains endnotes that explain imagery and allusions that may not make themselves immediately clear to the reader, as well as explaining social constructs and aspects of Victorian life.
Date published: 2009-03-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Greatest Heroine in Fiction Jane Eyre is a poor & plain governess who, after surviving a wretched childhood as an orphan, is given a chance at happiness only to have it snatched away by cruel circumstances. A gothic tale of mystery and love against the odds, the centre of this story is Jane Eyre, a remarkable and compassionate young woman who refuses to become jaded and angry, and who holds her head up with dignity despite cruel treatment from those above her in the social hierachy.
Date published: 2008-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from jane eyre i thought the book would be stuffy and dull but found it one of the best books i ever read any thoughts ?
Date published: 2008-10-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A masterpiece of human dignity & strength Jane Eyre is a poor & plain governess who, after surviving a wretched childhood as an orphan, is given a chance at happiness only to have it snatched away by cruel circumstances. A gothic tale of mystery and love against the odds, the centre of this story is Jane Eyre, a remarkable and compassionate young woman who refuses to become jaded and angry, and who holds her head up with dignity despite cruel treatment from those above her in the social hierachy.
Date published: 2008-09-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lovable! This remains my favourite story of all time. I have read this book countless times, and will continue to do so. I absolutely adore the witty banter, the realistic yet intriguing characters, the ethical entanglements, and the emotion. I would recommend it to anyone, regardless of their purpose — be it intellectual or diversion.
Date published: 2008-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Never Wanted it to End... Great on every count!!! Romance, Mystery, Historical, You name it, it has it. Keeps you up until 12:00 hanging off the edge of your seat. It shows excellent character development. It's slow change from hardship to great compassion leaves a nice twist and a unforgettable ending.
Date published: 2007-10-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from terrific this books was amazing, i read it last summer and couldn't put it down. Accually it took a little while to get into it but turned out fantastic
Date published: 2006-02-01

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: besides, there is something truly forbidding in a child taking up her elders in that manner. Be seated somewhere; and until you can speak pleasantly, remain silent.'A small breakfast-room adjoined the drawing-room. I slipped in there. It contained a book-case: I soon possessed myself of a volume, taking care that it should be one stored with pictures. I mounted into the window-seat: gathering up my feet, I sat cross-legged, like a Turk; and, having drawn the red moreen curtain nearly close, I was shrined in double retirement.Folds of scarlet drapery shut in my view to the right hand; to the left were the clear panes of glass, protecting, but not separating me from the drear November day. At intervals, while turning over the leaves of my book, I studied the aspect of that winter afternoon. Afar, it offered a pale blank of mist and cloud; near, a scene of wet lawn and storm-beat shrub, with ceaseless rain sweeping away wildly before a long and lamentable blast.I returned to my book—Bewick's History of British Birds: the letter-press thereof I cared little for, generally speaking; and yet there were certain introductory pages that, child as I was, I could not pass quite as a blank. They were those which treat of the haunts of sea-fowl; of 'the solitary rocks and promontories' by them only inhabited; of the coast of Norway, studded with isles from its southern extremity, the Lindeness, or Naze, to the North Cape—'Where the Northern Ocean, in vast whirls,Boils round the naked, melancholy islesOf farthest Thule; and the Atlantic surgePours in among the stormy Hebrides.'From the eBook edition.

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"?

Editorial Reviews

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