Charlotte Brontë tells the story of orphaned Jane Eyre, who grows up in the home of her heartless aunt, enduring loneliness and cruelty. This troubled childhood strengthens Jane’s natural independence and spirit – which prove necessary when she finds employment as a governess to the young ward of Byronic, brooding Mr Rochester. As her feelings for Rochester develop, Jane gradually uncovers Thornfield Hall’s terrible secret, forcing her to make a choice. Should she stay with Rochester and live with the consequences, or follow her convictions – even if it means leaving the man she loves? A novel of intense power and intrigue, Jane Eyre dazzled readers with its passionate depiction of a woman’s search for equality and freedom.
In her introduction, Stevie Davis discusses the novel’s language and politics, its treatment of women’s lives and its literary influences. This edition also includes a chronology, further reading, an appendix and notes.
Charlotte Bronte (1816–55), eldest of the Brontë sisters, was born in Thornton, West Yorkshire. Jane Eyre was first published in 1847 under the pen-name Currer Bell, 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. The Professor was posthumously published in 1857.
If you liked Jane Eyre, you might enjoy Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea, also available in Penguin Classics.
‘At the end we are steeped through and through with the genius, the vehemence, the indignation of Charlotte Brontë’
‘Charlotte Brontë’s heroine towers over those around her, morally, intellectually and aesthetically … she takes a scalpel to the skin of the everyday’
‘The masterwork of a great genius’
William Makepeace Thackeray