Jane Eyre (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Jane Eyre (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

4.3 1155
by Charlotte Bronte

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Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble…  See more details below


Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:

  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate
All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.
Immediately recognized as a masterpiece when it was first published in 1847, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre is an extraordinary coming-of-age story featuring one of the most independent and strong-willed female protagonists in all of literature. Poor and plain, Jane Eyre begins life as a lonely orphan in the household of her hateful aunt. Despite the oppression she endures at home, and the later torture of boarding school, Jane manages to emerge with her spirit and integrity unbroken. She becomes a governess at Thornfield Hall, where she finds herself falling in love with her employer—the dark, impassioned Mr. Rochester. But an explosive secret tears apart their relationship, forcing Jane to face poverty and isolation once again.

One of the world’s most beloved novels, Jane Eyre is a startlingly modern blend of passion, romance, mystery, and suspense.

Susan Ostrov Weisser is a Professor of English at Adelphi University, where she specializes in nineteenth-century literature and women’s studies. Her research centers on women and romantic love in nineteenth-century literature, as well as on contemporary popular culture. Weisser also wrote the introduction to the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of Persuasion.

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From Susan Ostrov Weisser’s Introduction to Jane Eyre


Matthew Arnold famously characterized Charlotte Brontë’s writing as full of “rebellion and rage,” yet that description does not easily square with the most famous line of her best-known novel, Jane Eyre: “Reader, I married him.” Coming as it does at the conclusion of a tempestuous series of ordeals in the romance of the governess Jane Eyre and her wealthy employer, Rochester, it implies a conventional happy ending for a heroine, her domestic reward for virtue. Between these two differing accounts of Jane Eyre as subversive and conservative lies a complex and challenging novel full of paradoxes, not least of which is that it appears regularly on lists of classics, yet has had enduring mass appeal as a romance as well.

In Jane Eyre we have that unusual monument in the history of literature, a novel considered from the first a work of high literary merit that is also an immediate and enormous popular success. Indeed, it continues to be widely read both in and out of the academic setting. While it is often “required” reading in secondary schools and universities, it has also been adapted into numerous films, television productions, theatrical plays, and at least one Broadway musical. The first of these productions took place in London less than four months after the novel’s publication, much to the dismay of its author, who feared, like most authors, that the play would misrepresent her work. In fact, it is not surprising that most adaptations of Jane Eyre have selectively emphasized the melodramatic Gothic and romantic elements of the novel at the expense of less easily dramatized aspects, such as its passages about religion or the condition of women. Yet these are just as integral to its meaning as the melodrama for which it is remembered, if not more so.

In some ways it is difficult to account for the continued stature and popular appeal of a work that has been read as both feminist and antifeminist, radical and conservative, highly original and highly derivative, Romantic and Victorian. Certainly many readers, beginning with George Eliot in the nineteenth century, have been disturbed by the way the plot hinges on a moral dilemma involving antiquated divorce laws and nineteenth-century notions of women’s sexual purity. Some critics, such as Virginia Woolf, have seen the novel as too angry for its own literary good; others, notably some modern feminist critics, as not explicitly angry enough. Why does this novel about the moral trials of an impoverished and orphaned governess continue to hold such fascination for a modern audience? Is it the passionate romance, the Cinderella ending, the incipient feminism of its views about the suppression of women?

Most readers who respond to the novel agree that the appeal of Jane Eyre lies in its intensity of feeling, richness of language, and forceful representation of passion in a decidedly dramatic plot. Even at its publication in 1847, critics and the public recognized that, for better or worse, Jane Eyre was something different: a novel about a woman written with a man’s freedom, the freedom to portray the indecorum of a heroine who has outbursts of anger as a child and uncontrollable passion as an adult, who confesses her desire openly when she thinks it is hopeless and refuses the passive and dependent role in romance. All these violated deeply entrenched social codes of femininity and respectability, and shocked some of Brontë’s early critics. Miss Eyre is “rather a brazen Miss,” cried one contemporary reader (letter from John Gibson Lockhart, 1847); another called the novel “dangerous,” filled with “outrages on decorum.” “[The author] cannot appreciate the hold which a daily round of simple duties and pure pleasures has on those who are content to practice and enjoy them,” sniffed another reviewer (Anne Mozley, The Christian Remembrancer, April 1853).

Fearing (with justification) that female authors would not be taken seriously, the three Brontë sisters, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne, published their first novels in 1847 under the male pseudonyms of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. A great deal of speculation followed in the press about the identities of the pseudonymous authors, including controversy as to their gender. The exciting revelation that eventually followed—that the writers were not only females, but the humble, reserved, unfashionable, and religious daughters of a clergyman living in a remote village on the moors of Yorkshire—only stimulated more curiosity, this time about the nature of the women who could produce such disturbing works about passion while leading reclusive and virginal lives.

Many modern readers are aware that Charlotte Brontë was one of four remarkable children, three of whom, including Emily Brontë and Anne Brontë, became famous authors themselves, and the other of whom, Branwell, the only brother, died at age thirty-one in miserable and ignoble circumstances. One important aspect of Jane Eyre’s remarkable success has surely been the literary mystery that has grown to the proportions of myth about the entire Brontë family: How could the modest, unworldly authors of Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall have understood and depicted fervent, obsessive, sometimes violent love?

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Jane Eyre (SparkNotes Literature Guide Series) 4.3 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 1155 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh brother, I could say soo much on this subject, but let me just say that this book rocks my socks off. Every time, too. I reread it every now and again, and it just gets better. I want to find a book EXACTLY like it, but that's kind of redundant. I just wish that I could flip a switch, forget every thing I just read, and read it again as if for the first time. Mr Rochester (mmm...) is just irresistible, because he isn't what he seems and is excellent at leading you in a completely opposite direction... then when everything is revealed, you love him more, and by the end of the book... you want him for your own... *Snaps out of a reverie* Ahem. Uh.. yes so Charlotte Bronte is fabulous at not revealing too much at one time. Fabulous at keeping things appropriate, but still romantic as crap. I love Jane's strong will and determination to do the right thing. I admire her a lot for everything she's been through. Each time I read it, it touches me whenever she touches happiness, and it tears me apart whenever it gets torn from her. Oh, give this book a go, just for the heck of it. I hope you enjoy it like I and so many others have. Oh, and let me just say, that when things seem slow, just think about how beautiful the writing style is, and that everything is important to unraveling the characters to the proper extent. ^.^
ash_glasswing More than 1 year ago
If you're a fan of historical romances such as Pride & Prejudice, Becoming Jane, or Sense & Sensibility you would be depriving yourself of experiencing the beauty of this story by not reading it. I can't wait to see the newest version in theaters!! Please read this and be patient with it's lengthy beginning.. I promise it gets better :) -ash
SouthernLadyNC More than 1 year ago
I loved this story, it moved me to the depth of my feelings for this young girl. This took place in a time era that made you feel it had to be a true story. Every woman in this day and age should read this and they would know how lucky they are to be alive now.
Nerdgirljenn More than 1 year ago
Jane Eyre tell the story of a young woman in mid 19th century England, however, any girl/woman who has ever felt out of place and alone can relate to Jane. Yes, it is a story of love, but also a story of a strong female character who, despite all, stays true to herself and her beliefs. She suffers for them, but in the end it all works out (which probably is why it makes it endearing)...so if you've ever felt out of place, "not normal", but wanting to love someone, to feel love returned, then this book is for you. It is not your typical Jane Austen type book, but has just a hint of terror, fright and thrill to take it that one step beyond. I've read this book countless times (well over a few hundred) and yet I never get tired of it. It's like watching a good movie over and over. And great for those rainy gloomy days...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm in eighth grade now, and upon reading this truely excellent novel in sixth grade, I honestly couldn't get the full understanding out of it. But I recently started rereading it, and I love it! "Jane Eyre" is a story of a young girl reaching adulthood, and all of the joys and pains along the way. It is definately for an older audience, though- no child younger than 11 or 12 would be able to know what some of the words mean (being 13 myself and having a fairly large vocabulary, I still have to look up certain words!). And this book also touches on the concept of love, which might not be altogether interesting to a younger person. Occasionally, there are some disturbing parts in it: a lunatic attempts on taking some of Jane's friends' lives, but I'm pretty sure everyone survives ;) Since this particular edition of the book is free, obviously there are going to be some somewhat confusing spelling errors here and there. But overall, "Jane Eyre" is a wonderful book, and I fully enjoy all 500-and-some pages of it! And is it just me, or do other girls find similarities between themselves and Jane? :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing, it is a must read!
mollythedolly More than 1 year ago
I have read ALOT, but nothing is like Jane Erye! I have read and reread this book many times. If you have never read it, Read it and you will become a believer!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The plot is timeless, and the characters are captivating. Trully revolutionay for the time period it was written in- cleverly feminist in nature without being pushy. Easy to read,ecspecially with errotic, musing characters like Edward Rochester (sigh, swoon)
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am only 14 but this book was just great it wasn't really hard to read or understand . I don't read that much but when I had to read this one in school I realized that I probably will read it again because it was so good and that takes a really good book for me to say that
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A great story of faith and knowing oneself, complete with trials, heart-wrenching decisions, and complex characters. Truly the stuff of romance. I felt it, I lived it, I loved it!
Nina_the_Writer More than 1 year ago
I needed this book to work on an English paper its great because you have the entire novel and essay
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't know what to read afterwards, I'm left with a void.
Pen12 More than 1 year ago
This classic tells the story of Jane Eyre. She has a difficult childhood and faces obstacles throughout her life. Things seem to change for the better once she becomes a young adult, but circumstances beyond her control change everything. This is a very enjoyable book. I couldn't stop reading it.
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This book is one of very few books I can re-read!
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A beautiful story. My all time fave.
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