Jane Eyre (Norton Critical Edition) / Edition 2

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Overview

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." Passionate, dramatic, and surprisingly modern, Jane Eyre endures as one of the world's most beloved novels. This Modern Library Paperback Classics edition includes a new Introduction by Diane Johnson, the National Book Awardnominated author of many novels, including Le Mariage and Le Divorce. The timeless story of Jane Eyre has arrived on Broadway as a spectacular new musical from an all-star production team, consisting of John Caird (Les Miserables, Nicholas Nickleby), who adapted and staged (with Scott Schwartz); composer Paul Gordon; designer John Napier (Cats, Les Miserables, Sunset Boulevard); costume designer Andreane Neofitou (Les Miserables, Miss Saigon); and lighting designers Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, six-time winners of the Tony Award.

In early nineteenth-century England, an orphaned young woman accepts employment as a governess at Thornfield Hall, a country estate owned by the mysteriously remote Mr. Rochester.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Written in 1847, this novel remains a favorite, especially among younger readers and listeners who continue to be entranced by the young Jane and her mysterious Mr. Rochester. The story of an unhappy orphan and her life as a governess at Thornfield is filled with difficulty, including a shocking revelation on her wedding day. The happy ending finally arrives, though, and Jane and Rochester are united forever. Long criticized as being melodramatic and contrived, Jane Eyre has nonetheless become a romantic classic and is often the book that introduces students to serious literature. Bronte's suspense-filled plot adapts well to the audio format. This version, although abridged, omits nothing of importance. Juliet Stevenson, a Royal Shakespeare Company associate, reads with the drama the story demands and makes each character emerge with life and energy. Recommended for general audiences.
— Michael Neubert, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
— Michael Neubert, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Booknews
Based on the 1848 third edition of Bronte's classic. Presents the novel along with five critical essays from the feminist, psychoanalytic, deconstruction, cultural, and Marxist perspectives. Each essay is accompanied by a succinct introduction to the history, principles, and practice of the critical perspective, and the text and essays are complemented by an introduction providing biographical and historical contexts for Bronte and Jane Eyre.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393955897
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/28/1988
  • Series: Norton Critical Edition Series
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 512
  • Product dimensions: 5.16 (w) x 8.38 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard J. Dunn is Professor of English at the University of Washington. His books include the Norton Critical Edition of Wuthering Heights, Approaches to Teaching Dickens’s David Copperfield, David Copperfield: An Annotated Bibliography, The English Novel, Twentieth-Century Criticism, Defoe to Hardy, and Oliver Twist: Whole Heart and Soul.

Biography

Charlotte Brontë was born on April 21, 1816, in Thornton, Yorkshire, in the north of England, the third child of the Reverend Patrick Brontë and Maria Branwell Brontë. In 1820 the family moved to neighboring Haworth, where Reverend Brontë was offered a lifetime curacy. The following year Mrs. Brontë died of cancer, and her sister, Elizabeth Branwell, moved in to help raise the six children. The four eldest sisters -- Charlotte, Emily, Maria, and Elizabeth -- attended Cowan Bridge School, until Maria and Elizabeth contracted what was probably tuberculosis and died within months of each other, at which point Charlotte and Emily returned home. The four remaining siblings -- Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne -- played on the Yorkshire moors and dreamed up fanciful, fabled worlds, creating a constant stream of tales, such as the Young Men plays (1826) and Our Fellows (1827).

Reverend Brontë kept his children abreast of current events; among these were the 1829 parliamentary debates centering on the Catholic Question, in which the Duke of Wellington was a leading voice. Charlotte's awareness of politics filtered into her fictional creations, as in the siblings' saga The Islanders (1827), about an imaginary world peopled with the Brontë children's real-life heroes, in which Wellington plays a central role as Charlotte's chosen character.

Throughout her childhood, Charlotte had access to the circulating library at the nearby town of Keighley. She knew the Bible and read the works of Shakespeare, George Gordon, Lord Byron, and Sir Walter Scott, and she particularly admired William Wordsworth and Robert Southey. In 1831 and 1832, Charlotte attended Miss Wooler's school at Roe Head, and she returned there as a teacher from 1835 to 1838. After working for a couple of years as a governess, Charlotte, with her sister Emily, traveled to Brussels to study, with the goal of opening their own school, but this dream did not materialize once she returned to Haworth in 1844.

In 1846 the sisters published their collected poems under the pen names Currer (Charlotte), Ellis (Emily), and Acton (Anne) Bell. That same year Charlotte finished her first novel, The Professor, but it was not accepted for publication.

However, she began work on Jane Eyre, which was published in 1847 and met with instant success. Though some critics saw impropriety in the core of the story -- the relationship between a middle-aged man and the young, naive governess who works for him -- most reviewers praised the novel, helping to ensure its popularity. One of Charlotte's literary heroes, William Makepeace Thackeray, wrote her a letter to express his enjoyment of the novel and to praise her writing style, as did the influential literary critic G. H. Lewes.

Following the deaths of Branwell and Emily Brontë in 1848 and Anne in 1849, Charlotte made trips to London, where she began to move in literary circles that included such luminaries as Thackeray, whom she met for the first time in 1849; his daughter described Brontë as "a tiny, delicate, serious, little lady." In 1850 she met the noted British writer Elizabeth Gaskell, with whom she formed a lasting friendship and who, at the request of Reverend Brontë, later became her biographer. Charlotte's novel Villette was published in 1853.

In 1854 Charlotte married Arthur Bell Nicholls, a curate at Haworth who worked with her father. Less than a year later, however, she fell seriously ill, perhaps with tuberculosis, and she died on March 31, 1855. At the time of her death, Charlotte Brontë was a celebrated author. The 1857 publication of her first novel, The Professor, and of Gaskell's biography of her life only heightened her renown.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of Jane Eyre.

Good To Know

Sadly, Brontë died during her first pregnancy. While her death certificate lists the cause of death as "phthisis" (tuberculosis), there is a school of thought that believes she may have died from excessive vomiting caused by morning sickness.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      April 21, 1816
    2. Place of Birth:
      Thornton, Yorkshire, England
    1. Date of Death:
      March 31, 1855
    2. Place of Death:
      Haworth, West Yorkshire, England
    1. Education:
      Clergy Daughters' School at Cowan Bridge in Lancashire; Miss Wooler's School at Roe Head

Table of Contents

Introduction XI
Preface XIX
Jane Eyre 1
Notes 683
Commentary 693
Reading Group Guide 715
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2001

    Great Story

    Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books...I first read it at the age of eleven...I struggled through it a bit, but once I had finished I was very very glad that I had started. A truly charming tale, a must-read for everybody. I decided to write my review under this particular copy (the authoritative text and whatnot) but I never read that (hehehe) so I have no idea whether it's any good or not...in the actual text it includes many, many footnotes, mostly dealing with the translations and the words of the age that aren't used any more, and I found that particularly useful. I can, of course, assure you that the actual book is so good you'll just devour it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2000

    Simply Wonderful!

    This is my favorite book. I was first introduced to this book in college and I must say that it had been an experience. This book showed many distinct views such as the feminist view, christian ethics, fairytale and even Charlotte Bronte's own life. I rate this book 5 stars!

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