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Jane Eyre (Classics Illustrated Study Guide)

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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 ...
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Reprint Fair [ No Hassle 30 Day Returns ] [ Edition: Reprint ] Publisher: Acclaim Classics & Young Readers Pub Date: 2/1/1997 Binding: Paperback Pages: 64.

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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: 9781578400058
  • Publisher: Acclaim Books
  • Publication date: 2/28/1997
  • Series: Classics Illustrated Study Guides
  • Pages: 64
  • Age range: 12 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.19 (w) x 7.57 (h) x 0.18 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction XI
Preface XIX
Jane Eyre 1
Notes 683
Commentary 693
Reading Group Guide 715
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Reading Group 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. Thefirst 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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