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Monday, July 30, 2012

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Mia Wasikowska as Jane Eyre

Book Review
Jane Eyre
by Charlotte Brontë
published 1847

  1847 was a huge year for the Brontë family, with the publication of novels by each of the three Brontë sisters.  Charlotte Brontë published Jane Eyre, Anne Brontë published Agnes Gray and Emily Brontë published Wuthering Heights.  All three were published under male pseudonyms.

   Although I personally would have lumped the Brontë sisters novels together with Jane Austen (who published 20 years earlier) before reading Jane Eyre, after reading it I am quite clear that the main influence for Charlotte, at least, was William Makepeace Thackeray and his books Vanity Fair.  She actually says so in the foreword to the public domain edition that I read of Jane Eyre.  You can also find letters where she bad mouths Jane Austen.   There was also about a 20 year period after the publication of Jane Eyre where Charlotte Brontë was a literary celebrity and Jane Austen hadn't been "revived" yet.

  Jane Eyre is truly one of the most remarkable Heroes in literature up till this point in time. She has a fully realized inner life that dwarfs predecessor characters in the works of Jane Austen, let alone a Maria Edgeworth of Frances Burney.

   Like other classics of this period of literature, Jane Eyre has been made into a film on multiple occasions- 21 title matches in IMDB for film and television versions.   I thought the 2011 edition, directed by Cary Fukanaga (director of Sin Nombre) and starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender was particularly excellent.


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