Jane Eyre Published
The 16th of October 1847 AD
Jane Eyre proved a rapid commercial success once it had finally been taken up by a publisher. The novel can seem like a bridge to modernity, its gothic motifs harking back to Horace Walpole , Lord Byron and Mary Shelley ; touches like the naming of the wicked teacher Miss Scratcherd and the kindly one Miss Temple reminiscent of Bronte contemporary Charles Dickens ; but its thematic richness looking forward to such authors as Thomas Hardy and even D.H. Lawrence .
There was much of Charlotte Bronte ’s own world in the novel: her heroine Jane Eyre works as a governess as did the author herself; the appalling Lowood School echoes The Clergy Daughters’ School in Lancashire whose conditions were the death of the elder sisters Maria and Elizabeth Bronte; and the dissipation of John Reed clearly modelled on that of Branwell Bronte. But there were also explorations of ideas such as class and injustice; the poverty of religion without heart; and the fine line to be trod between passion and morality.
In the end, however, the novel is a love story, one filmed again and again: we even get a happy ending encapsulated in one of the most famous lines in English literature, the: “Reader, I married him,” which begins the ultimate chapter.
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