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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gothic Romance Classic
On October 16th, of 1847, "Jane Eyre: An Autobiography", edited by Currier Bell (pseudonym of Charlotte Brontë) was published. It created some controversy at the time, as many believed it was written by a man. The novel was very popular when published, but critical reaction to it varied. Today, it is clearly a classic, the development of a young woman, who does not fit...
Published on Oct. 3 2009 by Dave_42

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars I was not particularly pleased.
Though I did enjoy Jane Eyre, I found that the author, in my opinion, sometimes took an extremely long time to get through something. At one point, the author actually says 'I need but a few lines to expain the next 5 years of my life' or something to the effect of that, and she take at least 3 pages doing it. I don't have the largest attention span, and sometimes...
Published on Sept. 10 1998


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gothic Romance Classic, Oct. 3 2009
By 
Dave_42 "Dave_42" (Australia) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Jane Eyre (Paperback)
On October 16th, of 1847, "Jane Eyre: An Autobiography", edited by Currier Bell (pseudonym of Charlotte Brontë) was published. It created some controversy at the time, as many believed it was written by a man. The novel was very popular when published, but critical reaction to it varied. Today, it is clearly a classic, the development of a young woman, who does not fit into the stereotype of a nineteenth century woman. She is not submissive, and she struggles to avoid being dependent on others. The original publication was in three volumes, but this Penguin Classics edition is based on the third edition of Jane Eyre, and it is the last edition which Charlotte Brontë edited and corrected.

The story covers Jane's life from her childhood until her marriage. The childhood chapters can be split into two sections, those where Jane, an orphan, was being raised by her Uncle's family, but her uncle has passed away and her aunt does not like her, but was forced to promise to take care of her. The key parts of this section are Jane's being rejected by the closest thing she has to a family, her morality, and her independence, i.e. her refusal to conform. The second part of her childhood is when she is sent to attend a charity school, called Lowood, where the pupils have to make do with substandard food and clothing. Here Jane finds one teacher who treats her, and the other students, well, Miss Maria Temple. One of the key things in this section is the difference between religion and morality, symbolized by Mr. Brocklehurst a clergyman who is mostly responsible for the appalling conditions at Lowood, and Jane and Miss Temple on the side of morality. Also key is Jane's witnessing her friend, Helen Burns, dying from a typhus epidemic, in spite of her goodness and her submission to the standards imposed by Mr. Brocklehurst and Miss Scatcherd, a teacher as cruel as Miss Temple is kind.

The story then picks up many years later, with Jane in position as a teacher at Lowood, but looking to move on. She advertises for a position as a governess and is hired by Mrs. Fairfax. She is to take care of Adèle Varens, a girl who is being taken care of by Mr. Rochester, the master of Thornfield Manor where Mrs. Fairfax is the housekeeper. This section has a lot to do with class, as well as morality. There is the difficulty of Jane falling in love with someone of a different class. There is also the looking down on Jane as being of a lower class, by Mr. Rochester's peers. The morality questions are here to, in the comparison of the higher classes verses that of the lower class. Even Mr. Rochester's behavior is in question, in the events leading up to Jane leaving. Jane also finds out that she does have family left, and when it appears that she is to have everything, she sends a letter to her father's brother. It is this attempt to reconnect with family that causes her to lose nearly everything as it destroys what she thought she was about to have.

The next section details Jane's life after leaving Thornfield Manor. Here she loses almost everything, and is on death's door when she is on the doorstep of Moor House. The Rivers, St. John, Diana, and Mary. It is from this state of having nothing from which she recovers almost everything she could want. Here she recovers her health, she is employed again and regains much of her independence. St. John is in love with a woman, but he will not ask her because he is driven to devote his life to religion. He does find out Jane's true identity though, and this results in Jane learning she has family, and wealth that she didn't know she had. She is pressured by St. John to marry him and join him in his missionary life, but she knows that he doesn't love her. She rejects St. John, and instead goes to find her one love, Mr. Rochester. She now has wealth and family, and she learns that tragedies in Mr. Rochester's life have made what was once impossible possible.

It is a long and winding road which Jane travels in this novel. Probably best classified as a gothic romance, it deals with numerous issues and the strength of Jane's character serves as a good role model for young women, and for that matter anyone. The Penguin Classics edition is filled with supporting documentation as always. There is a wonderful introduction by Stevie Davies, along with a Chronology, suggestions for further reading, notes on the text, opinions of the press, and wonderful textual notes which enhance the reading experience and understanding of the reader.
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5.0 out of 5 stars All Jane Eyre lovers desiring sequels - Read this review!, Jan. 18 2010
This review is from: Jane Eyre (Paperback)
Jane Eyre being my favourite book, I have read any sequels, prequels or spin-offs that I could find:
- Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, which tells the story from Bertha's point of view, including her time in the West Indies.
- Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier. It is similar in the sense that the second Mrs. DeWinter in the book is haunted by the unseen presence of the first Mrs. DeWinter, just as Jane hears the maniacal cries of Bertha. There is the fact that Maxim is much older than the second Mrs. DeWinter, just as Rochester is much older than Jane. Then, finally there is the fire that destroys their stately old mansion, Manderley.
- The Ivy Tree by Mary Stewart. The parallels in that story are not as clear at first, but there is the young girl who falls in love with an already married man, and who runs away to escape from it all, and also the fire, and the destruction of an old majestic tree.
- a scifi version - Jenna Starborn by Sharon Shinn. In plot and structure it was almost exactly the same, following Brontë's narrative scene by scene, except for the transposition to a far-off planet in the distant future. I didn't think it was different enough, though, from the original to make it interesting in its' own right.
- How Nancy Drew Saved My Life by Lauren Baratz-Logsted. Even with the misleading Nancy Drew reference in the title, reading the book it was clear that it was Jane Eyre in the modern day in Iceland.
- The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde was a very different sort of take-off. It is a book that defies genre description - is it mystery, romance, alternative history, fantasy, or scifi? I think the consensus must be that it combines elements of them all. In this book, which takes place in a 1985 England still in the throes of the Crimean War, spec ops agent Thursday Next enters the world of fiction, and ends up changing the end of Jane Eyre to the conclusion we know today, for which we must profoundly thank her. (Nobody wanted Jane to end up with frigid St. John.)
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of my absolute favorite books, Nov. 3 2003
By 
"celes1" (Havre de Grace, Maryland United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Jane Eyre (Paperback)
Jane Eyre was orphaned into the care of her cruel Aunt Reed as a baby. After years of being emotionally and physically abused by her aunt and cousins she was finally allowed to go to school. However going to school didn't improve her standard of living much. Jane began to feel that there was something else out there for her so she took a job as governess at Thornfield Hall. Everything was going well until she fell in love with her employer, Mr. Rochester.
Jane Eyre is one of my absolute favorite books. I just really love all the characters and the dramatic plot twists. A lot of people who read this book just think it's a romance novel. While it is true that Romance plays a large part, the book is much more than just your run of the mill romance. People who are able to get the 'just a romance novel' idea out of their heads will see that the book is more about a woman trying to find a better life against great odds.
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5.0 out of 5 stars By Far, The Best, Oct. 16 2003
This review is from: Jane Eyre (Paperback)
"Jane Eyre" has been my favorite book for years! Charlotte Bronte did an excellent job of exploring human nature and the depth of a person's character. The story follows a young woman who sets out to find her place in the world with the education she has received. Jane goes through some interesting and hard experiences that teach her forgiveness, understanding, and help her discover the inner strength she possesses and become a godly woman. Portraying a Christian woman's struggles who faces the realities of a hard life, and deals with what is given her, is encouraging to me. No other book has touched me the way this book has. Read it... it's more than worth your time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Book I Ever Read!!!, June 13 2004
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This review is from: Jane Eyre (Paperback)
In short, Jane Eyre is the story of a fairly unconventional life. Jane is orpahned when she is young and sent to live with her Aunt Reed, to a horrible "school", then to work as a governess at Edward Rochester's home. She falls in love with Mr. Rochester but his secrets may make it imposible for them to ever be together.
The book has a really slow, melodic feel to it, so if you like fast reads, it is not the book you're looking for.
This is one of the best books I have ever read, so good its one of few that I have actually read several times over. Definately a classic.
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3.0 out of 5 stars I was not particularly pleased., Sept. 10 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Jane Eyre (Audio Cassette)
Though I did enjoy Jane Eyre, I found that the author, in my opinion, sometimes took an extremely long time to get through something. At one point, the author actually says 'I need but a few lines to expain the next 5 years of my life' or something to the effect of that, and she take at least 3 pages doing it. I don't have the largest attention span, and sometimes Jane Eyre just took too long for me to keep going.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Jane Eyre" deserves its standing as a classic in English literature, Feb. 6 2009
By 
Paul Weiss (Dundas, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Jane Eyre (Paperback)
"Jane Eyre" is one of the world's best-loved classic novels for so many reasons.

It's an exciting piece of feminist literature written at a time when feminist literature was little known and even more poorly accepted.

That it is a semi-autobiographical novel written by a staunchly, independent female author who herself was struggling to survive by her own wits and means and stand on her own two feet makes the story all the more poignant and compelling.

While it is a prime example of Gothic romance peppered with the typical fixtures of a Gothic novel - the spectral Thornfield manor that seems to attain a life of its own; the allusions to mythological characters such as ghosts and vampires; the uncanny timing of such weather phenomenon as lightning or a chilling, drenching downpour to accompany major events in the novel - it also breaks new ground in that it avoids some of the typical conventions of Victorian literature.

And, finally, it is a piece of masterful story-telling built around larger than life characters that for over 150 years has enchanted readers of all ages and thrilled watchers of numerous television and movie adaptations.

For those few of you that have yet to read this wonderful novel, the story can be summarized quickly enough. A dying father extracts a death bed promise from his sister to raise his infant daughter, Jane Eyre. The sister, a spiteful and mean spirited woman grows to hate the obligation that Jane represents and soon sends her away to a boarding school. (Did anyone else have flashbacks to Charles Dickens' Nicholas Nickleby when they were reading this portion of the novel?) In spite of the harsh mental and physical cruelty she endures at the hands of the school's administrator and its teachers, Jane survives to become a teacher at the school. Ultimately she leaves to seek her own way in the world and secures a position as governess in the household of Edward Fairfax Rochester.

At this point, most readers will correctly guess that Jane and Mr Rochester fall in love with each other but to tell more of the story would be to spoil the effect of this magnificent novel for first time readers.

Suffice it to say that Charlotte Brontë has woven an enthralling story into the exploration of a multiplicity of themes that will occupy students of the English language novel for decades to come - the interplay of self-respect, morality, conventional mores and religion; the effects of social standing and class discrimination; gender relations in a patriarchal staunchly male-dominated society; legal issues of the day that related to marriage, inheritance and ownership; contrasting extremes of religious zealotry as displayed by Brocklehurst's hypocritical Puritanism reflected against St John Rivers' obsessive but well-intentioned determination to spread Calvinist dogma as a missionary abroad.

While many of these issues have clearly been relegated to the history of the 19th century, it's also a fact that much of the controversy that Brontë has so eloquently built into her characters' lives persist as issues into our own 21st century. Little wonder that "Jane Eyre" has such enduring power in the world of English literature!

Highly recommended.

Paul Weiss
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most fantastic piece of fiction I've ever read., Aug. 3 2006
This review is from: Jane Eyre (Paperback)
This book is easily my most favourite piece of literature. I could not put the book down.
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Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (Paperback - Feb. 4 2003)
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