Jane Eyre has a lot to answer for…

I first read the classic novel “Jane Eyre” when I was twelve years old. By that time I was an avid reader, and Jane only served to make me even more so.

I own several copies of the book in hardcover. Here are two of my favourites:What is it about this book that has stayed with me for the past 50+ years? Yes, it is an enduring love story, but I’ve read many of them. All I know is that “Jane Eyre” has a lot to answer for….

a) to this day I am always drawn to novels with the word ‘hall’ in the title (trying to recapture Thornfield Hall I suspect)

b) novels with governesses and/or boarding schools in them still appeal after all this time

c) books set in Yorkshire always tempt me, especially ones set on a moor

d) novels that explore differences in social classes usually appeal to me

e) I own four hardback copies of the novel AND I also have one loaded on my Kindle (just in case I need an emergency ‘Jane Eyre‘ fix)

f) Jane Eyre has long been touted as a ‘Gothic’ so that word in a book description always catches my eye.

g) the first line of Jane Eyre lingers with me still: “There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.”Jane Eyre describing Thornfield Hall: “It was three stories high, of proportions not vast, though considerable: a gentleman’s manor-house, not a nobleman’s seat: battlements round the top gave it a picturesque look.”

There have been countless screen adaptations of “Jane Eyre” over the years. I’ve watched many of them, some more than once.  My favourite adaptation is one done by the BBC and stars Ruth Wilson in the role of Jane with Toby Stephens as Edward Rochester.Ruth Wilson is not as plain as Bronte’s novel portrays, but there’s something about her sly strength that inhabits her take on the character that makes you think that she IS Jane, unconventional, both in terms of her intelligence and her emotional acuity.

Ruth Wilson playing Jane Eyre

Some history of the novel “Jane Eyre“:

Jane Eyre was first published by Smith, Elder and Co. in 1847.  Charlotte Brontë, the book’s author, used the pseudonym Currer Bell and was originally published in three volumes.It follows the life of Jane Eyre who, turned out of her maternal aunt’s home at the age of ten, went to live in a boarding school called Lowood. When too old to stay at Lowood, she acquires a post at Thornfield Hall where she is to be a governess to the precocious Adèle Varens, the charge of Edward Rochester. Jane comes to love Rochester, but as with all good love stories, her story does not run smoothly…

Set in Northern England, near where my own mother was born, I have always felt an affinity for the area.

Jane’s story conjures up an atmosphere of mystery, secrecy, and even horror at times. These elements, some would say genres, are ones that attract me to the fiction I read today. Yes, “Jane Eyre” does have a lot to answer for.

Have you read “Jane Eyre“?

Do you enjoy reading classic fiction?

What is YOUR favourite classic novel?

Please let me know in the comments.

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
This entry was posted in Favorite books, gothic fiction, Historical fiction, Literary fiction, Love stories and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to Jane Eyre has a lot to answer for…

  1. setinthepast says:

    ]I think Gothic novels were the 19th century equivalent of Dallas and Dynasty in the 1980s – totally bonkers plots which you had to suspend belief in order to enjoy! It’s not just what happens with Bertha Rochester, it’s the fact that the random bloke who rescues Jane when she’s stranded on the moors turns out to be a long-lost cousin whom she knew nothing about! But I do love this book. The plot *is* bonkers, but it’s wonderful even so.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. tealveyre says:

    Jane Eyre dehumanizes both the mentally ill and people of color. This isn’t a case of a few problematic scenes: the entire POINT of Jane Eyre is to dehumanize the mentally ill and people of color.

    The book has a clear and consistent message and that message is despicable. It is this: “Blackness is weakness and mental illness is a moral failing.”

    I have compiled all of my evidence against this disgusting and hateful book.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Carla says:

    What a great post, Lynne. I have not read Jane Eyre in more years than I can count. I just looked up the adaptation you mentioned and found a four part mini-series. Is the one you are referring to. I will have to give it a watch if that is the right one.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ocean Bream says:

    I am like you, in all aspects when it comes to Jane Eyre. I read it as a very young girl, and reread it many many times over the years to follow – each reading allowed new understanding to blossom through the pages. My, reading this post makes me want to pick up Jane Eyre again. It always feels so comforting to me. Like toast and sweet tea. It is one of those books that contribute heavily to ‘coming of age’ – I think. I read it alongside the Anne of Green Gables books, Pride and Prejudice and David Copperfield. It’s strange but the themes and phrases and events of the books serve as a backdrop to many growing up ‘epiphanies’ as childhood blistered into adolescence. There are always so many things to be learned from such books. Treasure troves of information and reflection – something you rarely see in modern genres. My favourite is Anne of Green Gables. Such heart-aching joy and love within those yellow, worn pages.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I read this when I was a kid… maybe 10. Not sure I appreciated it as I could have back then. But right now I’m reading the prequel – Wide Sargasso Sea. Interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Although reading “Wide Sargasso Sea” would probably be enlightening, I’m not sure I want to mar my previous enjoyment of “Jane Eyre”. It would be interesting to read another author’s ‘take’ on the wild woman in the attic, but I’m not sure Charlotte Brontë wanted or needed to explain her presence there more fully. Guess I’m a die-hard fan of the original… Thanks Davida. ♥

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Fab post Lynne! I read a simplified version at school a long time ago, but have never read the adult version even though I’ve got a copy on audio. Perhaps this year will be the year?!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Very apt to see this post Lynne as I was reading several articles about Charlotte Bronte this morning. I also have a copy of your ‘blue’ edition of Jane Eyre.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I will NEVER forget the Red Room or the Lowood School. Those parts of the book were so painful that I would always hesitate to reread the novel. Thanks for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. WendyW says:

    I love how you can trace some of your book interests back to this one classic! I read Jane Eyre again about a year ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I absolutely adore this post, Lynne💜💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Veronika Jordan says:

    Have you read the Wide Sargasso Sea? I studied it for my OU degree. It puts Rochester in a very different light.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I love that you can literally see the impact this had on your taste in books!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Jane was also one of my early influences… and still my favourite…

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Jane Eyre was probably the first book I read off my mother’s bookshelf as a girl so it left quite an impression. Your post does make me reconsider rereading it, I hesitate knowing it might diminish the strength of that first impression.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Pingback: Jane Eyre has a lot to answer for… – Book Library

  16. I haven’t read this book yet but I would like to. I have read several classic novels but not as much as some people. Honestly I still consider myself new to the classic genre. A couple of my favorites are Little Women and Anne of Green Gables.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Carol says:

    I enjoyed hearing about your Jane Eyre history! I need a reread!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Pingback: Jane Eyre has a lot to answer for… – Imobiliare 24

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