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.
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.