on 23 August 2005
I was slightly reluctant to read Jane Eyre. In the past I have had bad expieriences with what people would deem 'intellectual' books and wrongly dub as 'contemporary classics', but I can honestly say that Jane Eyre deserves to be referred to as a classic.
It is written in an autobiographical style and tells the story of Jane Eyre (obviously), who was orphaned at an early age and taken in by her uncle, Mr. Reed, who shortly also died, leaving her in the care of her cruel Aunt, Mrs. Reed, and at the mercy of her malicious cousin, John Reed. However, at the age of ten Jane Eyre leaves the Reed household to attent a charity boarding school known as Lowood where she befriends the mild mannered Helen Burns and gains the education that allows her, at the age of eighteen, to take a position as a Governess at Thornfield Hall. Here she meets the 'dark and sardonic' Mr. Rochester and falls in love with him. But alas, their union is not to be when Jane discovers a dark secret of Mr. Rochester's that forces her to leave Thornfield Hall and her chance of happiness as a married woman.
I will not go into the plot any longer, in case of spoiling the ending, but there are many aspects of the book that I was shocked to see in a novel written back in the 1800's. One that was not so surprising however, was the religious and moral references that frequently crop up, but don't be deceived into thinking that Jane Eyre, Mr. Rochester and all other lead chracters are pious and preachy with the shared desire to 'do the right thing'. Jane does try to do what's right, but Mr. Rochester is often sly and occasionally seems cruel. He is far from a typical 'hero'.
And Jane is far from the typical heroine. This is what I believe makes the book so refreshing despite the fact it was written such a long time ago. Bronte takes pains to impress upon the reader that Jane is no beauty (and nor is Mr. Rochester) and while Jane eventually forgives Mrs. Reed and those who did her wrong, she is often wilful and passionate in her search for independence. While reading the book you really get to know Jane and start to care about her. The whole way through this book all I wanted was for Jane and Mr. Rochester to finally get together. You can fully understand Jane's dismay when she comes up against obstacles that hinder this.
The book is divided into three volumes. The first two volumes are absoultely exquisite, and so it the end of the third volume, however the beginning of volume three does drag on a bit.
I would recommend this book to anybody who loves classics, and to the rest who are scared (such as I was) to start reading them. Jane Eyre was my gateway into the world of old English literature.
on 24 September 2004
I should probably start by pointing out that I used to hate reading classics. Old novels? Feh. The flowery language alone was enough to bore me to tears.
But Jane Eyre was different. Jane Eyre was a the kind of a book a girl could grow up with. When I was a child Jane's fierceness and her stubborn desire to stand up to those who belittled her inspired me. As I grew older, I began to appreciate the other messages woven into the text. Every time I read it, something new opened up to me. Books that grow better with every read are rare and precious. Jane Eyre is one such book.
Basically, the book is an account of the life of the fictional character Jane Eyre. From childhood onwards, the girl suffers from bad treatment and hardship because she is not pretty enough, not witty enough, not cheerful enough to make herself loveable. But through it all, Jane is portrayed as a girl with great resilience and courage, with a belief in her own self worth that woill not let her give up.
What makes this book so great is perhaps the unique and vivid voice with which the whole story was told. Jane's first person view of all that occurs is well portrayed, and her soul really shines through. Charlotte's Bronte's use of language is superb.
I will try not to give any more of the book away, because frankly, the only way to enjoy it is to read it yourself. Jane Eyre is a wonderful piece of fiction. Both powerful and alive in a way that many books, both classic and modern, are not.
on 26 October 2008
This is a beautiful story - the best romance ever written. But don't let that put you off - Jane Eyre is as passionate and wilful a character as you could ever wish for. Written in the first-person, Jane Eyre is both compelling and exciting. You haven't truly read anything if you haven't read this!
This is a fast-paced story (not as wordy as people are inclined to believe), which is impossible to put down after you have begun to read it! This edition of the book is a comfortable book to read, with reasonably big type, although it makes the book fatter. The cover is in a very romantic style, which may not suit everybody, but I would definately reccomend the layout inside. There isn't a 'dictionary' at the back with difficult to understand words or phrases that are no longer in use, which might be a good idea for younger readers, but I'm definately a younger reader, and yet I'm finding it perfectly easy to understand!
If you haven't read this, then buy it NOW and read it. Oh, and buy it for everyone else you know.
on 28 July 2007
Very nice edition! it is smaller than a "normal" book, as is clear from the dimensions given in the product information section, but is not more difficult to read. I have many of these books and i absolutely love them, I am just disappointed that some authors are not published (like Mrs Gaskell).
I found it a bit misleading to give 1 star to a book like Jane Eyre just because somebody didn't like the dimension of it, so i decided to write this review to give my impression of these editions which are absolutely elegant and special.
on 29 October 2008
Just received this and disappointed to see that it is abridged. I cannot see any reference to this detail on the screen information. I have not yet listened to this item. This is just the first point to note. May I suggest that the word 'abridged' should be clearly shown on the screen information that we see when we are considering buying an item.
This is a great book, bristling with anarchy, anger and rebellion. It is so unusual for a Victorian novel that even now, reading it all this time on, it still has the power to shock. Jane spends the entire book upsetting decorum, railing against her fate and succumbing to her desires. It's absolutely fascinating to see so many Victorian taboos being broken.
Someone mentioned that the book is long. The Victorian convention was for the triple decker novel, which is basically three modern sized novels in one. This is why there are almost no short Victorian novels, so if you're looking for snappy reads, try a different era.
I for one, think that this book is just about perfect. It is tautly written, suspenseful despite the length, and pacy. It is full of cliff hangers and drama, and you always want to know what happens next. The ghostly, supernatural element is done brilliantly, both with the episode at the beginning with Jane in the Red Room, and the episodes with Bertha Mason once Jane arrives at Thornfield Hall.
The basic plot is that Jane, an orphan child, is dumped on unwilling and unloving relatives who make her life a misery. She in turn makes their lives a misery, and is peremptorily packed off to boarding school where amidst great trials and tragedy she becomes a governess. Her first job takes her to Thornfield Hall where she meets the wonderfully brooding anti-hero, Rochester. They fall in love, and things go horribly wrong from thereon in.
I must have read this book at least half a dozen times, and it never ceases to be a pleasure. There is always something new to find. For students, I recommend reading it alongside Gilbert and Gubar's seminal critical work, The Mad Woman in the Attic. It is a revelation. I also recommend reading it alongside Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea, which was published in the 1950's and deals with the back story for Bertha Mason. It adds such depth to the work I guarantee you will need to read it again afterwards.
on 24 July 2012
I read Jane Eyre quite by accident.
Many years ago i watched a period drama on television, and 2 weeks ago i thought i would finally read the book, so imagine my surprise when the book didnt tally with what i had seen on screen. It later came to me that what i had actually watched was Emma, by Jane Austen, but by the time i discovered my faux pas, i was so into Jane Eyre that i did not care one iota.
I was hooked from the first chapter, and enchanted by this poor creature who was enduring so much mental and physical torture, who was unloved, unwanted and alone.
As the story progresses we see Jane mature from a young rebellious thing to a fine, upstanding, sweet natured woman, who is headstrong and determined, and completely selfless.
Narrated in the first person, Bronte's writing instantly draws the reader into the story, compelling us to read another chapter, and another, without much respite. I found the book incredibly hard to put down. The way the story unfolds is mesmerising, and it is so intelligently written and absorbing; i often found myself musing over the previously read chapters when i did eventually put the book down for a rest.
The last two chapters had me in tears, literally; i was reading the final chapters while sat in my garden, sunglasses on, though when the tears began to fall, i had to remove them because tears just fell onto the plastic lenses, and then they fell onto the very pages which bought those tears on. I rarely get this emotional when reading, and i am quite sure i have never shed so many tears over any book until now.
Jane is such a likeable character and i am sure most readers identify with her, even today, some 180 years since its first publication, her situation and predicaments are something we all experience in our lives at some point.
Ten years ago i would not even have attempted to read such a book, i would have dismissed it as some pretentious, Victorian Gothic drivel, as boring as watching paint dry, but let me tell you, it is so beautifully written, so enchanting, and so easy to read; do not think for one second that it is complicated because it is not; the poetic way Charlotte writes will mesmerise you.
It is no wonder that this story has stood the test of time, and i am sure that in another 180 years time this fine example of english literature will have its fans as much as it does today.
Read Jane Eyre, i urge you, you will not regret it!
on 17 October 2007
When I saw the only other review, I had to chime in! I loved this book. The novel is, of course, wonderful, and I found the illustrations to be an absolute delight. Dame Darcy's gothic, naive style works perfectly with Charlotte Bronte's text, echoing both the serious yet childlike narrative voice and the whimsical, imaginative art that Jane herself creates.
The quality of this volume is fantastic - the covers and spine are beautifully designed to look aged and well-loved, the fonts are elegant, easy on the eye and authentic-looking and the illustrations themselves (a mix of black and white embellishments and full colour plates) are generously scattered throughout. It works wonderfully, and would make a perfect gift.
As for the fact that the cover shows Jane and the burning house, I can honestly say that this didn't bother me. I find that most book covers tend to be, like movie posters or trailers, a composite of dramatic images from the story intended to give a flavour of what follows rather than a literal promise. I didn't give this artistic license a second thought!
on 15 March 2006
Definitely one of my 'Desert Island' book choices. I have read this novel dozens of times and the beauty of it never grows dim.
Jane is not your typical heroine; other characters view her plain and small and insignificant but not Mr Rochester. Then again, he is hardly the dashing hero either! This book is as relevant today as it has always been. People are people. That will never change.
There are some cracking lines in it too which show Bronte's humour:
Rochester[after the fire]: "Am I hideous, Jane?"
Jane:"Very, sir: you always were, you know."
A true classic!
Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre" tells a story of a very likable personage - orphan girl Jane Eyre who, after her parents' deaths lived in a house of her aunt and three cousins who heartily hated her, then being of the age of 10 she was sent to a special school-orphanage where after spending 8 years she became a teacher and later a governess in a rich people's house...The fun part of a story starts exactly where Jane is felling in love and the reader is able to know more of the special Jane Eyre's character...
It is an excellent literature work, an amazing story and real pleasure to read. Having never read any works of Charlotte Bronte before I was quite sceptical about "Jane Eyre" at first thinking it is going to be another Cinderella like story about an angelically kind orphan girl who lets other people be cruel to her. Anyway Jane Eyre is a very strong, brave and independent personage as well as kind and all the other novel characters seem to be very realistic and believable too.
The story itself was very enjoyable and powerful, it didn't have any clichés, I couldn't expect it to end the way it did and what I liked most (and what surprised me most) that the author's goal did not seem to make all the story personages perfect and polished like in other works of that time but we may encounter with a great variety of REAL characters. Charlotte Bronte's "Jayne Eyre" is a brilliantly written story of young girl's life and real earthly love. I love it very much and recommend it to everyone because it was an amazingly written book.