Jane Eyre

The story of Jane Eyre is one of the best-known in English fiction. Jane is the orphan who survives a miserable early life, first with her aunt at Gateshead Hall and then at Lowood School. She leaves the school for Thornfield Hall, to become governess to the French ward of Mr Rochester. She and Rochester fall in love but, at their wedding, it is revealed he is married already and his wife, insane, is kept in Thornfield’s attic. When Jane Eyre was published in 1847, it was a great success and brought fame to Charlotte Bronte. Combined with Gothic mystery and horror, the book explores many themes, including the treatment of children, relations between men and women, religious faith and hypocrisy, individuality, morality, equality and the nature of true love.

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  • Dinah Birch 13 episodes
    Professor of English Literature and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of Liverpool
  • Karen O'Brien 16 episodes
    Vice Principal and Professor of English Literature at King's College London
  • Sara Lyons No other episodes
    Lecturer in Victorian Literature at the University of Kent

Reading list

  • The Brontes
    Juliet Barker (Abacus, 2010) Google Books →
  • Tales of Glass Town, Angria, and Gondal: Selected Early Writings
    The Brontes (ed. Christine Alexander) (Oxford University Press, 2010) Google Books →
  • Myths of Power: A Marxist Study of the Brontes
    Terry Eagleton (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005) Google Books →
  • The Life of Charlotte Bronte
    Elizabeth Gaskell (ed. Angus Easson) (Oxford University Press, 2009) Google Books →
  • The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth Century Literary Imagination
    Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar (Yale University Press, 2000) Google Books →
  • Charlotte Bronte: The Imagination in History
    Heather Glen (Oxford University Press, 2004) Google Books →
  • Jane Eyre: Contemporary Critical Essays
    Heather Glen (ed.) (Palgrave Macmillan, 1997) Google Books →
  • The Cambridge Companion to the Brontes
    Heather Glen (ed.) (Cambridge University Press, 2002) Google Books →
  • Charlotte Bronte: A Passionate Life
    Lyndall Gordon (Virago, 2008) Google Books →
  • Oxford History of the Novel in English vol 3: The Nineteenth-century Novel, 1820-1880
    John Kucich and Jenny Bourne Taylor (eds.) (Oxford University Press, 2011) Google Books →
  • Charlotte Bronte and Sexuality
    John Maynard (Cambridge University Press, 1984) Google Books →
  • The Bronte Myth
    Lucasta Miller (Vintage, 2002) Google Books →
  • Wide Sargasso Sea
    Jean Rhys (Penguin Classics, 2000) Google Books →
  • Charlotte Bronte and Victorian Psychology
    Sally Shuttleworth (Cambridge University Press, 2004) Google Books →
  • Charlotte Bronte: Writers and their Work
    Patsy Stoneman (Northcote House, 2013) Google Books →
  • The Brontes in Context
    Marianne Thormahlen (ed.) (Cambridge University Press, 2014) Google Books →

Related episodes

Programme ID: b05y11v8

Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05y11v8

Auto-category: 823.8 (English fiction–19th century)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. In 1847, Jane Eyre was published, with the author's name given as Currer Bell.