Jane Eyre, the story of a young girl and her passage into adulthood, was an immediate commercial success at the time of its original publication in 1847. Its representation of the underside of domestic life and the hypocrisy behind religious enthusiasm drew both praise and bitter criticism, while Charlotte Brontë’s striking expose of poor living conditions for children in charity schools as well as her poignant portrayal of the limitations faced by women who worked as governesses sparked great controversy and social debate. Jane Eyre, Brontë’s best-known novel, remains an extraordinary coming-of-age narrative, and one of the great classics of literature.
About the Author
Charlotte Bronte, born in 1816, was the sister of Anne and Emily. All wrote famous novels; none lived beyond the age of forty. The sisters were educated at home, and began to write elaborate stories about imaginary kingdoms. Jane Eyre was published under the pseudonym of Currer Bell. Two other novels, Shirley and Villette were published in Charlotte’s lifetime, and although all three achieved success at the time, she was regarded by some to have written too ’emotionally’ and ‘grossly’ for a clergyman’s daughter. He died in 1854, shortly after her marriage to her father’s curate.