Jane Eyre (originally published as Jane Eyre: An Autobiography) is a novel by English writer Charlotte Brontë, published under the pen name “Currer Bell,” on 16 October 1847, by Smith, Elder & Co. of London. The first American edition was published the following year by Harper & Brothers of New York. Arguably a Bildungsroman, Jane Eyre follows the experiences of its eponymous heroine, including her growth to adulthood and her love for Mr. Rochester, the brooding master of Thornfield Hall. The novel revolutionised prose fiction in that the focus on Jane’s moral and spiritual development is told through an intimate, first-person narrative, where actions and events are coloured by a psychological intensity. Charlotte Brontë has been called the “first historian of the private consciousness” and the literary ancestor of writers like Proust and Joyce. The book contains elements of social criticism, with a strong sense of Christian morality at its core and is considered by many to be ahead of its time because of Jane’s individualistic character and how the novel approaches the topics of class, sexuality, religion and feminism.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Charlotte Brontë (21 April 1816 – 31 March 1855) was an English novelist and poet, the eldest of the three Brontë sisters who survived into adulthood and whose novels became classics of English literature.
She enlisted in school at Roe Head in January 1831, aged 14 years. She left the year after to teach her sisters, Emily and Anne, at home, returning in 1835 as a governess. In 1839 she undertook the role as governess for the Sidgwick family, but left after a few months to return to Haworth where the sisters opened a school, but failed to attract pupils. Instead they turned to writing and they each first published in 1846 under the pseudonyms of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. Her first novel The Professor was rejected by publishers, her second novel Jane Eyre was published in 1847. The sisters admitted to their Bell pseudonyms in 1848, and by the following year were celebrated in London literary circles.
Brontë experienced the early deaths of all her siblings. She became pregnant shortly after her marriage in June 1854 but died on 31 March 1855 of tuberculosis or possibly typhus.