Monday, September 22, 2014

The 2014 Jane Eyre Read-Along: Week 1

I am glad that the Read Along has begun and I am rereading Jane Eyre! This week’s questions are brought to us by A Night's Dream of Books

The questions for this week are:

What do you know about this novel 
and its author?
Have you ever read it before, or
is this your first reading?
Have you seen any of the TV
or movie versions?

This novel is one of my lifetime favorites.  It has become one of the handful of novels that I have read and reread my whole life.  I am not sure what my original fascination was although the mystery and sinister nature of the boarding school Jane attended was riveting - a different world.   
It was in 1847 that Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre was published, more than a century before my birth.  The reviews were mixed.  William Thackeray, who wrote another favorite of mine -Vanity Fair, called it "the masterwork of a great genius." One reviewer said: "This is not merely a work of great promise; it is one of absolute performance. It is one of the most powerful domestic romances which have been published for many years."  However, many reviews were negative and some were focused on trying to figure out who had written Jane Eyre, and especially whether the author was a man or a woman. Charlotte Brontë had published the book under the androgynous pseudonym Currer Bell, the same one she had used a year earlier when she published poems by her and her sisters, Emily and Anne.   
That it is still being read and appeals to readers today speaks to its status as a classic.  
I believe I saw the 1943 version of Jane Eyre on television many years ago.  It starred Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine with Margaret O'Brien as Adele and Peggy Ann Garner as the young Jane.  After this reading I think I will view one of the more recent film adaptations.


Maria Behar said...

It's so wonderful that you have loved and enjoyed this great classic your whole life, and that it's one of your favorites! I, too, love it that much!!

This is my second re-reading, and I will definitely read it again in the future!

It's very interesting that "Jane Eyre" had its detractors as well as its fans, at the time of its initial publishing. This happens with every great work, though. Some people are able to see the true quality of a literary work at once, while others are either unable to, or simply don't want to see and appreciate it.

As for the TV and film adaptations, I want to see the Timothy Dalton TV version, as well as the 2011 film. Also, I want to see the Orson Welles and George C. Scott versions again, since it's been a while since I last saw them.

Thanks so much for joining the read-along!! : )

Brian Joseph said...

Thanks so much for joining us James.

I seem to be the only one not reading this book a 2nd time!

I did not know that the reviews at the time were so mixed. It is also fascinating how there was such interest and mystery behind the author's gender.

James said...


Thanks for your comment. I'm looking forward to the read-along and appreciate the insightful questions you have provided for our first week.

James said...


The situation of women authors in the nineteenth century was difficult. Pseudonyms were not uncommon, George Eliot being another famous example. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I have and expect to in this read-along.