Jane Eyre is Charlotte Bronte’s most enduring masterpiece, the unforgettable tale of an orphan girl’s ardent search for a wider and richer life. Originally published in 1847, it was an immediate popular success, but it also caused a storm of controversy. Bronte’s firm insistence on the equality of the sexes and her prescient creation of one of literature’s most independent heroines shocked many of her contemporaries. This surprisingly modern sensibility, combined with Bronte’s magical use of language and her incandescent storytelling, makes the novel particularly rewarding and accessible today. Set in England’s lonely moors and peopled with such memorable characters as the brooding Mr. Rochester, passionate yet melancholy, and the keeper of a terrible secret; the hypocritical Mr. Brocklehurst, a dour “black marble clergyman”; Helen Burns, Jane’s beloved but doomed young friend; Bertha, the famous madwoman in the attic; and of course, its incomparable heroine, Jane Eyre has rightfully taken its place among our greatest literary works.
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