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Jane Eyre
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Charlotte Bronte's first published novel, Jane Eyre was immediately recognised as a work of genius when it appeared in 1847. Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. How she takes up the post of governess at Thornfield Hall, meets and loves Mr Rochester and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage are elements in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman's passionate search for a wider and richer life than that traditionally accorded to her sex in Victorian society.
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About the Author

Charlotte Bronte was born at Thornton, Yorkshire, in 1816. Her mother died in 1821, and Charlotte, her four sisters, Maria, Elizabeth, Emily and Anne, and her brother Branwell were left in the care of their aunt, Elizabeth Branwell. Left to pursue their education mainly at home, all the Bronte children became involved in a rich fantasy life and Charlotte and Branwell collaborated in the invention of the imaginary kingdom of Angria. In 1824 Charlotte went with Maria, Elizabeth and Emily to a school for daughters of the clergy; her experiences there are fictionalized in the Lowood section of Jane Eyre (1847; written under the pseudonym of Currer Bell). She wrote three other novels, Shirey (1849) Vilette (1853) and She Professor (published posthumously in 1857). She also made occasional visits to London where she became known to various writers, including William Thackeray and Elizabeth Gaskell. In 1854 Charlotte finally overcame her father's objections and married, but unfortunately she was to die in the following year.

Reviews

Written in 1847, this novel remains a favorite, especially among younger readers and listeners who continue to be entranced by the young Jane and her mysterious Mr. Rochester. The story of an unhappy orphan and her life as a governess at Thornfield is filled with difficulty, including a shocking revelation on her wedding day. The happy ending finally arrives, though, and Jane and Rochester are united forever. Long criticized as being melodramatic and contrived, Jane Eyre has nonetheless become a romantic classic and is often the book that introduces students to serious literature. Bronte's suspense-filled plot adapts well to the audio format. This version, although abridged, omits nothing of importance. Juliet Stevenson, a Royal Shakespeare Company associate, reads with the drama the story demands and makes each character emerge with life and energy. Recommended for general audiences.-- Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo

Gr 5-7-The opening spreads in these retellings introduce main characters through short descriptions accompanied by small portraits. Colored-pencil illustrations scattered throughout the narratives take the place of lengthy descriptions in the original works. Tavner carefully re-creates the original plots and characters as well as the authors' styles. Editor's notes provide background information on the stories and explain the process of retelling a classic, which includes omitting some subplots and details, combining some events, and changing dialogue to allow ease in reading. Short lists of related movies and discussions of themes and style will spark interest in the originals. Clarifying the plot and character interactions, these retellings are good introductions to the novels.-Denise Moore, O'Gorman Junior High School, Sioux Falls, SD Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

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