Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Since no one appears to have volunteered to start the Jane Eyre discussion, I thought IÂd get things going.
Apparently the book was favourably received when it was first published in 1847. Then reviewers found out that a woman had written it. To put it in a nutshell, it was too sexy for a woman to write and a lot of people condemned it. In fact, one of the reviews taken from the site following, suggested that it was anti-Christian. The following reviews, one pro and one anti, were taken from a website about Charlotte Bronte. I believe they were written when readers thought it had been written by a man: http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/english/melani/cs6/bronte.html
"The reviewer for the Atlas praised the novel:
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. It has little or nothing of the old conventional stamp upon it ... but it is full of youthful vigour, of freshness and originality, of nervous diction and concentrated interest. The incidents are sometimes melo-dramatic, and, it might be added, improbable; but these incidents, though striking, are subordinate to the main purpose of the piece, which is a tale of passion, not of intensity which is most sublime. It is a book to make the pulses gallop and the heart beat, and to fill the eyes with tears (1847).
The reviewer for the Rambler expressed a criticism that was made against all the Bronte novels--coarseness. The reference to "grosser and more animal passions" is a roundabout way of saying "sex."
Jane Eyre is, indeed, one of the coarsest books which we ever perused. It is not that the professed sentiments of the writer are absolutely wrong or forbidding, or that the odd sort of religious notions which she puts forth are much worse than is usual in popular tales. It is rather that there is a tendency to relapse into that class of ideas, expressions, and circumstances, which is most connected with the grosser and more animal portion of our nature; and that the detestable morality of the most prominent character in the story is accompanied with every sort of palliation short of unblushing justification (1848)
Poor Mr. Rochester. The Rambler reviewer was not a fan. Makes me wonder how that person would review Outlander (which I enjoyed!). They probably would have had a heart attack before they could put pen to paper. My first questions to all of you: How old were you when you first read Jane Eyre? What appealed to you then? Did anything change on a second or third or fifteenth reading? Have you ever heard of a male (other than Martin who is bravely reading this) who finished the book?