Attraction, desire and sex were not proper subjects for a 19th-century novel, and Charlotte Brontë's clear and open handling of all three in Jane Eyre was shocking, exciting and revolutionary.
Jane Eyre - a small, plain-faced, intelligent and honest English orphan - is abused by her aunt and cousins as a child; acquires role models during her education at Lowood Academy; becomes the governess of Thornfield Manor, where she falls in love with her Byronic employer, Edward Rochester; spends time with the Rivers family at Marsh's End and Morton, where cousin St John Rivers proposes to her; and is finally reunited with and marries her beloved Rochester at his house of Ferndean.
Author Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855) was born at Thornton, Yorkshire, to an Irish Anglican clergyman and his wife, Maria Branwell. When Charlotte was four, the family moved to the famed Parsonage at Haworth, which was to prove so influential in her and her siblings' writing.
A year later, in 1921, her mother died of cancer, leaving five girls and a boy to be brought up by her sister, Elizabeth - 'Aunt Branwell'. She was the eldest of the three famous Bronte sisters, whose novels have become standards of English literature.
Public Domain (P)2008 Silksoundbooks Limited