07 November 2012

Miss Eyre and cover art timeline

She might not be the prettiest and most dashing girl of the Victorian world, but her spirit, intelligence, wit and her soul is what makes her such a strong and loved character. Miss Jane Eyre besides is our favorite orphan, for a long time has been one of the world’s favorite female fiction characters. I am not sure that analysis and debates whether she was or wasn’t early feminist character, could give us the true judgment, because we cannot experience our own feeling and perception of living in the time the book is written. Miss Eyre, to whom Victorian society has been cruel in many ways indeed, is exploring her ways of living and self-relationship with the world under the framework of same snobbish world. This issue of creating your own place under the sun in the world that doesn’t turn out the way we imagined it would be in early days, after 150 years, is still biggest issue that we can relate to. 
The fact that when novel appeared in 1847, published as autobiography under pseudonym Currer Bell, was sensationally successful, gives us a thought that reader in that time, mid-Victorian woman was not just a pretty face, behind her husband with exceptional needlework technique as her best quality. And surely, that Victorian Lady was the one that was questioning together with Charlotte Brontë and Jane, the woman's right on equality of emotions with man. I am not sure thought did the idea of independence awoke flame in Victorian ladies’ hearts but Jane delights us with her courage and ability needed when she left Thornfield Hall to set her own life away from beloved man. The fact of independent woman, teacher that is helping those needed help, not only that could be characterized as pre-feminist action, but also the fact she is not settling for suitable marriage proposal from St John.
At first glimpse, when reader meets 10-year-old Miss Eyre in Gateshead, she or he realizes that she won’t grow into one of those female Victorians with tape strip over her mouth. So it’s not unusual that our role model has been a heroine not just for girls that have traditional perception of love, but also for all those sarcastic spinsters who still believe in old-fashioned breathless romance in unconventional way. 

Which cover would you like to own? I would love French edition from 1957, and the goth one from 1943 with illustrated girls from Lowood on cover. (Bit Wednesday Addams, don't you think?)


Katie Frank said...

Oh it's such hard question. I'd love to have all of them <3yay.

Unknown said...

Awesome covers! I love the last one:)


Emily Peebles said...

Jane Eyre is one of my favorite heroines - she is so understated. And I actually own the 1943 edition :) It's so beautiful and eerie. I found it at an estate sale in a very small town in my state. I have the Wuthering Heights version as well!

moira said...

i'd have to say the 1957, its so iconic, isnt it? i actually never read the book (gasp) what did you think of the film?

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