Saturday, October 08, 2016

31 Days of Gothic Romance | Jane Eyre

1847 was a big year for gothic romance. Ann Radcliffe popularized the genre 50 years earlier and even legitimized it for many people, but it took Brontës to make it Literature. In October 1847, Charlotte Brontë published Jane Eyre under the pseudonym Currer Bell, even pretending to have edited an autobiography of an actual Jane Eyre.

The story follows its eponymous character as she grows from child to adult and was revolutionary for the way it handled character development. But as important as it is to the evolution of novels, it hangs its achievements on a gothic romance plot. Jane comes of age in a creepy, old house with secret rooms protected by a dark, brooding master. In many ways, the story is a mature version of Beauty and the Beast. Rochester is handsome, but he's off-putting in other ways and Jane sees through that to the good soul beneath. There's even an element of the supernatural in Jane's dreams, her vision of a ghost, and the disembodied voice of Rochester calling her away from a suitor and back to Thornfield Hall.

There have been a ton of film adaptations, but the one that's freshest in my mind is Cary Fukunaga's excellent 2011 version starring Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, and Judi Dench.

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