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Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (1847) (Victorian Classics)

Sign up for this course and meet Jane Eyre who perseveres through adversity and oppression. Through it all, Jane is true to her Christian morals.

Total classes: 6

Prerequisite: Read Volume 1 of Jane Eyre before the first class meeting

Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th grade

Suggested credit: ½ semester credit for Literature or English


When a “poor, obscure, plain and little” governess takes a position at Thornfield Hall, she little expects to be swept up by the passion and dark secrets of her enigmatic employer, Mr. Rochester. One of the most famous novels of the mid-Victorian period, Jane Eyre exemplifies the Bildungsroman (“coming-of-age”) genre, and, in fact, radically defined that genre in the English literary tradition. Providing a notable contrast to the secularizing influences of its period (not to mention those of our own, which determinedly misreads the novel), Brontë distinctively grounds her heroine and her novel in Christian moral understanding. The novel presents a host of themes: What is “The Novel”? What is the role of education (especially of women)? How are the natural world and the human person related? What is the role of Gothic atmosphere? What is the relationship between Reason and Feeling—especially in the light of the Fall? Our studies will also address the novel’s biographical and historical context, providing insight into the mid-Victorian Period. In this course, we will come to know Jane Eyre and the remarkable novel that bears her name, studying both over six classes.


Class one: Volume 1, Chapters 1-7.
Class two: Volume 1, Chapters 8-15.
Class three: Volume 2, Chapters 1-5.
Class four: Volume 2, Chapters 6-11.
Class five: Volume 3, Chapters 1-6.
Class six: Volume 3, Chapters 7-12.

Materials and Homework

Course Materials: Recommended edition, Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (Ignatius Critical Edition), ISBN 978-1586176990. The novel is also available for free online via Project Gutenberg.

Homework: Approximately three hours of reading per week, one identification quiz per week, review quizzes every few weeks, and miscellaneous small assignments. A literary-critical writing project opportunity is available for extra credit.

Important Dates

Class Dates: Thursdays, January 11 to February 15, 2024

Starting Time: 2:30 PM Eastern (1:30 PM Central; 12:30 PM Mountain; 11:30 AM Pacific)

Duration per class: 55 minutes 

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