Update: Though she would never have put it so indelicately, in this quote (from a letter, August 16, 1849 ), Charlotte Brönte kicks ass, with spirit and decision!

I do not respect an inconsistent critic. He says, ‘if Jane Eyre be the production of a woman, she must be a woman unsexed.’ In that case the book is an unredeemed error and should be unreservedly condemned. Jane Eyre is a woman’s autobiography, by a woman it is professedly written. If it is written as no woman would write, condemn it with spirit and decision

(thanks to Dear Literary Ladies)

Just read this for the first time recently. It was so good, I immediately borrowed more novels by Charlotte Bronte, and enjoyed those too.  I hope the movie doesn’t make it “just a love story”. It really helps to understand the social background of the times to appreciate the dramatic events. Charlotte Bronte felt very strongly the limitations on a woman of those times: you had to be rich or beautiful (preferably both) to have any hope of getting married, and if you didn’t marry you were limited to being a governess or a nursemaid or similar servant, with the lifelong bitterness of knowing you were not and never would fulfil your potential, and would have only a tiny chance of meeting someone who appreciated your mental abilities and character.

Being an 18th-century novel, it has its share of melodrama – the rather (to our 21st-century senses) strained coincidences, and the odd incident of second-sight – but I didn’t find they distracted from the story. Bronte was criticized for other things in the novel, too: her description of the dress of the upper-class ladies, for instanced, or their conversation, were laughed at as being unrealistic, and revealing of how little  Ms Bronte knew about the world she was trying to depict (which was a “nice” way of saying she was out of her class, in more ways than one).

I’m looking forward to seeing the movie. Here’s the trailer below, and there’s more info on the excellent IMDB website.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8J6Cjn06kA’]