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Immediately popular when published over a century and a half ago, Jane Eyre has continued to find appreciative audiences since. This student casebook offers a unique interdisciplinary approach to the study of Charlotte Bronte's landmark novel. While it gives insightful literary analysis, it also contextualizes the novel in terms of the historical social issues it confronts. Expert commentary is supported with primary documents from legal and medical treatises, magazine articles, letters, essays and first hand accounts. A personal biography written by Elizabeth Gaskell, an acquaintance of Bronte, offers a detailed account of the Cowan Bridge School which Charlotte attended and fictionalized in Jane Eyre.
Educators will find ideas for teaching these topics and for helping students see the connections between the novel and the social concerns it raises. Devoted to close examination of such topics as the diagnosis and treatment of madness and inheritance and marriage law and custom, this work will help students to understand historical cultural influences of yesterday. Contemporary issues such as education and mental illness raised by Jane Eyre are also discussed. Each section offers valuable ideas for written and oral exploration including role playing, debates, and journal writing assignments. Chapters conclude with suggestions for further reading.