Women in the Literary Market 1800-1900

Jane Eyre
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Jane Eyre won immediate and widespread acclaim upon its first release. The Times called it "a remarkable production…that "stand[s] boldly out from the mass." Fraser's Magazine urged its readers to "lose not a day in sending for it." Some, however, declared the book coarse and immoral, and unfit reading for young ladies.

Writing under the pseudonym "Currer Bell," Brontë placed her novel with the London publisher Smith, Elder & Co., who assumed the writer was male. She received 500: a princely sum for a first novel. Brontë’s true identity, revealed the following year, caused great controversy.

With Jane Eyre, Brontë achieved the literary celebrity that Southey had warned her to eschew.

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Jane Eyre. An Autobiography. Edited by Currer Bell. London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1847. Private Collection.
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continue tour

early role models
entering the literary market
learned poets
getting into print
charlotte bronte and george eliot
sin and sensation
new women
L.T. Meade
the three volume format
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