Conflicts of Interpretation: Who or What is Jane Eyre?

Programs for Teachers
Newberry Teachers' Consortium
Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A number of prominent and conflicting interpretations of Charlotte Bronte’s/ Jane Eyre/ have emerged over the past few decades.  Originally viewed as a love story, later as a feminist manifesto, and more recently as both a colonialist and anti-colonialist allegory, the novel’s complex mediations allow for a rich variety of interpretations.  We shall try to determine both the relationship between some prominent methodologies (e.g. feminist, Marxist, postcolonial criticism) and the relationship among the resulting interpretations of the novel. Is there a satisfactory reading of /Jane Eyre/ that takes all these concerns into account, or must we choose among them?

Seminar led by Jules Law, Northwestern University

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