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Jane Eyre and its Afterlives (The One Series)

ENGL 4508.301
MW 10:15-11:44am

Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre has enthralled readers since its publication in 1847, and its themes and motifs have come to characterize Victorian fiction: a young, orphaned woman comes of age and encounters romance as a governess in a mysterious English manor house. The novel’s enormous popularity and cultural endurance has resulted in several artistic retellings of Brontë’s work—prequels, sequels, theatrical productions, films, and graphic novels all offer striking new interpretations of the original text. In this course, we will ask ourselves why and how Jane Eyre keeps getting modernized, reworked, and retold. To do so, we will begin by reading Jane Eyre closely and thoughtfully. We will then read or watch subsequent works that adapt aspects of the original novel to new places like the colonial Caribbean (Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea), Seoul (Patricia Park’s Re Jane), and New York City (Aline McKenna & Ramón Pérez’s Jane). What does each adaptation tell us about the continued relevance of recirculated stories in our modern world? Creatively inclined students may develop their own adaptation of Jane Eyre (in a medium of their choice), and all students will leave the course with a stronger grasp of Victorian fiction and culture. Assignments will include brief research exercises and short writing in various forms. For the final project, students will have the choice of a critical essay or creative project.

English Major Requirements
  • Literature Seminar pre-1900 (AEB9)
  • Sector 5 19th Century (AE19)
English Concentration Attributes
College Attributes
Additional Attributes