Book Review: The Illustrated Jane Eyre

The Illustrated Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Illustrations by Dame Darcy

This book has been sitting on my desk for about two and a half weeks waiting to be reviewed, so Slate beat me to the punch. Their review is quite nice, so feel free to go read it as well.

This volume belongs in the library of any Bronte aficionado. There are many things which will endear this book to its readers. After the title page of this volume, a replica of the title page from the original first edition appears with the author appearing as Currer Bell, the name under which Charlotte Bronte wrote Jane Eyre. The original foreword by the author to the second edition is also included and was a joy to read. The pages are rough cut, like folio pages. All of this would have been enough to make this bibliophile swoon, but then there are also illustrations.

The illustrations, of course, are what make this a truly lovely volume. Dame Darcy, of whom I had not previously heard, has created drawings that are gothic, dark, and playful. They reminded me a bit of Edward Gorey, though Dame Darcy has a style all her own. Most of the illustrations are in black and white, but there are some very wonderful ones in color. Some of the drawings are full page depictions of the novel’s events and others grace the margins. Dame Darcy is able to show both the bleakness of the human condition always present in Bronte’s work while also including the notion of hope that the characters hold for the future.

It has been a few years since I delved into Jane Eyre and this beautiful rendition of a much loved book, makes me want to romp on the hills of the Rochester Estate once more.

Highly Recommended – Great for Charlotte Bronte newbies and essential for lovers of the original