Dear Reader 01: The OG Jane Eyre

In this inaugural first episode, I look at the source material Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Why do I love it so? Why do people despise it? Why does it endure? I answer these questions before diving into a plot synopsis and giving historical context to the novel. I then examine the Classical trope of "dutiful wife vs sorceress," three varied types of Christians, Jane's heroine's journey, and more!

In the second half of the episode, I speak with licensed marriage and family therapist Dr. Renae Lapin about the men in Jane's life and her relationships with them.

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7 responses to “Dear Reader 01: The OG Jane Eyre

  1. Fantastic first episode! In full disclosure I’ve never read JANE EYRE, though I have a foggy memory of reading the Cliffs Notes back in the late 1980s for an English class (but can’t be sure).

    Even without having read the book, your analysis is fascinating! It’s a testament to your passion and podcasting skills that I listened to the entire episode and was completely engaged. Additionally, Dr. Renae Lapin was an excellent guest with really interesting insight on the character’s motivations. After hearing Dr. Lapin’s brilliant thoughts, I’ll never make another “your momma” joke to Josh. 😉 You said she was likely your only guest on this podcast series, but I’d encourage bringing in more guests to add further perspectives to the discussion. Fascinating!

    Your descriptions of the book were so compelling that (early in my listening) I’d convinced myself to finally read the book. I was all set to scour my local book shops today and pick up a copy. Then you dropped the bomb that the book was 600+ pages. Whoa. I walked-back that decision a bit, and it’s now on the “someday” list of books to read.

    I do have one contribution to the discussion. You referenced Charlotte Bronte writing under a pseudonym. Sadly in some ways we haven’t progressed that much further, even in our corners of geekdom. Dorothy Fontana was a television script writer starting out in the 1960s. She was one of the few female writers at NBC and therefore adopted the gender-neutral pseudonym of “D.C. Fontana” to prevent her pitches being prejudged based upon gender. She went on to become one of the most celebrated writers of Star Trek episodes. Staying in the Star Trek area… Trek novelist Ann Crispin chose the pen name of “A.C. Crispin” in the 1980s to prevent gender-biased. L.A. Graf is another Trek novelist name who started in the 1990s, but is actually a pen name for a few female novelists working collaboratively. It’s disappointing to see that gender-bias is still a concern in the geek world.

    Lacking any history with the book myself, sadly I don’t have much else to add to the discussion other than to continue complimenting your passion and podcasting skills. Great job and I’ll be listening!

  2. Congrats on a top-notch first episode of this deep dive into Jane Eyre. I have BA & MA Degrees in Literature from John Carroll University and this brings me back to those days in class. It’s a pleasure to hear someone so invested in a classic piece of literature. I am currently teaching an undergrad course on Contemporary Popular Lit and it is very difficult to get the students to even read some of my selected short stories this semester. We have so many “movie minute” podcasts (which are great fun) but this text based podcast approach is something special. I read Jane Eyre many years ago & am looking forward to all the insights of the various interpretations sure to come in future episodes. There’s even a recent opera!

  3. Always a fan of discussing various adaptations of a text (listeners have been saved from a podcast version of my Hyperion to a Satyr blog where I went possibly way to deep into Hamlet) and I registered no surprise that you aced the premiere episode. I would have been satisfied with ep.1 being just the first part’s introduction, but then you throw a quality guest at us. Great stuff from Dr. Lapin.

    Never feel awkward about discussing religion when critiquing works written in an era where it wasn’t much of a choice. What was Christianity in the place/time and how does it inform the text can be approached from an objective top view divorced from modernity. If it’s relevant, no need to dance around it. You’ll find FW listeners are an open bunch of minds either way.


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