Join the Big Read

The College of Language & Letters invites the campus to join us by reading the following books for our Big Read.


Winter and Spring 2020: Jane Eyre

For the next two semesters we are reading Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre. Published in 1847 under the pen name “Currer Bell,” Brontë’s novel is an important text in literary history that revolutionized the use of first person narration while illuminating issues of gender and class. Jane Eyre is a gothic novel, meaning that it participates in a long literary tradition that includes writers such as Edgar Allen Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne, who were both Brontë’s contemporaries. Critics have long been interested in the way that women authors such as Brontë have used gothic novels to comment on the gender dynamics of English and American cultures. Brontë’s pen name, Currer Bell, was an attempt to avoid the biases that many Victorian readers brought to novels that were written by women. We have selected the Penguin Edition of the novel as our preferred edition. There is no set schedule or pace for reading the book. We will be discussing Jane Eyre in both Winter and Spring semesters of 2020, which should give you plenty of time to finish this hefty novel.

We have three Big Read Chats set up. All chats take place on Thursday afternoons at 11:30 in the Hinckley Chapel.

1. On February 13, Kayla Probeyahn, English Department Adjunct Faculty member, will lead a chat with the title “Jane Eyre and the Feminist Imagination” focused on how critics have discussed the novel’s portrayal of gender.

2. On March 12, J, Dr. Jacqueline Harris, an English Department Faculty member whose graduate work focused on the Victorian period that Brontë was writing in, will lead a chat titled “Jane Eyre’s Journey: The Worldwide Reception of Charlotte Brontë’s Novel” about how the novel was received both in England and abroad.

3. On May 14, Dr. Jason Williams of the English Department will be leading a talk on Jane Eyre’s place in gothic literature.

The College of Language and Letters would like to invite all students, faculty, and staff to participate in this semester’s Big Read.