Summer Reading List: Jane Eyre

The UC Berkeley Summer Reading List is an annual compilation of recommended (though not required) readings suggested by Cal faculty, staff, and students as a welcome to incoming freshmen and transfer students.

This week we take a closer look at Jane Eyre: An Autobiography by Charlotte Brontë, New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

“Brontë’s most famous novel was once required reading in high school, but now I find that only a handful of incoming students have read it, so I’ve started assigning it in my Reading & Composition courses. At once a window on British Victorian culture and a transcultural coming-of-age story, it combines all the best elements of mystery and romance with a more subtle commentary on how to establish one’s own independence and identity in a world fraught with challenges to both. It also provides a jumping-off point for thinking about the exploitation and suffering that took place in Britain’s colonies, especially for women, and particularly when read together with Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea.”

—CATHERINE CRONQUIST BROWNING, Lecturer, Department of English

This post was contributed by Michael Larkin Lecturer, College Writing Programs

Tim Dilworth First Year Coordinator, Library

Jonathan Garrett Site designer, Doe & Moffitt Libraries