William Makepeace Thackeray, [‘Impressions of Charlotte Brontë’] (1847–1853), in The Letters and Private Papers of William Makepeace Thackeray, edited by Gordon N. Ray (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 4 volumes, 1945), vol. ii, 1841–1851, pp. 318–19, 340–1; vol. iii, 1852–1856, pp. 232–3
I wish you had not sent me Jane Eyre. It interested me so much that I have lost (or won if you like) a whole day in reading it at the busiest period, with the printers I know waiting for copy. Who the author can be I can’t guess — if a woman she knows her language better than most ladies do, or has had a ‘classical’ education. It is a fine book though — the man & woman capital — the style very generous and upright so to speak. I thought it was Kinglake for some time. The plot of the story is one with wh I am familiar. Some of the love passages made me cry — to the astonishment of John who came in with the coals. St John the Missionary is a failure I think but a good failure there are parts excellent I dont know why I tell you this but that I have been exceedingly moved & pleased by Jane Eyre. It is a womans writing, but whose? Give my respects and thanks to the author — whose novel is the first English one (& the French are only romances now) that I’ve been able to read for many a day.
KeywordsBusy Period Literary History Young Fellow Womans Writing Strong Impression
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