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Fiction during the Industrial Revolution – Jane Eyre and Little Women

Date Published: 07/02/2023

Did you know two of the world’s most Classic Novels available in the iCentre were written and published by women who lived during the times of the Industrial Revolution?

Charlotte Bronte’s ‘Jane Eyre’ and Louisa May Alcott’s ‘Little Women’ were published in 1847 and 1868 respectively. The countries where these women lived and wrote were newly industrialised and life was rapidly changing. Being a woman who was successful in her own right during this time was very rare and like many female writers during this era, they published their novels under male or androgynous pseudonyms.

Charlotte Bronte’s ‘Jane Eyre’ was, and is, considered the ultimate female heroine. Jane’s perseverance in the face of adversity, her strong personality and wisdom make her one of the few examples of strong women during the early 19th Century. Jane is alone in the world and must forge her own path at a time when women were only recognized if they were aligned with a male either through marriage or servitude. Jane also must navigate a time when social class determined how an individual lived their life.

This theme has resonated with readers for centuries, therefore making it a popular Classic Novel and has been adapted for both stage and screen, most recently at QPAC in July 2022. The film released in 2011 is also a great way to enjoy this story and is available on Mt Alvernia’s Clickview.

Louisa May Alcott’s ‘Little Women’ follows the lives of the four March sisters. Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy during early 19th Century America.  The girls’ father is away at war making life difficult and they must rely upon themselves and each other to survive poverty and tragedy. ‘Little Women’ follows each sister’s path as they navigate growing up and is a treasured tale everyone must read.

Such is the popularity of ‘Little Women’ that it has been made into a Broadway musical, West End theatre production, various screen adaptations (available on Mt Alvernia’s Clickview) and also recently a movie starring Saoirse Ronan and Florence Pugh.

The iCentre has two copies of the Classic Novel ‘Little Women’ and a Graphic Novel titled ‘Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy’. We also have the sequel ‘Good Wives’ available for borrowing.

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