Eyre Apparent, an exhibition celebrating Charlotte Brontë's classic novel, is now open at the George Peabody Library on Mount Vernon Place in Baltimore.
A favorite with Victorian readers (and with Queen Victoria herself), Jane Eyre became a staple of the school curriculum and remains a cornerstone of the English literary canon. From series books to comic books, dolls to playing cards, Eyre Apparent follows the novel from the mid-19th century to the present, revealing how shifting cultural contexts have shaped the book's meaning, and the ways in which Jane Eyre continues to inspire our imaginations.
Charlotte Brontë's rise to fame began with a spectacular failure: she and her sisters Emily and Anne self-published a volume of poems in 1846 that is said to have sold two copies. A year later, Charlotte (using the pseudonym Currer Bell) submitted the manuscript for Jane Eyre, which was published by Smith, Elder in October 1847.
An immediate success, Jane Eyre went through numerous editions, translations, and theatrical adaptations in Europe and America in the second half of the 19th century. By 1901, its canonical status was confirmed; it was the first volume in the World's Classics series. Jane Eyre went through hundreds of 20th-century printings. It has had about 30 film versions and more than 50 stage and musical adaptations.
Objects in the exhibition are from the teaching collections of Rare Book School, an independent non- profit institute supporting the study of the history of books, printing, and related subjects. The school is located at the University of Virginia.
The George Peabody Library is at 17 E. Mount Vernon Place. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. The exhibition will run through Oct. 31.
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