A 'Deeper Shade of the Supernatural': Jane Eyre and the Occult Public Deposited

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  • May 15, 2019
  • Whitten, Julia
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of English and Comparative Literature
  • Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre hangs in the balance between realism and supernaturalism, upending our notion of what qualifies as realist literature. Though suggestions of the supernatural are laced throughout the story, Jane and the reader are only faced with a truly inexplicable, supernatural phenomenon – the cry across the moors – by nearly end of the novel. This event creates a situation in which narrator and reader are forced to reconsider the previous suggestions and inklings of the supernatural as comprising the otherwise realistic world of Jane Eyre. In three chapters I explore Jane’s personal theological journey between orthodox and occult influences; the nineteenth-century electrical inventions which inspire Brontë’s descriptions of supernatural energy, passion, and action across distance; and the role that the uncanny and the fantastic play in creating the ambiguous natural-supernatural setting that is so unique to Jane Eyre.
Date of publication
Resource type
  • Brodey, Inger
  • Bachelor of Arts
Academic concentration
  • English
Honors level
  • Honors
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2019
  • English

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