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Jane Eyre, the plain yet spirited governess, introduced a new kind of heroine to literature: one whose virtuous integrity, sharp intellect, and tireless perseverance broke through class barriers to win equal stature with the man she loved. Orphaned and subject to a cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. How she takes up the post of governess at Thornfield Hall, meets and loves Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage are elements in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman's passionate search for a wider and richer life than that traditionally accorded to her sex in Victorian society. Hailed by William Makepeace Thackeray as "the masterwork of a great genius," this impassioned love story is still regarded, over a century after it first appeared, as one of the finest novels in literature.