Jane Eyre’s “Arabian Tales”: Reading and Remembering the Arabian Nights

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Abstract

This article considers the significance of the Arabian Nights in nineteenth-century memoirs and accounts of childhood. Taking Jane Eyre (1847) as my chief example, I investigate the nature of the childhood encounter with the stories and the intensity of the child's emotional and sensory engagement with the work. I then consider how these stories and books function not only as childhood souvenirs, but also as stand-ins for childhood itself in the construction of an autobiographical subject. Finally, I offer a reading of the presence of the Arabian Nights within the narrative of Jane Eyre and its role in structuring the memories of its eponymous heroine.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-212
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Victorian Culture
Volume18
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Keywords

  • Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte, Childhood, Memory, Arabian Nights, Nineteenth century