Jane Eyre Questions and Answers
by Charlotte Brontë

Jane Eyre book cover
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Hello. Is Jane Eyre written in old/ middle/ modern English? Thanks

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Jane Eyre
is written in Modern English. Jane Eyre was written in 1847, during the Victorian period in England. Modern English is the form of English used from around 1500 onward, so even Shakespeare is considered (early) Modern English. While there certainly are differences in the slang, expressions, and vocabulary used in the Victorian period compared to a text written today, the overall form of the English language remains the same. Middle and Old English, on the other hand, sound considerably different, so much so that they are difficult for a modern reader to understand. Middle English refers to the form of the language used from around 1100 to 1500, and an example of a Middle English text is The Canterbury Tales, by Chaucer. Old English, which is virtually indecipherable to a modern reader not trained to read it, was used from around 700 to 1100. The epic poem Beowulf is an example of an Old English text.
The language Brontë uses is in Jane Eyre is often formal sounding, possibly a bit archaic for the time. Brontë writes in a style reminiscent of some of the eighteenth-century writing she would have read. She can use complex sentence structures, but she also maintains a simple and elegant style throughout the book, characterized by vivid descriptive language.
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