The spatial dynamics of Jane Eyre chart socio-economic changes and the gradual rise of the bourgeoisie. The third storey at Thornfield Hall contains old furniture, chairs, stools and tapestries; what Nancy Armstrong calls the ‘cultural debris of the aristocracy’ (208) lying waste for it cannot be reproduced in a middle-class world. Aristocratic curios acquire the air of artefacts and the display at Thornfield is akin to a museum’s. It comes as no surprise that this age saw the foundation of a number of museums in England: The National Gallery (1824), National Portrait Gallery (1856), and The South Kensington Museum (1857). Jane Eyre thus delineates the matrix between the rise of the bourgeoisie and imperial expansionism.


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Last modified 19 July 2007