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.

Last modified 19 July 2007