Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, was published 171 years ago. The story of the “poor, obscure, plain, and little” Jane who survived a harsh, unloved, and lonely childhood has enthralled readers ever since, and her passionate nature, realized both in her rebellion against her oppressors and her love for Mr. Rochester, makes the novel a romantic classic. When Bronte sent the manuscript to a publisher in August 1847, she chose the pen name Currer Bell, hoping to avoid prejudice against a female author. It had already been rejected five times, but Smith, Elder, and Company took a risk and published it. Jane’s moral courage, strong will, and integrity were considered revolutionary and “unfeminine” by some critics when it was first published, but its depiction of a woman determined not to compromise her hard-won sense of self has endured and seems most modern today.