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Portrait


Image from Wikimedia Commons

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Biography

Dates:January 11th, 1961
Hometown:London, England

Full Biography

Resources and Links

Jasper Fforde Homepage
Everything you ever wanted to know (and more!) about Jasper Fforde. There are many child pages, which can be hard to navigate at times, so see below for a direct link.

The Eyre Affair Sub-Index
Portal to all of the Eyre Affair-related links on Fforde's website.

Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea
A student wiki that explores another 20th century novel based on Jane Eyre.

Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
A student wiki on the original classic Jane Eyre.

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Allusions

Throughout the novel there are numerous literary and historical allusions that help to reaffirm the importance of literature in the book's parallel universe by referencing people, places, and things outside of the story itself. The constant use of these references, however, can either make the reader feel accomplished when picking up on them, or perplexed when coming across one concerning an unfamiliar topic. Before reading the novel it may be a good idea for one to familiarize themselves with these allusions.

See Full List of Allusions

Link to Shakespeare Allusions by Page

7-12 Classroom Resources

Find discussion starters and assignment ideas for teachers and students reading The Eyre Affair here.

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Introduction / Book Covers

The Eyre Affair is the first novel in the Thursday Next Series written by British author Jasper Fforde. Set in a parallel 1985 universe, the novel follows protagonist Thursday Next as she battles a criminal mastermind who is kidnapping characters from classic literature.

Summary

           In the parallel universe constructed by Jasper Fforde in his novel The Eyre Affair, Europe and Imperial Russia have been at war for more than a century. As the Crimean War rages on England itself is under the control of the Goliath Corporation, a weapons company with questionable motives, while Wales is a completely separate socialist nation. In this fictional universe literature plays a much more important role than in the real world, and even has a department specifically set up to protect classic texts. Crimean War veteran and literary detective Thursday Next is temporarily promoted after the theft of the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit because she is one of the few people that have seen the suspected thief, Acheron Hades, and would likely be able to provide a positive identification should the unit get a chance confront him. The detective finds herself face to face with Hades sooner than anticipated, but he manages to avoid capture and Next soon realizes that their story will be longer than she had initially prepared. After the Jane Eyre manuscript is stolen as well Thursday also discovers that the boundaries between her world and the literary world are less definite than she could have imagined as she finds herself being pulled into the novel itself to protect the characters and insure the safety of the stories outcome.

Summary by Chapter

Form As Content

The Epigraphs

Each chapter of The Eyre Affair opens with a small epigraph underneath the chapter title, all from a variety of inter-textual and extra-textual sources. Typically light, funny, or satirical, these epigraphs play and extremely important role in the form aspect ofThe Eyre Affair's content, and to the tone of the entire novel.

Thursday Next's Perspective

As a general rule of literature and life, point of view matters. The perspective from which a story is told can change everything that happens in said story. Since Thursday Next is not the exclusive first person narrator she originally seems to be, The Eyre Affair's content is complicated even further than we already knew it would be.

The Young Adult Novel

While reading The Eyre Affair, the fact that it was published originally as a young adult novel is something to be considered. In some ways, it allows Fforde to get away with breaking several rules of literature that usually deter members of a more mature audience of traditional readers (such as the distractingly inconsistent POV, the uncomfortably cliché dialogue, etc.), but the labeling of The Eyre Affair serves more purpose than a simple excuse.

Clichés

The amount of overused lines, plot devices, and character constructs in The Eyre Affair equally balances out the never-before-heard-of bizarre elements in the book. Phrases such as “Love is like oxygen”(171) and “The first casualty of war is always truth”(200), and several more lines that can no longer be traced back to an original source because they’ve been quoted so many different times, litter the already-stocked narrative. In addition, along the way, we are introduced to such a wide range of stereotypes that cover just about everything, from female cops to evil corporations the size of (and named after) unbeatable giants.

Continued

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Major Themes

Happy Endings

Life is not boxed up and tied with a pretty ribbon. A perfect life is not served up on a silver platter. And life doesn't always offer a happy ending. Perhaps it is because of this that happy endings have become a popular theme among both literature and film, particularly when the storyline contains a romance or some sort. Regardless of the reason behind this type of story-telling, it is clear that no matter how cliche this concept may be, it is here to stay.

Time Travel

British Pride and its Spread

Loyalty and Betrayal

The popular and critical receptions of The Eyre Affair. WARNING: Ffordians can get intense. The devotion of his fans is not for the faint of heart.

Absurdism, Religion, and War

How Fforde’s treatments of war and religion fit (and don’t fit) into the absurdist genre.

Topics for Discussion

--Individually, what do you guys think about the power of the author? How much or little does he/she have? 

--Along similar lines, how much right do readers have to appropriate published works and create something new out of them? Are adaptations any less valuable as works in their own right because they originally took from something else?

--The Eyre Affair explores the possibility of time travel and the ability to enter works of literature, therefore illustrating the chance of infinite alternate endings. Although there may be a number of people who are unhappy with the ending of many classic novels, do you think they would choose to change the outcome if given the chance?

--How do the literary allusions throughout the novel add or detract from the story itself?

--Why do you think Fforde decided to add the subplot centering around the Crimean War? Does its inclusion contribute or detract from the main storyline?

Bibliography

Fforde, Jasper. The Eyre Affair. New York, NY: Penguin, 2001. Print.

Flieger, Jerry Aline. “Postmodern Perspective: The Paranoid Eye.” New Literary History 28 (1997): 87-109.

Hateley, Erica. “The End of The Eyre Affair: Jane Eyre, Parody, and Popular Culture.” The Journal of Popular Culture, Vol. 38, No. 6 (2005): 1022-1034.

Horstkotte, Martin. “The Postmodern Fantastic in Contemporary British Fiction.” Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2004.

"Jasper Fforde Biography, plus Links to Book Reviews and Book Excerpts from Books by Jasper Fforde." BookBrowse.com. Web. 28 Apr. 2012. <http://www.bookbrowse.com/biographies/index.cfm/author_number/737/jasper-fforde>.

"World Biography." Jasper Fforde Biography. Web. 28 Apr. 2012. <http://www.notablebiographies.com/newsmakers2/2006-Ei-La/Fforde-Jasper.html>.

"Motocross Track - Leigh Dela Mare M4 Practice." Motocross Track - Leigh Dela Mare M4 Practice. Total MX, 2012. Web. 10 May 2012. <http://www.totalmx.co.uk/tracks/Leigh-Dela-Mare-M4-Practice.php>.

Pynchon, Thomas. Against the Day. Michigan: Penguin Books, 2007.
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