"Villette! Villette! Have you read it?" exclaimed George Eliot when Charlotte Brontė's final novel appeared in 1853. "It is a still more wonderful book than Jane Eyre. There is something almost preternatural in its power."
Arguably Brontė's most refined and deeply felt work, Villette draws on her profound loneliness following the deaths of her three siblings. Lucy Snowe, the narrator of Villette,flees from an unhappy past in England to begin a new file as a teacher at a French boarding school in the great cosmopolitan capital of Villette. Soon Lucy's struggle for independence is overshadowed by both her freindship with a wordly English doctor and her feelings for an autocratic schoolmaster. Brontė's strikingly modern heroine must decide if there is any man in her society with whom she can live and still be free.
"Villette is an amazing book," observed novelist Susan Fromberg Schaeffer. "Written before psychoanalysis came into being, Villette is nevertheless a psychoanalytic work—a psychosexual study of its heroine, Lucy Snowe. Written before the philosophy of existentialism was formulated, the novel's view of the world can only be described as existential. . . . Today it is read and discussed more intensely than Charlotte Brontė's other novels, and many critics now beleive it to be a true master-piece, a work of genius that more than fulfilled the promise of Jane Eyre." Indeed, Virginia Woolf judged Villette to be Brontė's "finest novel."
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - wealhtheowwylfing - LibraryThing
"I seemed to hold two lives--the life of thought, and that of reality; and, provided the former was nourished with a sufficiency of the strange necromantic joys of fancy, the privileges of the latter ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - baswood - LibraryThing
[Villette] by Charlotte Bronte It is hard to believe that Villette was published in 1853 and yet its style is so very reminiscent of its era. It reads like a Victorian novel but one with hardly any ... Read full review