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Read Books, Jan 1, 2006 - Fiction - 476 pages
63 Reviews
Charlotte Bronte was thirty-six when she wrote Villette, and the peaks of her life's experience were already passed. The profound impressions of her childhood, the day-dream world in which for so many years she had taken a feverish and creative pleasure, the dazzling success of Jane Eyre the all but unendurable grief of the loss of her two sisters - all these were now in the past. She was an established and successful author, and she was alone. Her earlier novels, The Professor, rejected by many publishers and now laid aside, Jane Eyre, and the greater part of Shirley, had all been written in an atmosphere of intimate sympathy, the three sisters working together on their different tales, three heads bent attentively over the same table. Now Charlotte was alone, lost youth, with the whole experience of her lost youth, with the world of her imagination still splendidly vital, but with a heart sobered by what it had learned of life. Another writer might have turned to some untried field for a next novel, but Charlotte Bronte's mind still carried a theme of which she had tried to rid herself in The Professor, but with such a sober hand and under such disguises that the heart of the matter had never been wholly expressed. It was six years, now, since she had come back from Brussels; four years, perhaps, since she could count herself cured of the misery she had brought with her. The last thing was in perspective now, at last; it could be dealt with. The Professor had been laid like a salve on a fresh wound, but now the scar would bear the artist's scrutiny; she was ready for Villette

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User Review  - janerawoof - LibraryThing

Interesting to read the author's semi-autobiographical novel. The main character, Lucy Snowe, was such a contrast with Jane Eyre, her more famous literary "sister"; the latter was more straightforward ... Read full review

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User Review  - tess_schoolmarm - LibraryThing

I read where Villette was the ruination of Charlotte Bronte's career, and I can understand why. The story is disjointed and difficult to follow. It may be difficult to follow if one doesn't know a great deal of conversational French, as entire paragraphs are written in French. Just terrible! Read full review

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About the author (2006)

Charlotte Bronte, the third of six children, was born April 21, 1816, to the Reverend Patrick Bronte and Maria Branwell Bronte in Yorkshire, England. Along with her sisters, Emily and Anne, she produced some of the most impressive writings of the 19th century. The Brontes lived in a time when women used pseudonyms to conceal their female identity, hence Bronte's pseudonym, Currer Bell. Charlotte Bronte was only five when her mother died of cancer. In 1824, she and three of her sisters attended the Clergy Daughter's School in Cowan Bridge. The inspiration for the Lowood School in the classic Jane Eyre was formed by Bronte's experiences at the Clergy Daughter's School. Her two older sisters died of consumption because of the malnutrition and harsh treatment they suffered at the school. Charlotte and Emily Bronte returned home after the tragedy. The Bronte sisters fueled each other's creativity throughout their lives. As young children, they wrote long stories together about a complex imaginary kingdom they created from a set of wooden soldiers. In 1846, Charlotte Bronte, with her sisters Emily and Anne published a thin volume titled Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. In the same year, Charlotte Bronte attempted to publish her novel, The Professor, but was rejected. One year later, she published Jane Eyre, which was instantly well received. Charlotte Bronte's life was touched by tragedy many times. Despite several proposals of marriage, she did not accept an offer until 1854 when she married the Reverend A. B. Nicholls. One year later, at the age of 39, she died of pneumonia while she was pregnant. Her previously rejected novel, The Professor, was published posthumously in 1857.

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