Front Cover
Modern Library, 1997 - Fiction - 575 pages
63 Reviews
With her final novel, Villette, Charlotte Bronte reached the height of her artistic power.  First published in 1853, Villette is Bronte's most accomplished and deeply felt work, eclipsing even Jane Eyre in critical acclaim.  Her narrator, the autobiographical Lucy Snowe, flees England and a tragic past to become an instructor in a French boarding school in the town of Villette.  There, she unexpectedly confronts her feelings of love and longing as she witnesses the fitful romance between Dr. John, a handsome young Englishman, and Ginerva Fanshawe, a beautiful coquetter.  This first pain brings others, and with them comes the heartache Lucy has tried so long to escape.  Yet in spite of adversity and disappointment, Lucy Snowe survives to recount the unstinting vision of a turbulent life's journey--a journey that is one of the most insightful fictional studies of a woman's consciousness in English literature.

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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 (1997)

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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