Villette

Front Cover
Penguin, Feb 3, 2004 - Fiction - 592 pages
52 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.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
21
4 stars
18
3 stars
9
2 stars
4
1 star
0

LibraryThing Review

User 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 Review

User 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

Contents

Introduction
VOLUME
Bretton
Paulina
The Playmates CHAPTER IV Miss Marchmont CHAPTER VTurning aNew Leaf CHAPTER VI London
Villette
Madame Beck
Isidore
La Terrasse CHAPTER XVIII WeQuarrel CHAPTER XIX The Cleopatra CHAPTER XX The Concert CHAPTER XXI Reaction
TheLetter
Vashti
M de Bassompierre
The Little Countess
CHAPTERXXVI A Burial
The Hotel Crécy
VOLUME THREE

CHAPTER X Dr John
The Portresss Cabinet
The Casket
A Sneeze Out of Season CHAPTER XIV The Fźte CHAPTER XV The Long Vacation
VOLUME
Auld Lang Syne
The Watchguard
M Paul CHAPTERXXXI The Dryad CHAPTER XXXII TheFirst Letter
CHAPTERXXXIV Malevola CHAPTER XXXV Fraternity
CHAPTERXXXVIII Cloud CHAPTER XXXIX Oldand New Acquaintance
Afterword Selected Bibliography
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2004)

Emily Jane Brontė was the most solitary member of a unique, tightly-knit, English provincial family. Born in 1818, she shared the parsonage of the town of Haworth, Yorkshire, with her older sister, Charlotte, her brother, Branwell, her younger sister, Anne, and her father, The Reverend Patrick Brontė. All five were poets and writers; all but Branwell would publish at least one book.

Fantasy was the Brontė children’s one relief from the rigors of religion and the bleakness of life in an impoverished region. They invented a series of imaginary kingdoms and constructed a whole library of journals, stories, poems, and plays around their inhabitants. Emily’s special province was a kingdom she called Gondal, whose romantic heroes and exiles owed much to the poems of Byron.

Brief stays at several boarding schools were the sum of her experiences outside Haworth until 1842, when she entered a school in Brussels with her sister Charlotte. After a year of study and teaching there, they felt qualified to announce the opening of a school in their own home, but could not attract a single pupil.

In 1845 Charlotte Brontė came across a manuscript volume of her sister’s poems. She knew at once, she later wrote, that they were “not at all like poetry women generally write…they had a peculiar music–wild, melancholy, and elevating.” At her sister’s urging, Emily’s poems, along with Anne’s and Charlotte’s, were published pseudonymously in 1846. An almost complete silence greeted this volume, but the three sisters, buoyed by the fact of publication, immediately began to write novels. Emily’s effort was Wuthering Heights; appearing in 1847 it was treated at first as a lesser work by Charlotte, whose Jane Eyre had already been published to great acclaim. Emily Brontė’s name did not emerge from behind her pseudonym of Ellis Bell until the second edition of her novel appeared in 1850.

In the meantime, tragedy had struck the Brontė family. In September of 1848 Branwell had succumbed to a life of dissipation. By December, after a brief illness, Emily too was dead; her sister Anne would die the next year. Wuthering Heights, Emily’s only novel, was just beginning to be understood as the wild and singular work of genius that it is. “Stronger than a man,” wrote Charlotte, “Simpler than a child, her nature stood alone.”

Bibliographic information