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Villette by Charlotte Brontë
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Villette (1853)

by Charlotte Brontë

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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6,576117872 (3.87)3 / 468
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English (110)  German (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  French (1)  Italian (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (116)
Showing 1-5 of 110 (next | show all)
I can't believe that is how Villette ends. Charlotte Brontë is playing with our minds. Seriously, what just happened? The end was fantastic and crazy. Reading the entire novel was worth it for the build up to those final scenes, to the final lines of the novel. For anyone who has read it, what do you think happened? It's obvious, right? What do you imagine? What are you sure of? What? What?! Seriously, I can't believe what happened.
( )
  Loni.C. | Aug 17, 2018 |
A very enjoyable read - though it is a bit of a 'typical' Charlotte Brontë it also held some surprises.

Lucy, a young woman with no family who can take care of her, travels abroad and finds a position as English teacher at a girls' school. Though her situation is difficult at first, she encounters some old friends and begins to find her place in Villette, with old friends and new friends helping her through her troubles.

The novel is in some ways typical, a story of a female teacher and her hardships, with some obligatory gothic elements and female hysteria, but at the same time Brontë gives the novel an original twist.
The book focuses very much on the interpersonal relations in the school, where the headmistress spies on her pupils and employees, and where there are intrigues going on that influence Lucy's position and future. Brontë weaves an intricate web of relationships, in which new acquaintances of Lucy turn out to be intimately connected to old acquaintances.
In the midst of the intrigues and manipulations at the school, Lucy has to find her way to stay true to herself, whilst simultaneously maintaining her position in the school.
Apart from this, Brontë plays with the narration, turning Lucy at times into an unreliable narrator, giving an extra dimension to the novel.

Definitely more rich than I had expected, and a novel I'd like to re-read in the future. ( )
  Britt84 | Aug 4, 2018 |
I wanted to love Villette, but I never managed to love the character of Lucy Snowe and thus did not care in that deep, integral way that I cared for Charlotte's Jane Eyre. There are large sections of the novel that plod or seem to stand completely still. There is a large discourse on the Papists vs. the Protestants, which brought me almost to tears before it was done. And, by way of its worst failure for me, Bronte lapses into French at the most crucial of times. How can one relate to M. Paul when most of what he says to Lucy at critical moments is presented in French?

There are moments when the power of Bronte's writing breaks through and the story begins to move. There are glimpses of the Bronte magic, but they are broken and sparse. Lucy is a disadvantaged but strong woman who strikes out fearlessly and grasps onto life to make her way and earn her keep. Conversely, she is timid and cowering toward the two men to whom she is attracted, and both of whom treat her with mixtures of disdain and patronization at times. There is little that is loveable in her and I found her cold and icy narrative moved me very little.

The ending is almost enough to redeem the short-comings of the book. It resonates in a way that much of the narrative does not, and it sets in motion more curiosity and thoughts about Lucy's future than I felt through the entire course of the previous 525 pages.

That this book is in many ways autobiographical gives it another layer of sadness. I wonder if Bronte was not too close to her subjects and too invested in her characters to portray them realistically. There is much of the preciousness or viciousness or courtliness or saintliness that simply fails to ring true. Graham, Polly, Genevra and M. Paul all seem more like types than actual people throughout much of the story.

While many have praised this novel and several have held it above Jane Eyre, I think there is a reason that Eyre is so universally loved and read and Villette is more obscure and unknown. The reason lies in the heroine...Jane cannot help but be loved and she loves us back; Lucy cannot be loved nor does she feel any affection for her audience. ( )
  phantomswife | Jul 6, 2018 |
This book broke my heart forever. ( )
  basilisky | Jun 3, 2018 |
I enjoy audio books and Davina Porter is one of my favorite narrators. For this novel, it was difficult to rely on the audio version alone. I needed my visual skills due to the time period and the French phrases. I often referred to the hard copy of the book to enhance my understanding. This may not be an issue for all readers, but certainly was for me.

As for plot, the story held some mystique & was not as depressing as I expected. I read the introduction by Susan Fromberg Schaeffer which was well written with great insight. Once I had such intimate knowledge, I feared everything would be predictable. To prevent spoilers, I recommend reading the introduction afterward. Lucy Snowe was a woman ahead of her time.
( )
  godmotherx5 | Apr 5, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 110 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brontë, Charlotteprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cooper, Helen M.Notessecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Haapanen-Tallgren, TyyniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lane, MargaretIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lilly, MarkEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
May, NadiaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rosengarten, HerbertEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, MargaretEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weston, MandyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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My godmother lived in a handsome house in the clean and ancient town of Bretton.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Friendless and poor, Lucy Snowe arrives in the great Belgian city of Villette, where the sophisticated, devious Madame Beck offers her a post in her girls' school. Though Lucy gradually wins the respect of the spoiled, unruly pupils and her suspicious fellow-teachers, she is adrift from her own culture and finds her solitude desolating. In a powerfully-evoked crisis during the summer vacation, she encounters friends from her childhood, John Bretton and his kindly mother, but her feeling for the charming Dr John have to be curbed when she discovers that his love is bestowed elsewhere. In exploring this crisis and her emergence from it, Charlotte Bronte produced possibly the first, and certainly one of the most important fictional accounts of a woman's emotional breakdown.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140434798, Paperback)

"I am only just returned to a sense of real wonder about me, for I have been reading Villette..." —George Eliot

With neither friends nor family, Lucy Snowe sets sail from England to find employment in a girls’ boarding school in the small town of Villette. There she struggles to retain her self-possession in the face of unruly pupils, an initially suspicious headmaster, and her own complex feelings, first for the school’s English doctor and then for the dictatorial professor, Paul Emmanuel. Charlotte Brontë’s last and most autobiographical novel is a powerfully moving study of isolation and the pain of unrequited love, narrated by a heroine determined to preserve an independent spirit in the face of adverse circumstances.

Villette draws on Brontë’s own unhappy experience as a governess in Brussels
New Introduction examines the novel's social and historical context and argues for its importance as an exploration of imperialism
Includes chronology, suggestions for further reading, and explanatory notes

 

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:28 -0400)

(see all 10 descriptions)

With neither friends nor family, Lucy Snowe sets sail from England to find employment in a girls' boarding school in the small town of Villette. There she struggles to retain her self-possession in the face of unruly pupils, an initially suspicious headmaster, and her own complex feelings, first for the school's English doctor and then for the dictatorial professor, Paul Emmanuel. Charlotte Bront?e's last and most autobiographical novel is a powerfully moving study of isolation and the pain of unrequited love, narrated by a heroine determined to preserve an independent spirit in the face of adverse circumstances.… (more)

» see all 30 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140434798, 0141199881

Urban Romantics

An edition of this book was published by Urban Romantics.

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Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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