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Villette by Charlotte Bronte

Villette (original 1853; edition 1966)

by Charlotte Bronte

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5,961101701 (3.9)3 / 407
Authors:Charlotte Bronte
Info:Dent (An Everyman Paperback) (1966), Paperback, 468 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Main, Fiction

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Villette by Charlotte Brontë (1853)


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English (95)  German (2)  English (1)  French (1)  Italian (1)  Danish (1)  English (101)
Showing 1-5 of 95 (next | show all)
Lucy Snowe is an inconsistent character, and even a tad incredulous for being so private and keeping things so close to her chest. But this is what I can identify with. How many times have I kept quiet and not acknowledge that I was there? I know you? Indeed, a character created almost a century ago still has resonance today. And this is why these books are classics. ( )
  siok | Nov 28, 2016 |
It took me a longer time to read this cause of school, but I forgot how much I enjoyed this book. It's still hard for me read the ending. I had made the mistake of reading the introduction first and I know how Bronte really wanted to end the story; now I can't read it any other way. ( )
  Sareene | Oct 22, 2016 |
I was surprised that I liked this one. ( )
  JennysBookBag.com | Sep 28, 2016 |
I have so much to say about Vilette, specially since our earlier read, Portrait of a Lady is still fresh in my mind. Firstly I think Isabel Archer and Lucy Snowe are a study in contrast: their personalities and the way their lives pan out. When the karmic dice were rolled out, or the cards dealt, Isabel got the best of everything: born into a well to do family, with good looks, charm, money (lots of it), To top it all, she is idealistic, believing the best of the people around her and striving to reach her potential. She epitomises what every woman would want to be.

Now look at Lucy. Average looking, an orphan in perpetual penury, working class family background, and forget charm she's not particulary likeable either. William Blake captures what I'm trying to say, in the following lines:

Every night and every morn
Some to misery are born.
Every morn and every night
Some are born to sweet delight.
Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.

Bronte herself points it out in Chap 32, The First Letter, when Pansy confides in Lucy. " I have read of those who sowed in tears, and whose harvest, so far from being reaped in joy, perished by untimely blight..."

Lucy is judgemental and nurtures prejudices-- against things European, against Roman Catholicis; and she has an extremely repressed personality. But she captures the essence of what most of us actually are: a bundle of flaws struggling through our lives, ever trying to better our circumstances.
But what do these two women make with what has been dealt to them? Isabel ia a passive recipient of other peoples' plans and experiments, whereas Lucy gets to grips with her life and makes it happen for her. Early on she realises the empowerment that salaried work grants to a socially marginalised woman. Mind you, even today, if a girl doesn't have looks, or is not rich, or from a 'status' family, she is socially marginalised; how much more so in the 19th century. At the end of the novels, if an audit were done of their lives, Lucy would win hands down, and we are happy for her even though her story doesn't have a happy ending.

Lucy's loneliness, her yearning for love and friendship, her desperation to have deep, meaningful and honest relationships with the people whom she likes, makes one weep for her, but I'm happy that she survives the troubles besetting her, all on her own, with no relatives or well wishers to help her out.
  dragon178 | Sep 20, 2016 |
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 | Sep 15, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 95 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brontë, Charlotteprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cooper, Helen M.Notessecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Haapanen-Tallgren, TyyniTranslatorsecondary 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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 18 descriptions

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18 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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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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