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Villette by Charlotte Bronte
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Villette (original 1853; edition 1966)

by Charlotte Bronte

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5,48785791 (3.91)2 / 374
Member:InigoMontoya
Title:Villette
Authors:Charlotte Bronte
Info:Dent (An Everyman Paperback) (1966), Paperback, 468 pages
Collections:Your library
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Tags:Main, Fiction

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Villette by Charlotte Brontë (1853)

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English (80)  German (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Italian (1)  French (1)  All languages (85)
Showing 1-5 of 80 (next | show all)
Look, Virginia Woolf called it Bronte's "finest novel," and George Eliot wrote, "Villette! Villette! Have you read it? It is a still more wonderful book than Jane Eyre. There is something almost preternatural in its power." I couldn't agree more. I was fortunate enough to read this is the first English course to get me hooked on 19th century British lit. We read it over the course of three weeks, so it was the perfect way to digest the magic of Villette. A love story that is far more rewarding than that of Jane Eyre (which I also love), Villette is a treasure.

( )
  Ginnywoolf | Mar 22, 2015 |
I'm a big fan of Jane Eyre, so this had been on my to-read list for a while. I'm glad I finally picked it up! I liked that the novel dwells so much on friendships; ultimately the romantic elements feel a bit like an afterthought or obligation, which is fairly unique for a novel from this time period. ( )
  okrysmastree | Feb 1, 2015 |
This is the story of a brave but judgmental woman who must make her own way in the world and does so by moving to "Villette" where she enters a boarding school, first as governess to the owner's children, and later as a teacher. The characters are rich and full (with the exception of one who is far too idealized), and many of the characters are so fascinating that I couldn't wait to see what they were going to do next. This story also has its gothic turns to add an extra bit of interest. ( )
  whymaggiemay | Jan 27, 2015 |
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. Drawing on her own deeply unhappy experiences as a teacher in Brussels, 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. Summary HPL

Like her predecessor, Jane Eyre, Lucy is an intelligent young woman with a rich interior life whose innate superiority few are privileged to witness. Like Jane Eyre, Lucy's spirit, or soul as Miss Bronte might have called it, is already mature when we first meet her. The plot arc describes her travails as she secretly hopes for the partner who will discover and embrace the passionate creature raging beneath the armour of quiet, self-effacing manners. In the style of many Victorian novels, VILLETTE unspools its 611 pages slowly-- however if we think of a modern equivalent, say DOWNTON ABBEY, we will appreciate the 19th century reader's delight in every architectural detail, every social nuance. The passages in French, however, become onerous...

Where JANE EYRE might be considered autobiographical fantasy--a life worthy of Charlotte Bronte--VILLETTE is closer to Miss Bronte's actual history. Dr. John has been linked to the Brontes' publisher George Smith; M. Emmanuel to Charlotte's Professor in Brussels, M. Heger. The loneliness, the isolation Lucy experiences in the fictional town of Villette is formidable; Miss Bronte remembered the feelings vividly as she wrote VILLETTE. She was also expressing the impact of the void created by the recent deaths of her 2 younger sisters (within six months of each other) as well as her brother. Charlotte Bronte was the sole survivor of 6 children: the care of her ailing--demanding--father devolved onto her.

I enjoyed the novel as a memoir of Miss Bronte's youth, when love, equality and independence seemed to hover at the horizon.

8 out of 10 Highly recommended to to devotes of JANE EYRE and to readers of historical fiction and Victorian literature. ( )
  julie10reads | Jan 2, 2015 |
Lucy Snowe, adrift in her life in England, travels abroad to French-speaking Villette, and becomes a teacher.

On wiki it says that in Villette (apparently modelled on Brussels), Lucy is "drawn into adventure and romance." This is an exaggeration. For pretty much all of its 650 pages, basically nothing happens in this book. Lucy has some fairly minor ups and downs in her life, and is associated with people who are in much the same boat. It is a report on a mundane life among mundane lives. And yet it's excellent. It's incredibly well observed psychologically, and really creeps up on you. In a largely eventless, plotless book, with an entirely passive narrator, the little ups and downs become as all consuming for the reader as they do for the character. I'm not quite sure how Bronte pulls it off, but it's very good indeed. Loved the ending, too.

One note - some of the dialogue is in French, so if (like me), you don't speak it, get an edition (unlike me) that translates it. ( )
  roblong | Dec 16, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (56 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charlotte Brontëprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Haapanen-Tallgren, TyyniTranslatorsecondary 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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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:29:26 -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)

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