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Villette (Vintage Classics) by Charlotte…

Villette (Vintage Classics) (original 1853; edition 2009)

by Charlotte Bronte

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,87196713 (3.9)3 / 406
Title:Villette (Vintage Classics)
Authors:Charlotte Bronte
Info:Vintage (2009), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 672 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:TBR 2012 & PRIOR

Work details

Villette by Charlotte Brontë (1853)


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English (90)  German (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  French (1)  Italian (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (96)
Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
I am not able to finish this book at this time and hope to get back to it in the fall.I read half and did enjoy the story and the writing...so far. I plan to go back. ( )
  LauGal | Aug 16, 2016 |
Jane Eyre will forever surpass all Bronte novels, in my mind. But this, this, is a beautiful novel. ( )
  cemagoc | Aug 8, 2016 |
Although I very much enjoyed reading [b:Jane Eyre|10210|Jane Eyre|Charlotte Brontë|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327867269s/10210.jpg|2977639], which some may consider to be Charlotte Brontë's best novel, I did not feel the same affinity for [b:Villette|31173|Villette|Charlotte Brontë|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1320412741s/31173.jpg|40852693]. The slow moving plot combined with the secretive and misleading narrative by the main character (Lucy Snowe) made it difficult for me to develop any sense of connection with the characters. I realize now that Ms. Brontë used that specific style of narration as a plot device to add drama to the story, but it just did not resonate well with me and I felt my interest declining midway through the book. ( )
  LisaAnn805 | Jul 23, 2016 |
[bc:Villette|31173|Villette|Charlotte Brontë|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1320412741s/31173.jpg|40852693]

Villette - Charlotte Bronte
Audio performance by Davina Porter
4 stars

My initial response to this book was that for me it barely deserved 3 stars. I just didn’t like Lucy Snowe. I could pity her, orphaned, penniless, forced to find what limited, demeaning work was available to her, but I couldn’t like her. She shows a certain amount of pluck when she launches herself to the continent in search of a better future, but she has no real plan, and allows herself to be blown about randomly by circumstance. She continually tells the reader that she is not very smart, and I have to agree with her. How hard is it to detect an obvious schoolgirl prank? I did not care for her anti-catholic rantings. (Although I can see this as a natural, expressive consequence from an author who grew up in a isolated Yorkshire parsonage.) Lucy is judgmental and dismissive of just about everyone, even the people she is fond of. Somehow, Lucy Snowe seems just a little bit off, emotionally unstable. Maybe that’s what George Eliot liked about her.

I’ve read Jane Eyre many times. I’ll probably read it a few more times, but I cannot see myself ever reading Villette again. The coincidentally recurring characters in this book are so very contrived that the whole story felt staged with paper cut-outs. I found the long, untranslated passages of French annoying, but with google, not insurmountable. Frequently, once translated, these passages only added to the excessive amount of repetition in this story. Admittedly, Bronte was spot on in portraying the petty gossip, jealousies, and ‘mean girls’ nastiness of the staff and pupils of Madame Beck’s pensionnat. I was amazed at how much it resembled the staff room atmosphere in the elementary school of my own teaching career. Realistic, but not a place that I want to revisit.

So I won’t read it again, but I don’t regret the time I spent with this book. Even more than Jane Eyre, this book is a feminist statement. As Lucy Snowe, Charlotte Bronte makes some biting social commentary about women’s education and financial insecurity. Lucy is a flawed character who pays a psychological price for her precarious situation. She is a judgemental but acute observer of other women and the various ways and means they use to find security and personal fulfillment. Maybe, that’s what George Eliot liked about her.

( )
1 vote msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
It was slow for a good majority of the book, but I sped through the last few chapters. I encourage those that take this on to consider the times this is written in and how singular Lucy is to be as strong and independent, self aware yet un-self conscious, brave yet not reckless. She is truly a heroine for the ages. ( )
1 vote lindseyrivers | Apr 10, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (53 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brontë, Charlotteprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cooper, Helen M.Notessecondary authorsome 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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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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Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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