Hot Best Seller

Villette (Life and Works of the Sisters Brontë, Vol. 3)

Availability: Ready to download

With her final novel, Villette, Charlotte Brontë reached the height of her artistic power. First published in 1853, Villette is Brontë'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 Villet With her final novel, Villette, Charlotte Brontë reached the height of her artistic power. First published in 1853, Villette is Brontë'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 her feelings of love and longing as she witnesses the fitful romance between Dr. John, a handsome young Englishman, and Gineva Fanshawe, a beautiful coquette. The 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.

*advertisement

Compare

With her final novel, Villette, Charlotte Brontë reached the height of her artistic power. First published in 1853, Villette is Brontë'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 Villet With her final novel, Villette, Charlotte Brontë reached the height of her artistic power. First published in 1853, Villette is Brontë'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 her feelings of love and longing as she witnesses the fitful romance between Dr. John, a handsome young Englishman, and Gineva Fanshawe, a beautiful coquette. The 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.

30 review for Villette (Life and Works of the Sisters Brontë, Vol. 3)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ginny

    Lucy Snowe hates you. She's writing her story for you, you're experiencing the most intimate contact there can be between two people, and she hates you. It makes for a hard read. Her older sister, Jane-- you remember her?-- she loved you. Most of you probably had to read her story in high school, whereas not one teacher in a thousand would touch Villette. Nor should they. High schoolers have enough rejection to cope with. Most of them were probably bored or annoyed with Jane, but you have to give Lucy Snowe hates you. She's writing her story for you, you're experiencing the most intimate contact there can be between two people, and she hates you. It makes for a hard read. Her older sister, Jane-- you remember her?-- she loved you. Most of you probably had to read her story in high school, whereas not one teacher in a thousand would touch Villette. Nor should they. High schoolers have enough rejection to cope with. Most of them were probably bored or annoyed with Jane, but you have to give the woman credit: she did love you. That one sentence: "Reader, I married him"; do you hear the love in that? She is with you, she tells it calmly and sweetly, the thing which (if you cared at all) you've been dying to hear. And she trusts that you do care. She doesn't even question it. She brings you straight into the fold, giving peace to herself, to Mr. Rochester, and to you in one quiet sentence. Not so Lucy Snowe. She is sure that you don't care, sure that you want to read some other story, that you're not tough enough or insightful enough to handle hers. So she hides from you, and sneers at you from behind her hands. She clothes her reticence in language of modesty, of restraint, of sensitivity to your tender feelings, but it's very plain that the truth is much uglier: she doesn't trust you and she doesn't think you're worthy. I'm sure you can find reasons for her to be this way: she had a difficult childhood; she was repeatedly overlooked by people she adored; not enough people have cared, so she just assumes nobody does. The psychoanalysis is all very interesting and makes for some good class discussions, but it doesn't take away the bitter taste. Lucy Snowe hates you, distrusts you, looks down on you. And you, poor reader, separated by bars of space and time and reality, can't do a thing to show her she's wrong. It's a fucking brilliant book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Keeten

    “Stone walls do not a prison make, Nor iron bars--a cage, so peril, loneliness, an uncertain future, are not oppressive evils, so long as the frame is healthy and the faculties are employed; so long, especially, as Liberty lends us her wings, and Hope guides us by her star.” When I was growing up in Kansas, my father farmed and worked long hours, and my mother worked the night shift at the hospital as a nurse's aide. Since my mother slept during the day, I had to be very quiet. I found that by be “Stone walls do not a prison make, Nor iron bars--a cage, so peril, loneliness, an uncertain future, are not oppressive evils, so long as the frame is healthy and the faculties are employed; so long, especially, as Liberty lends us her wings, and Hope guides us by her star.” When I was growing up in Kansas, my father farmed and worked long hours, and my mother worked the night shift at the hospital as a nurse's aide. Since my mother slept during the day, I had to be very quiet. I found that by being as silent as a church mouse I achieved about the most freedom a young lad could hope to obtain. Books became my friends, and they were outwardly quiet companions, but inwardly sparked fires in my thought processes. I suppose I was lonely, more lonely when I tried to talk about books with the people I knew. It was like the excitement of finding a gold mine (books) only to discover that people preferred silver (television). Lucy Snowe, the heroine of Villette, is lonely; life whirls around her and occasionally spins her into a light that requires people to see her. She is uncomfortable, knowing she will be found lacking the qualities people admire most. She learns to live by observing others and most importantly to be quiet, to be the wallflower on the verge of participation, but never taking that tenuous step forward to join the fray. "Day-dreams are delusions of the demon." Day dreams were truly dangerous delusions for Lucy Snowe. She could not afford dreams because she could not stand the disappointment in failure to achieve those dreams. Life had to be real for Lucy. The novel begins with Lucy in the care of the Bretton's, a distant relation. She is 14, and something, never explained in the novel, has happened to her family leaving her alone in the world under the care and kindness of strangers. The reality of her situation is that she has no dowry; she is not deemed attractive, and she has few opportunities to improve her position. As she comes of age she works as a helper to an elderly, rich woman who dies leaving her again without prospects. She makes the momentous decision to move to Villette, a fictional French city, without a job or any inkling of what will become of her. Through misadventure and a bit of luck she finds herself on the doorstep of Mme. Beck's boarding school for young girls. A position is found for her teaching English to young, aristocratic girls. She is surrounded by rich people, and like a lot of wealthy people they don't understand poverty. She is asked why she teaches. "Rather for the roof of shelter I am thus enabled to keep over my head; and for the comfort of mind it gives me to think that while I can work for myself, I am spared the pain of being a burden to anybody." Lucy Snowe could have presented herself as feeble, in need of care, and her relation would have certainly come forward to help her, but she chose to make her own way, and even though she elicits pity from her young, rich students, she is determined to be independent. I couldn't help but be impressed by her determination and pride in taking care of herself. Life dealt her few cards, but what few cards she had was enough to keep her from the clutches of poverty. Lucy Snowe falls in love with the dynamic Dr. John Graham Bretton, but he is in love with one of her beautiful students Ginevra Fanshawe. Lucy convinces him not only of the immaturity of his love, but the fallacies of Miss Fanshawe. He turns his attentions for a time to Lucy and starts to send her letters. Lucy knows this is too good to be true. "Reason still whispered me, laying on my shoulder a withered hand, and frostily touching my ear with the chill blue lips of eld." Despite her best efforts Lucy can't help but hope for the fairy tale, and when Graham turns his attentions to another, she does feel the pain. The five precious letters that Graham wrote to her she symbolically buries in the bole of a tree so that she put them away from her and also keep them from the prying eyes of Mme Beck who is constantly going through the possessions of the teachers. Bronte Letter Charlotte Bronte became infatuated with a Belgian Professor and wrote him a series of love letters. He became incensed with this unsolicited attention and tore them to pieces. The professor's wife saved them from the trash and sewed them together for posterity. Here is an article giving a few more details. http://www.independent.ie/todays-pape... The wife, I can only assume, was a Bronte fan and may have been flattered that Charlotte found her husband attractive. I was rather shocked to find that Villette has not been hashed and rehashed by Hollywood. With all the films based on Jane Austen's work and on the works of the other Bronte sisters why has Villette been ignored? There was a five part mini-series back in the 1970s starring Judy Parfitt as Lucy Snowe. I couldn't find any usable stills from that series to include in my review. Netflix does not have the series available. I can only hope it has not been neglected and been allowed to disintegrate Judy Parfitt There was also a BBC radio production done in 1999 with Catherine McCormack supplying the voice of Lucy Snowe. Catherine McCormack Villette was published in 1853 and was the last novel published during her lifetime. Charlotte had finally married in 1854 and became pregnant almost immediately. She suffered from incessant nausea and frequent fainting spells. Charlotte died with her unborn child in 1855 just short of her 39th birthday. Photo of Charlotte Bronte circa 1854 Charlotte Bronte explores the psychological implications of being an outsider. The anguish, the dashing of hope, the moments of despair, and yet the haunting specter of expectations keep Lucy attempting to achieve a life filled with love and happiness. She does, as the novel concludes, get an opportunity to fulfill her dreams and gain not only independence but a chance at love. “His mind was indeed my library, and whenever it was opened to me, I entered bliss.” I have read that other reviewers felt the novel ended abruptly, and I too wanted more than just the sliver of explanation that was given at the end of the novel, but I think that has more to do with the way we feel about Lucy Snowe than it does about disappointment in Charlotte Bronte's plotting. Highly recommended. If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com I also have a Facebook blogger page at: https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tatiana

    Still 5 stars... I loved this novel. Obsessive reader as I am, I feel simply obligated to consume all kinds of reviews and discussions after finishing a book that left me in awe and baffled. This time I even ventured into the territory of critical analyses and interpretations. Many things came up during my quest to find out what people think of the heroine of Villette and the book as a whole - that this is a novel about a woman who fights to attain her independence, that Lucy Snowe is a liar, tha Still 5 stars... I loved this novel. Obsessive reader as I am, I feel simply obligated to consume all kinds of reviews and discussions after finishing a book that left me in awe and baffled. This time I even ventured into the territory of critical analyses and interpretations. Many things came up during my quest to find out what people think of the heroine of Villette and the book as a whole - that this is a novel about a woman who fights to attain her independence, that Lucy Snowe is a liar, that almost all characters in the book - M. Paul, Pauline, Ginevre, Dr John - are representations of different sides of Lucy's (possibly schizophrenic) personality, that Villette is just a more depressing rehash of Jane Eyre, some other stuff that I don't even have a mental capacity to fully understand and reproduce here. But I am a simple person, for me Villette is a story of a woman who was severely traumatized by deaths of her family at a young age and who, being introverted by nature, under the pressure of her misfortunes closes herself to the outside world completely. Lucy's whole life purpose is to guard herself from possible heartbreaks, to create a facade of serenity and unfeeling. But the strength of her passionate nature, her vivid internal life are such that suppressing them is impossible. The entire book is Lucy's never ending struggle to keep up her walls, not to let anyone in, not to feel, not to hope, not to love, not to get attached, not to reveal her true self in its clever, opinionated, passionate, desiring, jealous, petty glory. Does the heroine attain her freedom in the end? Does she escape a prison of her self-imposed loneliness? Yes, she does, but not for long. The person who sees and loves Lucy the way she is, who helps her not only financially, but psychologically, is given and taken away. And once again, Lucy is guarded and telling us her story, never allowing herself and us to see the true extent of her despair, unhappiness, and loneliness. But even what is hinted at is heartbreaking. I loved this novel, loved it in spite of the numerous contrived coincidences, untranslated French dialog and sparse plot. Villette is a study of a woman's complex inner world and as such it is remarkable. However there is another (sort of voyeuristic) reason why the book affected me so much. It is claimed to be heavily autobiographical and I find myself intrigued by Charlotte Brontë. I want to know this woman. How much of the book was real? Did the extent of Charlotte's loneliness and desire to be loved matched Lucy's? Was M. Heger, her real life professor, just like M. Paul? Did he awaken her soul, played with her and then discarded her when the affair interfered with his married life? Was M. Heger's wife as manipulative as Madame Beck? Did Charlotte ever regret refusing several marriage proposals to instead pine over men utterly unattainable? Did she blame herself for her inability to be happy? Why didn't she allow Lucy her happy ending? Did she think financial security was the maximum a woman like her could ever hope for and love was impossible? I am off to try to find at least some answers to these questions...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    This book is better than Jane Eyre, guys. This is where Charlotte Bronte shows her real brilliance. I hovered between giving this two stars and four for about half the book because I really wasn't sure what was going on beneath the surface. But then I figured out that I was stupid and didn't see half of the things that Charlotte Bronte had done. She's brilliant. Her narrator is completely unreliable. She's a tease. She withholds. She doesn't tell us the lines we wish most to hear. She deals with This book is better than Jane Eyre, guys. This is where Charlotte Bronte shows her real brilliance. I hovered between giving this two stars and four for about half the book because I really wasn't sure what was going on beneath the surface. But then I figured out that I was stupid and didn't see half of the things that Charlotte Bronte had done. She's brilliant. Her narrator is completely unreliable. She's a tease. She withholds. She doesn't tell us the lines we wish most to hear. She deals with feelings that should have fulsome paragaphs in oblique, obscuring half sentences. Fulsome paragraphs are written on subjects that one would not think of as half so important to a ladies' novel. The nature of God, the debate between Protestantism and Catholicism, Truth and Lies, the worst faults of humankind. These are all dealt with. She's also able to switch focuses, from far away observation, as if she is telling a fairy tale, to a prose that is close and intimately involved. Existentialist thoughts wind through here, religious rebellion against the existence of God, liberation of women.. a lot of things that a woman in 1853 probably shouldn't have been writing about. Lucy Snowe, the main character and narrator, has her faults. You will want to wring her neck. Not only for what she teases us with, but what she says. Her always forebearing attitude, her martyrdom. The sense of how impressed with herself she is at times, all her protestations to the contrary. Secretly holding herself rather above the company, to steal a line from another famous female. But let's also remember that Jane Eyre isn't all that likeable for most of the book either. Lucy is as difficult to like. The end is fascinating. To give away just a little bit of the book, she does not get the ending that one expects from Romantic books. The ending is a question mark. The reader can make of it what they will. She has no illusions, but we can have ours. Her happiness is completely different: solitary, alone, quiet... it provides a fascinating read though a feminist lens. I'd say the end has a bit of a message like 'A Room of One's Own,' but decades earlier, and with an appropriate veil. Interesting to note, the same male enabler is necessary, but it meets with a different end here. Happiness is not what one thinks it is. I really do have to warn that this novel is about repression and oppression and it reads like it too. The breaks out of this endless cycle are few and far between. It can be difficult to trudge through, as difficult as it is for Lucy to make it through. I made it by figuring out how Charlotte Bronte was playing with the reader, though. Pay attention to details. She will mention them and perhaps explain them chapters later, but not connect them for us. Victorian conventions are satirized gently and taken to task. I believe Charlotte Bronte is somewhat taking herself to task for believing the ridiculous things that women were encouraged to indulge in. ... and I've just noticed that I wrote this review sounding rather like a silly victorian writer. Oops.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Having read Jane Eyre recently for the first time, ...it was suggested I read Villette.... A fantastic Kindle-Freebie!!! I thought this story was terrific ...equally as good as Jane Eyre. Lucy Snowe....lonely, introverted, .....and somewhat emotionally unavailable....it's easy to feel empathy towards her... harder to understand what she is thinking. - yet...she was easy to relate to. I could understand her struggles of bumping up against isolation -- and doubting who she was. Bronte touches on th Having read Jane Eyre recently for the first time, ...it was suggested I read Villette.... A fantastic Kindle-Freebie!!! I thought this story was terrific ...equally as good as Jane Eyre. Lucy Snowe....lonely, introverted, .....and somewhat emotionally unavailable....it's easy to feel empathy towards her... harder to understand what she is thinking. - yet...she was easy to relate to. I could understand her struggles of bumping up against isolation -- and doubting who she was. Bronte touches on that insecure spot inside us which we all feel at times through Lucy. Dramatic storytelling -lovely prose -and filled with thought and emotions. There were a couple of scenes where I was laughing out loud --at the same time there was sadness knowing that Lucy suffered. Her heart and spirit were good - big- yet without having a vivacious personality, or being an electric extroverted charmer....her gifts, intelligence, we're not easily visible. As the reader...we are privileged to look deeper into her soul -- We see an endearing woman - a woman with moral integrity, inner strength....but sad! Beautiful and heartbreaking.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    891. Villette, Charlotte Brontë Villette is an 1853 novel written by English author Charlotte Brontë. After an unspecified family disaster, the protagonist Lucy Snowe travels from her native England to the fictional French-speaking city of Villette to teach at a girls' school, where she is drawn into adventure and romance. Villette was Charlotte Brontë's fourth novel; it was preceded by The Professor (her posthumously published first novel, of which Villette is a reworking), Jane Eyre, and Shirle 891. Villette, Charlotte Brontë Villette is an 1853 novel written by English author Charlotte Brontë. After an unspecified family disaster, the protagonist Lucy Snowe travels from her native England to the fictional French-speaking city of Villette to teach at a girls' school, where she is drawn into adventure and romance. Villette was Charlotte Brontë's fourth novel; it was preceded by The Professor (her posthumously published first novel, of which Villette is a reworking), Jane Eyre, and Shirley. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز نوزدهم ماه می سال 1988 میلادی عنوان: ویلت، اثر: شارلوت برونته، ناشر: اکباتان، مترجم: فریده تیموری، سال 1365 عنوان: ویلت، اثر: شارلوت برونته، ناشر: بینش، مترجم: فریده تیموری، سال 1369، تهران عنوان: ویلت، اثر: شارلوت برونته، ناشر: نشر پیمان، مترجم: فریده تیموری، سال 1372 عنوان: ویلت، اثر: شارلوت برونته، ناشر: نشر نی، مترجم: رضا رضایی روایتی است از مشکلات یک خانواده. راوی و قهرمان داستان «لوسی» نام دارد و سفرش به شهری که ساخته ذهن نویسنده است، به محور داستان تبدیل میشود. - «ویلت» عنوان چهارمین رمان منتشر شده از شارلوت برونته، و البته آخرین اثر در زمان حیات ایشان نیز هست. ا. شربیانی

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jan-Maat

    I finished Jane Eyre and I knew what I was going to write, I finish Villette and I am quite unclear. My initial expectation was that it would repeat the earlier story: woman, abused childhood, education, passionate love, obstacle, punishments and rewards. Perhaps in large it does. The madwoman in the attic motif is repeated, this something that lodged in Bronte's imagination. Again the pathological sense of difference between the British and the French, more specifically between the Protestant and I finished Jane Eyre and I knew what I was going to write, I finish Villette and I am quite unclear. My initial expectation was that it would repeat the earlier story: woman, abused childhood, education, passionate love, obstacle, punishments and rewards. Perhaps in large it does. The madwoman in the attic motif is repeated, this something that lodged in Bronte's imagination. Again the pathological sense of difference between the British and the French, more specifically between the Protestant and the Catholic. It is hard for me to know if this simply reflected the dominant social attitudes of British shortly after Catholic emancipation or the particular world of Haworth Parsonage, in particular the Irish background of father Bronte. An interesting result of this is that Bronte, or more accuracy her narrator, Lucy Snowe, comes across as a kind of Dostoevsky - a person who going abroad was energised by their immense dislike of foreigners. Escape aboard does not represent freedom, new perspectives, a new mode of living. Instead for much of the novel it is a kind of exile. I read in the introduction how the Brontes already as children had a passionate identification with the Duke of Wellington and liked to indulge themselves in violent fantasies involving the British army and horrible foreigners. I found it easy to go on to imagine Charlotte Bronte dressed as Britannia, but wielding a cat-o-nine-tails in place of the traditional trident, whipping her way through Belgium. With that firmly in mind the eventual relationship between Snowe and Monsieur Paul seems incredible, until I recall that Dostoevsky claimed that the two point on a circle, furtherest apart are almost the closest together, the intensity of her anti-foreigner feeling super charging her feelings for Monsieur Paul. This for me is the major difficultly in reading Villette. The narrative voice is extremely powerful, but does that mean that it is wise to take it as representing the authorial point of view, and if not quite, then where do we draw the line between Lucy Snowe and Charlotte Bronte? Despite her, in many ways quite narrow background and Tory attitudes Bronte did have a passionate relationship with a Catholic foreigner, and a married one at that, plainly something of that relationship is reworked in her presentation of attraction in both Jane Eyre and Villette - the male interest is not handsome in either case but he has a presence. Reading now the book says both something about the nature of relationships between men and women and between women and society (which is perhaps the same thing but writ large) as perceived by the woman from the Yorkshire parsonage. The first point is grooming, or slightly more nicely put seduction. We see in the opening chapters the young John seduce the even younger Paulina, and then put her aside once a more interesting option comes along in the shape of his school chums, and I imagine judging from those first conversations between Paulina and Lucy that something similar happened between Lucy and John too. This seduction method of relieving boredom is not unique to the men, Ginevra acts similarly towards the men that she is interested in. The key point for me is that the emotional investment is uneven, the pursuer is calculating, the pursued whole-heartedly engaged. This all seems masochistic to me, we have characters caught up in relationships from which they can only receive pain. Since they don't escape them we can only assume that they gain something meaningful from them. This is one of the difficulties for me reading the book - Lucy's sense of having any right to pleasure or satisfaction is so repressed that the reading experience became oppressive. Naturally in the context of the book this seems like a reasonable analysis, then again she is the narrator. The stories we tell about ourselves are traps as much as explanations or attempts at Enlightenment, the stories told by a first person narrator need to be felt through with a deeply critical eye. Despite this this gloom, Snowe is less oppressed by social status, she is relatively egalitarian in her outlook - a link between her and Monsieur Paul. Despite the police regime of the school, it is the internal oppression that is effective, not apparently the structure of society. That comes across as being something like a climbing frame, albeit one too crowded to have much opportunity to move. I might take the view that the internal oppression is so severe that the plan to open her own school is hidden from herself until late in the book, if less charitable, that Bronte hit on it as a solution late on in the writing process. Either way this is a book with sudden movements after periods of oppressive continuity, like ice that suddenly cracks. Snowe in that sense doesn't look like an accidental choice of name. If it suggests purity, it can also imply fragility, delicacy and cold. Despite which she endures unsnowlike through changes of the season down to the resigned, less than happy, more than unhappy ending, that Bronte manages to give her. An ending, on reflection, that offers more than Bronte's own. In any case, I sense a reread, and that a different review will emerge after that.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Meredith Holley

    It is not possible for me to talk about this book without somehow spoiling it. I’ll hide the main spoilers, but there are some pretty awesome twists and turns in this book, so I recommend reading it with eyes that are innocent of review spoilers. I have had this weird experience lately where books or movies or TV I watch are almost always either uncannily similar to my life – like, exact words I’ve said recently or experiences I’ve had – or totally offensive and appalling to me. I think it is doi It is not possible for me to talk about this book without somehow spoiling it. I’ll hide the main spoilers, but there are some pretty awesome twists and turns in this book, so I recommend reading it with eyes that are innocent of review spoilers. I have had this weird experience lately where books or movies or TV I watch are almost always either uncannily similar to my life – like, exact words I’ve said recently or experiences I’ve had – or totally offensive and appalling to me. I think it is doing damage to my nervous system. I have a weak and brooding constitution, anyway, so recovery calls for those new episodes of Arrested Development to come out ASAP. No, jk, I don’t have a weak and brooding constitution, but seriously, I may take to swooning and weeping soon enough if this crazy pendulum doesn’t stop swinging so wildly. Villette was the uncannily similar variety of story. It is so eerie to read books from almost two hundred years ago and see my own thoughts and experiences. It is both comforting and totally exhausting – comforting because we have always been like this; exhausting because, well, we have always been like this. Bronte’s description of Lucy waiting by the phone for a dude to call, or, in her case, by the door for a letter to arrive, is chilling. Lucy’s conversation with Dr. John, when she points out the hypocrisy of his ability to see shallowness in men but not women, is absolutely hilarious. Lucy’s delicacy about describing her own loneliness is beautiful. Charlotte Bronte writes a really killer antiheroine, and it is always easier to identify with an antiheroine than a heroine, I think, because it is easy to see our own flaws. While this book easily stands alone as a lovely study on humanity, it also evoked comparisons to Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice for me. It was the last book Bronte published before she died. As is so common, Villette, the later book, is a less tight story than Jane Eyre – it was more meandering, and where Bronte wants to dwell, she will dwell. In some ways, though, I think Villette is more successful than Jane Eyre in distinguishing antihero from hero because Bronte is kinder to the heroes in Villette and lets me feel a little bitter at them without really despising them here. Dr. John, in contrast to St. John, does not creep me out. Paulina is a traditionally heroic heroine. This works in Villette because it provides a more clear contrast between the traditional hero’s story and Lucy’s antiheroine story. On the other hand, Jane Eyre allows flaws in everyone, whether they are golden or dark, so that has a nice subtlety. At the same time that Jane and Rochester are the more clear antiheroes, St. John is so determined to crush feelings and be unhappy that he is not so much the golden hero as Dr. John. In Villette there is a clear line between hero and antihero; in Jane Eyre the line is more blurred, though the physical descriptions signal a distinction. It might not be useful, though, to compare the two books because they are both wonderful, and I don't know that I prefer the clear distinction or the blurring. In some ways, I think this story is a Bronte Pride and Prejudice. All of the couples are parallels: (view spoiler)[Paulina and Dr. John are Jane and Bingley; Lucy and M. Paul are Lizzy and Darcy; and, of course, Ginevra and de Hamal are Lydia and Wickham (hide spoiler)] . In many ways that comparison fails because the interaction of the characters in P&P forms a cohesive plot, and Villette is not really about any particular plot, I think, but it was interesting to see similar couples described through more brutal eyes. Both Charlotte and Emily Bronte, also, always seem more exotic than Austen because the aesthetics of their heroes are described so much more like an emo band. While Austen captures that subtle loneliness of unreliable family, the Brontes go straight for explicit isolation in a cruel world. I doubt I could love either Austen or the Brontes so much without the other. And it was beautiful to read about the couples from Pride and Prejudice with the severity and stifled animal cry of Charlotte Bronte. I see Virginia Woolf’s point that sometimes Bronte’s failures as an editor interfere with the story in a way that you don’t see in Austen, but it is still beautiful. Probably my favorite thing about this book is Lucy’s shiftiness as a narrator. This girl is going to tell you what she wants you to know and she is going to leave out whatever the fuck she wants. It was totally hilarious that she (view spoiler)[didn’t even tell me that she knew the whole time that Dr. John was Graham Bretton (hide spoiler)] . That little minx! (As they say.) And then the way she ends the story is just (view spoiler)[heartbreaking – you can’t even handle the cruelty of her life, so she won’t force you to listen to it (hide spoiler)] . I was not in love with any of the heroes of this story, and I kind of liked that, too. It was more like a soul-mate friend, of whom I am completely in awe, telling me about the people she loved, and how she understood them and their faults, than a con game of trying to get me to fall in love myself. It is interesting because usually we are meant to fall in love with the romantic lead (and I’mma be honest, I totally swoon for Rochester), but I do not almost ever swoon for my irl friends’ love stories. In this way, I felt that Lucy was completely her own person, and even though I identified with her in this sometimes-creepy way, she was not a stand-in for me in the love story. I thought (view spoiler)[both Dr. John and M. Paul were kind of douchebags (hide spoiler)] , but that was fine because Lucy was smart about all of them. Honestly, I didn’t notice (view spoiler)[M. Paul (hide spoiler)] for a long time, and I am usually really good at picking up on romantic leads, so when I re-read I will have to pay better attention to what he does in the early part of the novel. I really loved this book. As I got to the end, I panicked a little because I remembered that I had always partly been reluctant to read it because I will use up the possibility for a new Bronte story soon, and what a sad, bleak time that will be. I still have a couple left, though, so I will hoard those for later. I wish Bronte would email me new stories from her austere, Protestant heaven.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    Lucy Snowe, a plain -looking, quiet, 23-year- old, intelligent woman, in need of money, and help, ( stating it mildly) she has no family left in England, in an era, before Victoria, came to the throne, her godmother, Mrs. Bretton, who lived in a small town, ironically named Bretton, has moved to colossal London , with her handsome son John Graham, no way to find the widow there. Still Lucy is not without skill, she is a capable, resourceful, nevertheless almost destitute lady, gathering all her Lucy Snowe, a plain -looking, quiet, 23-year- old, intelligent woman, in need of money, and help, ( stating it mildly) she has no family left in England, in an era, before Victoria, came to the throne, her godmother, Mrs. Bretton, who lived in a small town, ironically named Bretton, has moved to colossal London , with her handsome son John Graham, no way to find the widow there. Still Lucy is not without skill, she is a capable, resourceful, nevertheless almost destitute lady, gathering all her few pitiful coins , and decides boldly, to cross the English Channel , to seek fortune there, in a foreign land... mad or brilliant idea, the future will tell. Arriving in the exciting, prosperous, glamorous, capital city of Villette , (Brussels, Belgium) searching for lodging in a recommended inn, she stumbles among the thick dark , the black gloom, unlighted, ominous roads and shadows, agitated, lost...some unknown men following...coming to a rather peculiar house...knocking ...the door finally opens... This is Madame Beck's school, for girls, and the owner, very shrewd, an attractive widow, in her late 30's, wants an Englishwoman to take care of her three little, precious daughters, luckily Lucy gets the job, but first the unpleasant dismissal, of the current holder of the position, an alcoholic lady, who drank one too many bottles. In a short time, another great, unexpected opportunity, unfolds, the English teacher, doesn't show up for work, Madame Beck is not happy, this has occurred too often , the owner of the prestigious establishment, is strict, unforgiving, and the lazy teacher will be the same soon, (unhappy) dragging the petrified Lucy, into the classroom, full of young, intimidating , girls and says teach...sink or swim...she floats. The new teacher slowly begins to feel comfortable, a natural instructor, has ability, the students no longer are frightening. She begins to notice a professor, M.Paul Emanuel, Madame Beck's extremely knowledgeable cousin, a ferocious man , all around him , they are scared of, ( make that terrified ) little in stature, but big in power. Lucy becomes quite sick, the school's regular doctor is away, a young English physician treats her, at his home, and seems familiar, so does the furniture...yes, it's John Graham Bretton, and his mother, her godmother, the lonely woman has friends now. More acquaintances, from her youth, found in Villette, little, sweet, Polly Home, the six- year- old who lived in Mrs.Bretton's house, a short time, and her rich father, also, is now 17, a countess, with new names, de Bassompierre, inherited from aristocratic relatives on the continent...Love will complicate life, as it will do forever, these people fall , an arise , seek new partners , the eternal, bumpy journey in search of the unreachable, happiness, contentment is it an illusion?..Yet the trek will go on and on. Charlotte Bronte's, second best book, some heretics say her masterpiece, but they are in the minority...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Araz Goran

    يا الله كيف لي أن أصف هذه الرواية الجميلة.. إبداع من زمن الأدب الجميل.. حيث الكلمات تخرج بنقاء ورقة وإبداع لا مثيل لها، كأنها نسمة هواء عطرة تنتعش الروح بعدها وتنطلق بالفكر الى مجال آخر خارج نطاق هذا العالم المشوه.. هذه الرواية هي نقطة عبور الى الماضي الأدبي، حيث الأدب كان يعبر عن ذاته، حيث الكلمات المرتعشة تحت ريشة الفنان.. لم يكونوا في الماضي إدباء فحسب بل فنانون ،مارسوا فنهم بالقلم وبدنيا الكلمات.. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ شارلوت برونتي المولودة سنة 1816 م - في يوركشاير - بإنكلترا الشاعرة وال يا الله كيف لي أن أصف هذه الرواية الجميلة.. إبداع من زمن الأدب الجميل.. حيث الكلمات تخرج بنقاء ورقة وإبداع لا مثيل لها، كأنها نسمة هواء عطرة تنتعش الروح بعدها وتنطلق بالفكر الى مجال آخر خارج نطاق هذا العالم المشوه.. هذه الرواية هي نقطة عبور الى الماضي الأدبي، حيث الأدب كان يعبر عن ذاته، حيث الكلمات المرتعشة تحت ريشة الفنان.. لم يكونوا في الماضي إدباء فحسب بل فنانون ،مارسوا فنهم بالقلم وبدنيا الكلمات.. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ شارلوت برونتي المولودة سنة 1816 م - في يوركشاير - بإنكلترا الشاعرة والأدبية والروائية الخالدة في تاريخ الأدب الانكليزي بأعمالها التي تتناول الجانب الإجتماعي والديني للمجتمع الانكليزي التي ترتكز على الجانب القوطي أساساً في بناء رواياتها.. من أشهر أعمالها رواية (جين آيير) التي كتبتها سنة 1847 م.. رواية (فيليت) هي آخر ما كتبت شارلوت والتي إنتهت منها سنة 1853 م.. تتحدث رواية (فيليت) عن قصة فتاة إسمها (لوسي سناو) حيث ترعرعت هذه الفتاة في الريف الانكليزي وعملت كخادمة ثم مربية للأطفال في منزل النبلاء والاثرياء في قريتها تلك.. ظلت (لوسي سناو) تنتقل من منزل إلى آخر إلى أن أنتهى الأمر بموت عرابتها، فقررت الهجرة إلى فرنسا بحثاً عن عمل آخر وفرصة آخرى للحياة.. أبحرت (لوسي سناو) الى فرنسا، شقت طريقها أخيراً الى إحدى البلدات في بلجيكا وهي بلدة (فيليت) حيث دارت معظم أحداث الرواية في تلك البلدة الهادئة.. إبتدأت (لوسي سناو) رحلتها في تلك البلدة بالعمل كمربية لإطفال السيدة (بيك) التي كانت تدير مدرسة داخلية للبنات وبمرور الأيام وجدت لوسي نفسها بمهنة التدريس .. الرواية مليئة بالأحداث والمواقف وقصص الحب الجميلة لا تخلو من فكاهة وحزن وخيبة أحياناً.. رواية تجسد الجانب الاجتماعي والديني والأخلاقي لتلك الفترة وتظهر العلاقة بين أفراد الطبقات الإجتماعية وتسلط الضوء على حياة المثقفين والجانب الفكري والمعنوي لأبطال الرواية.. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ رحلة جميلة مع هذه الادبية الرائعة،، أتصور أني لن أنسى هذه الرواية ما حييت.. هذه الرواية لم تُكتب للنسيان بل كُتبت لتبقى خالدة على صفحات التاريخ الأدبي.. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ملاحضة : ربما تكون هذه الرواية مملة بالنسبة للبعض خاصة للذين لم يقرؤوا في الأدب الكلاسيكي،، هي مغايرة تماماً لإسلوب الأدب الحديث ولغتها صعبة وخشنة بعض الأحيان وتحكي تفاصيل كثيرة داخل الرواية مع الأجواء الإرستقراطية التي لا تروق للبعض، لذلك لا أنصح بها للذين يعانون الملل في قراءة الروايات فهذا الرواية لا تصلح لهم..

  11. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    No mockery in this world ever sounds to me so hollow as that of being told to cultivate happiness. What does such advice mean? Happiness is not a potato, to be planted in mould, and tilled with manure. Happiness is a glory shining far down upon us out of Heaven. She is a divine dew which the soul, on certain of its summer mornings, feels dropping upon it from the amaranth bloom and golden fruitage of Paradise. I love when this paradoxical life brings me a book laced with "composite and contract No mockery in this world ever sounds to me so hollow as that of being told to cultivate happiness. What does such advice mean? Happiness is not a potato, to be planted in mould, and tilled with manure. Happiness is a glory shining far down upon us out of Heaven. She is a divine dew which the soul, on certain of its summer mornings, feels dropping upon it from the amaranth bloom and golden fruitage of Paradise. I love when this paradoxical life brings me a book laced with "composite and contracted" meaning, one of philosophical ponder and pathos; one wherein solitude grasps for Hope in order to avoid Despair and longing is elucidated and layered. Dreamlike and peculiar at times, a revelation of inner thought, the reflective narrative never ceases to make its reader consider life and its oddities, life and its happiness and pain. At a time in my life when I'm at a crossroads with two interesting professional decisions that were forced upon me by this life, I am humbled that Villette occupied my still moments. This is the story of what happens when a woman finds herself in the midst of a strange community, with aloof, pretentious, and judgmental people; when she must ground herself in an academic environment that overflows with pretenses and mockery. This novel's trajectory is what happens when love is unrequited, for it demands social status from the one it inhabits. These three meandering volumes make lucid the loneliness that blooms within, one that stems from loss of family and identity. I smiled when I read Bronte's explanation for Lucy Snowe because while I loved Polly, I had a deep admiration for Lucy's steadfastness and professional journey, and I also admired Charlotte Brontë who made no apologies for her character. Here is how Brontë describes Lucy in a letter: You say that she may be thought morbid and weak, unless the history of her life be more fully given. I consider that she is both morbid and weak at times; her character sets up no pretensions to unmixed strength, and anybody living her life would necessarily become morbid. And in a letter to her publisher Brontë wrote: "I greatly apprehend, however, that the weakest character in the book is the one I aimed at making the most beautiful..." I never really did understand, and in fact detested, Paul Emmanuel's patronizing ways in the first part of the novel. It was interesting to learn that he stands in for Constantin Heger, the husband of the school director that Brontë worked for. Graham, however, seems like a stud - caring, kind, generous, intelligent - and it is easy to see how Lucy would have fallen in love with him. However, to say much about plot would 'spoil' the story and mislead the reader, for this narrative is an extension of memory, a sequence of consciousness that occurs through contemplation and reflection, which makes the plot both surprising and revealing.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    I can do no better to begin with than to quote George Eliot, who upon reading Villette called it "a still more wonderful book than Jane Eyre". Villette is darker and more realistic than Jane Eyre, and more autobiographical (and perhaps thus even more powerful). Drawing on Charlotte Brontë's experiences in Brussels, Villette tells the story of Lucy Snowe, who leaves England in flight from a shadowy, unhappy past; she comes to "Villette" (i.e., Brussels) and becomes an English teacher at Madame Be I can do no better to begin with than to quote George Eliot, who upon reading Villette called it "a still more wonderful book than Jane Eyre". Villette is darker and more realistic than Jane Eyre, and more autobiographical (and perhaps thus even more powerful). Drawing on Charlotte Brontë's experiences in Brussels, Villette tells the story of Lucy Snowe, who leaves England in flight from a shadowy, unhappy past; she comes to "Villette" (i.e., Brussels) and becomes an English teacher at Madame Beck's school, where she meets the mercurial, autocratic Monsieur Paul (based on Constantin Heger, the married schoolmaster with whom Charlotte fell in love during her time in Brussels). Lucy is a complex character: repressed, yet deeply emotional, cold on the outside (like her name), but fiery within. Her narration is reticent; unlike Jane Eyre, she holds back, never telling the reader everything, rarely allowing herself to show her feelings. A key passage occurs relatively early on the book, soon after Lucy has begun work at the school: "Oh, my childhood! I had feelings: passive as I lived, little as I spoke, cold as I looked, when I thought of past days, I could feel. About the present, it was better to be stoical; about the future -- such a future as mine -- to be dead. And in catalepsy and a dead trance, I studiously held the quick of my nature." I do admit that Villette is not as easy to read as Jane Eyre. Lucy's reticence as a narrator forces the reader to reach out further to engage with her; yet her depth of feeling and her humor are engaging. I defy anyone (all right, anyone who likes Victorian fiction) to read fifty pages of Villette and be able to put it down; every time I read it, I feel as though I could pick it right back up after finishing, start it over, and be just as enthralled as though it had been years since I'd read it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Aubrey

    We denizens of 'The Book of Disquiet' salute you. We of the small loves and small livings, the tiny joys and tiny dreams, bid you welcome. Our home is well-adjusted and self-assured, for if we profess ourselves any sort of connoisseur, it lies within those realms. Our work keeps us fed, clothed, ticking along at a methodical pace that matches the step of our action. Our doings are wrested from the very root of us, and we cannot remember a time when our will was a creature without chain or muzzle. W We denizens of 'The Book of Disquiet' salute you. We of the small loves and small livings, the tiny joys and tiny dreams, bid you welcome. Our home is well-adjusted and self-assured, for if we profess ourselves any sort of connoisseur, it lies within those realms. Our work keeps us fed, clothed, ticking along at a methodical pace that matches the step of our action. Our doings are wrested from the very root of us, and we cannot remember a time when our will was a creature without chain or muzzle. We of the thoughtful posing and quiet undertaking, the nondescript manner and stoic expression, pass you by. Our persona is mature and respectable, for if we claim ourselves any manner of actor, in those appearances we reign supreme. Our countenance keeps us from harm, trouble, the majority of unwelcome intrusions and unexpected disturbances. Our face once feared the cruel judgment of every eye, and we will never know how much we have lost in maintaining its proud coldness. We of the reticent life and withdrawn days, the slow solitude and meandering existence, pray you keep at a distance. Our existence is of much self and little other, for if we must cluster our many sensibilities under a single roof, we will choose a room of our own. Our self-appraisals keep us safe, secure, a well measured freedom in the functions of a perfectly plotted daily life. Our souls cry, and cry, and cry, for we have not yet found the permanent satisfaction that such an existence promises. We of the careful cravings and hesitant urges, the hard won realizations and fierce practices, present to you on rare occasions. Our passions are few and foremost, for if we believe ourselves the bearer of any kind of talent, we cling to it as a ballast of temporal assurance. Our works keep us a measure of the past, future, a present that without such doings would slip into the void of useless persistence. Our praxis heeds neither standard nor accreditation, and thus we are admired, and thus we are condemned. We of the observant eye and sardonic grin, the quickening wit and sober analysis, say to you, beware! Our modus operandi is an invisible seething, for if we name our most finely tuned instinct, it is the instantaneous measure of irony of any and all. Our entertainment keeps us amused in parts, and fully familiarized with the discordant pomposity of reality in others. Ignorance is bliss, a garden from which we were banished long ago, forevermore to discontentedly mock and claw ourselves bloody on our own eternal hypocrisies. We of the accumulated being and carved out philosophy, the chaotic incorporations and weathered discombobulations, forbid you the ease of category. Our mind is our own and ours alone, for if we hold ourselves to any creed, we demand it change with our every breath and drop of blood. Our sustenance keep us alive, and woe to any who choose only between spitting us out and swallowing us whole. It is lonely, here, but nowhere else will let us be. We of the experienced heart and cautious brain, the creeping desire and subtle attractions, set you at a distance. Our love knows itself very well, for if there is one thing it characterizes itself by, it is the painfully slow and all encompassing spread of loyalty incarnate. Our self very rarely finds another it can devote itself to, and knows itself too tightly reined to come to any foolish end. We bury our seeds too deeply, and their strangling growths are doomed to die without a trace of reciprocating sun. And so, we denizens of 'Villette' bid you adieu. We are a small, strange, and sad sort, and our weirdly warped self-censures are likely to accrue as life goes on. Much more likely to build up into an age old oubliette within which we quietly fade to our own ends, than to erode. However, if you are patient, and you do care, we may come out again. We take long in developing affection, and even longer in feeling confident to bestow such affections unlooked for, but if you seek us out and encourage from us the same, who knows. We will still be mindful of all the rest, but perhaps, yes. We will come out to play.

  14. 5 out of 5

    The Book Whisperer (aka Boof)

    Reader, I heart Ms. Bronte! Reading Villette was like reading a huge epic that I was so emmersed in that I walked in Lucy Snowe's shoes, I felt what she felt. How many authors can do that to you? Lucy Snowe is difficult to get to know at first. In fact, she is difficult to like. This is deliberate; she tells you about other people, what they think, what they feel, but precious little about herself, of whom she appears fiercely private. Only as the story unfolds does she start to let you in - I Reader, I heart Ms. Bronte! Reading Villette was like reading a huge epic that I was so emmersed in that I walked in Lucy Snowe's shoes, I felt what she felt. How many authors can do that to you? Lucy Snowe is difficult to get to know at first. In fact, she is difficult to like. This is deliberate; she tells you about other people, what they think, what they feel, but precious little about herself, of whom she appears fiercely private. Only as the story unfolds does she start to let you in - I remember being surprised when she showed such tender, gentle thoughts and actions towards the sick daughter of her employer; that, I believe, was the first glimpse of emotion from Lucy and it really endeared me to her. Lucy Snowe's name was not an accident - Bronte toyed with Lucy Frost for a while before settling on Snowe. She also allows us to see her as others do: "Crabbed and crusty" said Ginevra, a pupil at the school, and "unfeeling thing that I was" written to her in a letter. The point is, she isn't unfeeling at all. She is lonely and trying to make her way in an unfamiliar world. Lucy's past is only hinted at but it appears to have been an unhappy one. Brontes prose is gorgeous, Villette is such a richly embroidered account of a young woman trying to make a life for herself in a foreign country and fighting for independence and friendship. This book isn't a romance in the same way that Jane Eyre is. I wasn't sure for a long time who the leading man would be (in fact he doesn't even appear until the second half of the book). And it isn't love at first sight, we watch it grow. I absolutely adored this book and it is now a firm favourtie of mine. I finished it last night and I finally closed the book in a daze. I don't want to give anything away, but I was not expecting what happended at the end at all. That came completely out of the blue for me. Go ahead, indluge and enjoy!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    I really started to feel affection for Villette the first time Lucy Snowe tells the reader she knew something pivotal to the plot about six chapters ago but didn’t bother telling us. This trickery changed the way I was reading. Lucy Snowe was sneering at me and I hadn’t even noticed. I needed to pay attention! All those dark, brooding, anxious passages, the anguish, the loneliness…she only told us what she wanted us to know. A bitter, sly, dark, strong character. The ending sealed the deal for m I really started to feel affection for Villette the first time Lucy Snowe tells the reader she knew something pivotal to the plot about six chapters ago but didn’t bother telling us. This trickery changed the way I was reading. Lucy Snowe was sneering at me and I hadn’t even noticed. I needed to pay attention! All those dark, brooding, anxious passages, the anguish, the loneliness…she only told us what she wanted us to know. A bitter, sly, dark, strong character. The ending sealed the deal for me. It’s brilliant.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Duane

    I liked this novel, I think partly because I pictured Charlotte as the character of Lucy Snowe. I felt like it was almost semi-autobiographical in nature. But it's still not in the same league with Jane Eyre, which will forever be considered Bronte's masterpiece. I read where George Eliot and Virginia Woolf believe Villette was her best novel. But in my opinion Jane Eyre is the gold standard of classic English literature. But still, I give Villette 4 stars, certainly worth reading.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Magrat Ajostiernos

    http://cronicasdemagrat.com/2016/03/0... Brillante. Este libro empezó para mi de manera errática y detestando a su protagonista, pero lo he terminado en medio de un absoluto enganche y admirando profundamente a Lucy Snowe. Una obra de la que se pueden sacar mil lecturas, impresionante la psicología de los personajes y siempre como tema central la búsqueda de la independencia. Más profunda, sobria, madura y compleja que Jane Eyre.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Helene Jeppesen

    This was a really beautiful journey which often left me puzzled, but in the end I absolutely loved it. Lucy, our main character, is determined to become independent and make something of her life, and so she goes from England to France, more specifically to the village of Villette. "Jane Eyre" is amongst my favourite books, so I was very interested to dive further into Charlotte Brontë's authorship. I did see some similarities between the two works; Charlotte Brontë likes to surprise her readers This was a really beautiful journey which often left me puzzled, but in the end I absolutely loved it. Lucy, our main character, is determined to become independent and make something of her life, and so she goes from England to France, more specifically to the village of Villette. "Jane Eyre" is amongst my favourite books, so I was very interested to dive further into Charlotte Brontë's authorship. I did see some similarities between the two works; Charlotte Brontë likes to surprise her readers and to bring her protagonists on quite a journey. When you finish her books, you feel like you've been through so much, even though all you've been doing is to sit in your couch and read. I must admit that this book has its weak spots and dragging descriptions (which were nonetheless beautiful and fascinating!), but my overall impression of this book is a very positive one, and the ending left me with a smile on my face and a satisfied heart :)

  19. 5 out of 5

    AGamarra

    "No dejes que piense mucho en ellos, ni demasiado a menudo, ni con adoración -imploré-; deja que me conforme con un pequeño trago de esta corriente de vida: no dejes que corra sedienta y me acerque impetuosa a sus acogedoras aguas; no dejes que imagine su sabor más dulce que el de los manantiales que brotan de la tierra. ¡Oh! ¡Maldita sea! ¡Ojalá pueda contentarme con una relación esporádica y cordial! poco frecuente, transitoria, nada absorbente y tranquila, ¡muy tranquila!" Ok, es una novela qu "No dejes que piense mucho en ellos, ni demasiado a menudo, ni con adoración -imploré-; deja que me conforme con un pequeño trago de esta corriente de vida: no dejes que corra sedienta y me acerque impetuosa a sus acogedoras aguas; no dejes que imagine su sabor más dulce que el de los manantiales que brotan de la tierra. ¡Oh! ¡Maldita sea! ¡Ojalá pueda contentarme con una relación esporádica y cordial! poco frecuente, transitoria, nada absorbente y tranquila, ¡muy tranquila!" Ok, es una novela que me gustó mucho, aún así me sigue gustando más "Jane Eyre", aunque tal vez sea por razones personales, de simpatía por la protagonista y por los eventos interesantes. Villette es una obra que muestra nuevamente toda la virtud para escribir de Charlotte Bronte; a pesar de sus múltiples referencias bíblicas (es lo único digamos que no me gusta tanto pues hace ver el relato un poco limitado), describe de una manera excepcional tanto el paisaje y las circunstancias externas (típico del romanticismo) como el interior de los personajes, obviamente de la personaje principal, pues el relato está hecho en primera persona y me resulta increíble que me pueda gustar tanto a pesar de que ese estilo no es costumbre actualmente. El inicio de la novela, es el mejor que he leído hasta el momento, un ejemplo de comienzo romántico rememorando recuerdos infantiles y tristes. Eso hizo que me guste mucho la novela. Trata sobre la vida, contada en primera persona, de Lucy Snowe, quien luego de pasar una temporada con su madrina se ve obligada a buscar un nuevo destino en Villette (nombre falso que pone a la ciudad de Bruselas, en Bélgica, donde la autora pasó una temporada como profesora), allí logra un trabajo como profesora de inglés en un Pensionnat, donde hay alumnas internas y externas que reciben su educación. Creo que Lucy Snowe sigue la evolución de la propia Charlotte, es una mujer quizás que le gusta más observar que actuar, con un grado de cinismo e ironía propia de una mujer que ya abandonó casi toda esperanza. Sin embargo, los momentos que más me gustaron fue cuando una luz de emoción brillaba en ella y sus pensamientos expresaban mucha ternura, ilusión pero también sufrimiento. Ya en el Pensionnat las cosas no son tan fáciles como parecen pues tenemos el instrumento gótico nuevamente (una monja que aparece y desaparece) y muchos personajes interesantes como la mimada Ginevra Fanshawe, el educado y amable Dr. John, el soberbio profesor Emannuel y la directora Mme. Beck. No diré más. No todas las relaciones amorosas me gustaron pero hay una que sí en especial y mucho. Es un relato magistral aunque muy pocas veces me aburrió, quizás no tiene la fuerza de "Jane Eyre", tiene otro matiz que va acorde a los cambios de la autora pero lo recomiendo de todas maneras. Lo reeleré alguna vez pues hay muchas frases memorables. Lástima que no esté tan difundida.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Villette lacks the fire and passion of Jane Eyre. Since we already know this is a fictionalized version of Charlotte Bronte's time in Brussels where she had some sort of relationship with the professor she worked for, this may be the reason for the tameness. There are many similarities in the characters of Jane Eyre and Lucy Snowe in that they are orphans, they are loners, they yearn for love and, for much of the book, they love from afar with no hope of reciprocation. Villette is a colder boo Villette lacks the fire and passion of Jane Eyre. Since we already know this is a fictionalized version of Charlotte Bronte's time in Brussels where she had some sort of relationship with the professor she worked for, this may be the reason for the tameness. There are many similarities in the characters of Jane Eyre and Lucy Snowe in that they are orphans, they are loners, they yearn for love and, for much of the book, they love from afar with no hope of reciprocation. Villette is a colder book because I believe Charlotte Bronte was trying to put her real life love behind her by writing it out. I think it was done out of sadness, depression and loneliness and she built a wall between herself, her characters and her readers. There is such a thread of "this doesn't really matter" running through it that it is hard to become close to the characters or care very much about what happens to them. If they don't care, why should we? Villette also lacks the pace of Jane Eyre and plods through dreary days with long, boring musings and moralizing. I got weary of the sermons. It was as if Bronte wrote anything that came into her mind, avoiding the crux of the situation. When in Brussels, she fell in love with a married man, had no hope of ever having a life with him and returned home to Yorkshire alone and miserable. Then she tried to write a book with a "so what" attitude and that didn't work for me. I just checked the reviews posted before mine, and feel like a salmon swimming upstream. Oh, well.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Newton

    I'm not sure how to write a review for this book--I don't think I'm even qualified to. Yes, I read it, but not as well as it deserved. I went into it lightly, assuming that it was a weaker, watered-down, inferior version of Jane Eyre. By the end, I realized that this book is a force unto itself. The force of this book is subtle, though; it doesn't smack you between the eyes, but rather creeps up on you stealthily, winding almost invisible tentacles around your consciousness, catching you up into I'm not sure how to write a review for this book--I don't think I'm even qualified to. Yes, I read it, but not as well as it deserved. I went into it lightly, assuming that it was a weaker, watered-down, inferior version of Jane Eyre. By the end, I realized that this book is a force unto itself. The force of this book is subtle, though; it doesn't smack you between the eyes, but rather creeps up on you stealthily, winding almost invisible tentacles around your consciousness, catching you up into the story before you know you've been caught. Like its protagonist, Lucy Snowe, it lurks quietly, just watching; also like Lucy, the story has a hidden power. The story is the semi-autobiographical tale of Charlotte Bronte's unrequited love for her professor. The main character, Lucy Snowe, is an English orphan who flees England for the hope of adventure and a better life. She ends up in Villette, a fictional town that represents Brussels, where she takes a position in a girls' school as a teacher. She suffers an unrequited passion for one man, but ends by falling in love with another, who is ultimately a much better match for her. Lucy is telling the story, but we are still kept in the dark quite a bit as she proves to be an unreliable narrator. Her refusal to acknowledge certain truths about herself, even to herself, helps to keep her audience confused and mystified by events. All in all, I think this is a book that has hidden depths, and I feel that my own assumptions caused me to miss some of these layers of meaning. I need a re-read to really appreciate all that is there. When will that be? I have no idea, but I won't be able to do the book justice until then.

  22. 4 out of 5

    7jane

    (edited this with some expanding thoughts:) The story of a woman half-forced to indenpendence, having to find her way in a foreign, largely Catholic country; to find a satisfying job and perhaps love. It's not a straight, clear road that she might've hoped for, but something that makes her grow (view spoiler)[into mature, independent stability that is not without implied (or clear, if you view it so) tragedy (hide spoiler)] . One has to remember while reading this that certain prejudices of Cathol (edited this with some expanding thoughts:) The story of a woman half-forced to indenpendence, having to find her way in a foreign, largely Catholic country; to find a satisfying job and perhaps love. It's not a straight, clear road that she might've hoped for, but something that makes her grow (view spoiler)[into mature, independent stability that is not without implied (or clear, if you view it so) tragedy (hide spoiler)] . One has to remember while reading this that certain prejudices of Catholic religion from a British protestant point of view appear in the text, but it's not so heavy that I couldn't finish it, and it's somewhat in the background. This book shows also yet again what a great mind (and later what a great loss we had) in Charlotte Bronte. Reading this I found myself rooting for her survival, her independence and stability of mind (there's one rather hallucinatory scene in one chapter). I also found the writing tight (no feel of 'needs to be shorter') yet with great moods. I enjoyed this book all the way, and will read it again. Recommended.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mimi

    Possibly my favourite Bronte novel, the semi-autobiographical story of Lucy Snowe - strongly resembling Jane Eyre - who takes a post teaching at a girls' school in Brussels, there she meets with wilful pupils, an overbearing head teacher and also the possibility of love. Beautifully written, haunting and engrossing novel, which deserves to be as widely read as 'Jane Eyre.' Although devotees of romantic 19th century novels may find the ending problematic.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Simona Bartolotta

    So, so different from my Jane Eyre. But different is good too.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    I finished this last night and I'm STILL ANGRY. WHAT THE HELL, CHARLOTTE? I mean, seriously. I would also like to sit down with the person who wrote the introduction and talked about how Villette is so much better than Jane Eyre. I would like to speak to this person about their drug habit, and how it's affecting their work performance. Because . . . WHAT . . . did I just read? And WHY have so many of my friends given this book 5 stars? Now, as some of you may know, I love Jane Eyre. I mean, I LOVE I finished this last night and I'm STILL ANGRY. WHAT THE HELL, CHARLOTTE? I mean, seriously. I would also like to sit down with the person who wrote the introduction and talked about how Villette is so much better than Jane Eyre. I would like to speak to this person about their drug habit, and how it's affecting their work performance. Because . . . WHAT . . . did I just read? And WHY have so many of my friends given this book 5 stars? Now, as some of you may know, I love Jane Eyre. I mean, I LOVE JANE EYRE. It is without a doubt in my top ten books of all time. And I love it not because of the romance, but because I love Jane. Jane is not afraid to speak her mind. Jane is not afraid to seek out love. Jane is not afraid to say, I respect myself too damn much to be your mistress, even though you are a sexy beast and I want you. Jane is an artist. Jane is a loyal friend. Jane is amazeballs. Villette is about Lucy Snowe. Lucy Snowe doesn't talk a lot. Years worth of stuff happens to her and she goes, Meh, well, that was a thing. Lucy is easily irritated by people, and enjoys being alone (which I did appreciate), and Lucy is much put upon by people who sort of use her and abuse her, take advantage of her retiring nature, send her letters and buy her gowns when they remember her, drop her when they are busy with other people. Lucy likes walking around in gardens, and she's fine. Okay, sure. I was okay with all of this. It wasn't better than Jane Eyre, but it was okay. I was okay with it right up until she starts tearing out her hair and flinging herself around sobbing because a guy who has been a COMPLETE ASSHOLE to her for the last 400 pages is going away. A guy who constantly harps on her clothes, and tells her that she should wear dull colors and no jewelry because she isn't meant for such things. A guy who insults her intelligence, treats her like a child or a pet, spies on her, steals from her, mocks her in public. A guy who rages at her and calls her a slut for exchanging letters with a male friend. No. Just no. This man is the most horrible of all the horrible people who surround Lucy, and I am extremely upset that she didn't tell him not to let the door hit him on his (badly dressed, cigar-smelling) ass as he left. GRRR.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Elham

    This book is dark, dark; even darker than any existentialist novel I have ever read, and how true and realistic. It seems that this novel is a kind of semi-autobiography. Like Jane Eyre, this time also the book starts with the stories of a girl, Lucy Snow, living for a while with her godmother. But it was only for a short while. Then she grows up (we don't know anything about the years in between from her 14-23 – we just know that she had a difficult life that she had to work and nurse an old wom This book is dark, dark; even darker than any existentialist novel I have ever read, and how true and realistic. It seems that this novel is a kind of semi-autobiography. Like Jane Eyre, this time also the book starts with the stories of a girl, Lucy Snow, living for a while with her godmother. But it was only for a short while. Then she grows up (we don't know anything about the years in between from her 14-23 – we just know that she had a difficult life that she had to work and nurse an old woman) she travels to another city, Villette, alone, where they speak French. She becomes an English teacher. But it was not as easy as those summary lines. She is alone, no family, no money. She has to live on her own feet; she must work not for humanity and helping other people, not morality…to have a roof above her head. What makes this book dark?? Loneliness, solitude, broken heart and the price of freedom. The freedom of expressing yourself, the freedom of being your own self, not just putting a mask on your face, a mask of a "beautiful woman" , pretend to be a lover and always remain a dependent creature. Independence above all...Independence is necessary, but this is suffering. How can you be "a woman of intellect" and still be loved?? And perhaps if you had a wealthy father you could have the chance of seducing men who besides beauty (a most essential factor) they would die for your money too. You can't breathe in a place where you only have to work, where they steal love from you, it is a prison…you need a change, you are strong. This book is amazing. Charlotte Brontë is amazing and very courageous to write such book in her time.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)

    I cry in anguish, "Oh Villette, Villette, Villette!" It was a feeling that came upon me as I read this novel; the palpable feeling of— The cold grey storms of the fall and winter, the relentless building winds, the rain pounding against the window—those dark and dreary days of loneliness—all of the losses have brought you a smothering and almost overwhelming mantle of grief. You see, and write of, the Love around you, but feel the throbbing ache, day after day, night after night, of never receivin I cry in anguish, "Oh Villette, Villette, Villette!" It was a feeling that came upon me as I read this novel; the palpable feeling of— The cold grey storms of the fall and winter, the relentless building winds, the rain pounding against the window—those dark and dreary days of loneliness—all of the losses have brought you a smothering and almost overwhelming mantle of grief. You see, and write of, the Love around you, but feel the throbbing ache, day after day, night after night, of never receiving Love in return. I lost count of the tears that fell as I read your account, Miss Lucy Snowe; or, should I call you, Miss Charlotte? This novel, this Villette, like an arrow fletched fair, flew true, oh so true, and pierced your beating heart; and from that mortal wound poured the secrets of your soul, your inner-most being; laid bare for all to see. The incalculable loss of your older sisters, then Branwell, your dearest Emily, and finally quiet little Anne. This towering testament to loneliness, to sorrow, swept me, your Reader, relentlessly through the unimagined torrent of your human emotions—your grief, your fears, your reserved passion, your quiet grace, steadfast loyalty, and your resolute strength and faith. I felt guilty as I read, Little Woman, looking over my shoulder at every pause; afraid that you should find me picking the lock of your secret diary; spellbound as I turned the pages, one after the other, reading your most intimate, personal, and painful thoughts and the passionate feelings that poured forth onto the page. Intensely captivated by the dialog between your Passion and your Reason, the conversations between your Imagination and your Matter; but I read on. Until it became too much; I averted my eyes, and I wept. As I sit here, writing these words, I am absolutely overwhelmed. I don’t know that I have ever read a book that has moved me quite like Charlotte Bronte’s final novel, Villette. A timeless and moving experience from its first words, to its final “Farewell.” I am without words, Little Woman. I know this though, Miss Lucy Snowe, Miss Charlotte Bronte, I shall Love you always. In tribute to the commitment you made to all who have read, or will read, this personal ‘Testament’ of yours over the ages, may your own words prove prophetic— “Proof of a life to come must be given. In fire and in blood do we trace the record throughout nature. In fire and in blood does it cross our own experience. Sufferer, faint not through terror of this burning evidence. Tired wayfarer, gird up thy loins, look upward, march onward. Pilgrims and brother mourners, join in friendly company. Dark through the wilderness of this world stretches the way for most of us; equal and steady be our tread; be our cross our banner. For staff we have His promise, whose ‘word is tried, whose way is perfect:’ for present hope His providence, ‘who gives the shield of salvation, whose gentleness makes great;’ for final home His bosom, who ‘dwells in the height of Heaven;’ for crowning prize a glory, exceeding and eternal.” Farewell, Little Woman, fare thee well.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nicola

    My third and final Charlotte Bronte from the 1001 list, although Jane Eyre, which I read as a teenager is probably due for a re-read especially as although I enjoyed it I didn't really 'really' like it and I've been thinking that I should probably give it another chance as it were. I was reconsidering this after having read Shirley not so long ago, as I thought that novel pretty mediocre really, but Villette has raised Charlotte in my estimation even though it might be as good as it is because i My third and final Charlotte Bronte from the 1001 list, although Jane Eyre, which I read as a teenager is probably due for a re-read especially as although I enjoyed it I didn't really 'really' like it and I've been thinking that I should probably give it another chance as it were. I was reconsidering this after having read Shirley not so long ago, as I thought that novel pretty mediocre really, but Villette has raised Charlotte in my estimation even though it might be as good as it is because it has been the culmination of a life of writing and has a great deal of personal emotion woven into the text. So, Villette. Rather unusual all things considered. Lucy Snow, an orphan without friends or relations, travels to France to seek some sort of post to enable her to earn enough to live on. Lucy is an unusual woman, there is a lot to admire in her, her desire to be independent and her quiet morality, but she is also cold and frequently harshly judgemental of those around her. I actually find a great resemblance between Lucy Snow and Fanny Price in Mansfield Park (a comparison which Charlotte might find odious as she didn't much care for Jane Austen's books). Lucy carries a great deal of pain and unhappiness inside of her but as readers we are mostly led to guess at her history for ourselves based on inference as Lucy herself remains nearly universally private about her past. (And also her present. Lucy in fact very rarely offers any direct insights into her thoughts and feelings, she supresses and represses everything that she can.) The loneliness and air of depression which hangs like a cloud above the orphaned Lucy is one of the things which has me class this as a 'Gothic' book, although strictly speaking it's not. There are a lot of Gothic elements but they have mostly all been twisted around to rather mock at the standard tropes instead of enforcing them. Gothic features from the Wikipedia pages: Virginal Maiden - Technically this does apply to Lucy Snow and she certainly does have a great deal of the vulnerable about her but I think that the mantle of 'Virginal Maiden' falls more readily onto the shoulders of one of the two other main maidens - (view spoiler)[ Polly. After all she ends up with the 'Hero' and she is beautiful and far more perfectly suited than plain and introverted Lucy. (hide spoiler)] Older Foolish Woman - Madame Beck. Although actually very clever and business like she is rendered somewhat ridiculous by her machinations and secretive spying manner. Hero - Here we have the handsome and charming (view spoiler)[Dr. John. Devoted to his mother, kind natured and industrious, clearly the perfect hero. Except that in actual fact he's rather stupidly infatuated with an unworthy woman, often heartless and occasionally cruel in his self absorption. But he's good looking, so obviously he's the hero and he'll end up with the beautiful and virtuous maiden in accepted trope fashion. (hide spoiler)] Tyrant/Villain - This would be M. Paul Emanuel who frequently storms and rages at Lucy in grand tyrant mode and often gratuitously insults her for being a) A Woman, b) Too Educated, c) Too Uneducated, d) English and e) A Protestant. But underneath all of his crotchets and tempests he is a kindly and decent man who likes Lucy very much and wishes to be friends with her. Bandits and Ruffians - We don't see many of those but on Lucy's travels to France she runs into many characters who cheat her. She also has an encounter with two men on the streets of Villette who scare her so badly that she loses her way. She later encounters these 'two ruffians' and discovers that they are respected professors. Clergy - As a respectable protestant in ungodly and heretical catholic France Lucy is subject to conversion attempts which she finds foolish and tiresome. She forms a connection of sorts with a Jesuit priest who acts occasionally in underhanded way; unfortunately he doesn't descend into full on malicious villainy and there is no suggestion of Satanic Worship. Setting - Rather than an isolated monastery or castle, Lucy finds herself in a girls school. It certainly has walls but she is free to leave at any time. All Gothic Heroines must suffer isolation and imprisonment but in Villette the true imprisoning lies inside her own head as Lucy battles the demons of depression and lack of self-worth. As well as all of these we can throw in a smattering of the supernatural with the legend of the ghostly nun who still walks the school. Obviously silly superstition - or is it...? A great read, I highly enjoyed it and even forgave the numerous ridiculous coincidences which were worthy of Dickens.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Irene

    Un clásico con un poderoso mensaje, que llega muy hondo. La comparación con Jane Eyre es inevitable, y siendo mi libro de cabecera, no ha podido con él. A pesar de eso, la historia es buena, aunque es cierto que decae en algunos pasajes. La protagonista, se aparta del ideal de la heroína romántica del siglo XIX,es una mujer que busca su independencia y que se adelantó a su época, aunque tampoco renuncia a la búsqueda del amor romántico. Por otro lado, los elementos góticos mejoran la narración, aun Un clásico con un poderoso mensaje, que llega muy hondo. La comparación con Jane Eyre es inevitable, y siendo mi libro de cabecera, no ha podido con él. A pesar de eso, la historia es buena, aunque es cierto que decae en algunos pasajes. La protagonista, se aparta del ideal de la heroína romántica del siglo XIX,es una mujer que busca su independencia y que se adelantó a su época, aunque tampoco renuncia a la búsqueda del amor romántico. Por otro lado, los elementos góticos mejoran la narración, aunque incomparable con Thornfield Hall.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    10/26/16 "Forget the modern debate over 'likeable' female characters - Lucy is prickly, repressed, untrustworthy, unattractive, judgmental, in constant denial of her own feelings, desperate for affection, violently anti-Catholic - in short an IMPOSSIBLE female character. There are even times when not only Lucy but Bronte herself hides significant information about the other characters from the readers, often casually mentioning having withheld it long after the fact. She is difficult to sympathi 10/26/16 "Forget the modern debate over 'likeable' female characters - Lucy is prickly, repressed, untrustworthy, unattractive, judgmental, in constant denial of her own feelings, desperate for affection, violently anti-Catholic - in short an IMPOSSIBLE female character. There are even times when not only Lucy but Bronte herself hides significant information about the other characters from the readers, often casually mentioning having withheld it long after the fact. She is difficult to sympathize with, because she does not seek to be understood, not by us nor by anyone else. She seeks always to appear smaller, not because she enjoys being ignored, because she has found being human-sized altogether too painful to endure. She has no hope of power of pleasing, but this does not mean she has stopped wishing that she had it." -from Mallory Ortberg's introduction I had a difficult time reading Villette. The first few chapters and the protagonist, Lucy Snowe, never really captured and held my attention. I ended up finishing it by listening to the audiobook and reading along. But then the ending blindsided me, and the introduction, which I read afterwards, made me cry. I recall my great love for Jane Eyre happened after I reread it. And I feel my love for Villette can only grow. Lucy and Jane are very much alike, but Lucy is far more real than Jane. Lucy is solely concerned with survival and often succumbs to despair. She only rarely allows herself to daydream about the thing Jane craves: love. Lucy never asks for love; she has only known grief and does not want to go through another unnecessary bout caused by the loss of it. I very much see parts of myself in Lucy and feel very kindred to her, especially since my days far more closely resemble Lucy's than they will ever Jane's, with all their excitement and promises. Lucy's story doesn't reward you for listening to it, but there are rewards to be found in listening to Lucy Snowe. 8/25/17 For the most part, this rereading experience was not very enjoyable. I think, on the whole, I will always find the first part of Villette a slog to overcome. There is a lot of the French language and many new, unlikable characters to meet and hear about, and many unsettling settings to discover. During the first part, too, we barely get a chance to understand Lucy, who she is, how she functions. She makes an effort to hide herself from the reader. During the rereading, I saw through a few things that Lucy intended to hide from the reader, and I looked on a couple male characters differently - oppositely - than I did when reading it for the first time. I enjoyed knowing I knew Lucy better than she perhaps wanted me to. Overall, however, Villette is not a happy book. Lucy is not a happy person and her life is not easy or full of pleasurable things. She's an outsider most of the time and is rarely, truly a part of someone else's life. This is a book about the pains of solitude, unrequited love and unfulfilled love. It is full of unwelcoming characters and places. It is a story that desperately tries to keep you at arm's length. But after all that, Lucy feels like a friend. One day this will get a true 5 stars from me - when I find enjoyment in the first part of the novel. Until then I will continue to reread Villette and never forget Lucy Snowe.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.