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Look Inside | Reading Guide
Apr 07, 2009
| ISBN 9780307455567
Oct 09, 2001
| ISBN 9780375758508
Oct 01, 1986
| ISBN 9780553212433
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Mar 10, 1992
| ISBN 9780679409885
May 01, 2007
| ISBN 9780553903997
Jan 07, 1999
| ISBN 9780679640080
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Apr 07, 2009 | ISBN 9780307455567
Oct 09, 2001 | ISBN 9780375758508
Oct 01, 1986 | ISBN 9780553212433
Mar 10, 1992 | ISBN 9780679409885
May 01, 2007 | ISBN 9780553903997
Jan 07, 1999 | ISBN 9780679640080
Charlotte Brontë’s final masterpiece powerfully portrays a woman struggling to reconcile love, jealousy, and a fierce desire for independence.Having fled a harrowing past in England, Lucy Snowe begins a new life teaching at a boarding school in the great capital of a foreign country. There, as she tries to achieve independence from both outer necessity and inward grief, she finds that her feelings for a worldly doctor and a dictatorial professor threaten her hard-won self-possession. Published in 1853, Charlotte Bronte’s last novel was written in the wake of her grief at the death of her siblings. It has a dramatic force comparable to that of her other masterpiece, Jane Eyre, as well as a striking modernity of psychological insight and a revolutionary understanding of human loneliness.
From the author of Jane Eyre, a strikingly modern story of a young woman starting over—with an introduction by Weike Wang, PEN/Hemingway Award–winning author of Chemistry“Villette! Villette! Have you read it?” exclaimed George Eliot when Charlotte Brontë’s final novel appeared in 1853. “It is a still more wonderful book than Jane Eyre. There is something almost preternatural in its power.”Arguably Charlotte Brontë’s most refined and deeply felt work—Virginia Woolf called it Brontë’s “finest novel”—Villette draws on its author’s own experiences as a governess, and her profound loneliness following the deaths of her three siblings. It tells the story of parentless, friendless Lucy Snowe, who flees from an unhappy past in England to begin a new life as a teacher at a boarding school in the small French town of Villette. Soon Lucy’s struggle for independence is challenged by both her friendship with a worldly English doctor and her feelings for an autocratic schoolmaster. Brontë’s strikingly modern heroine must decide if there is any man in her society with whom she can live and still be free.The Modern Library Torchbearers series features women who wrote on their own terms, with boldness, creativity, and a spirit of resistance.AMERICAN INDIAN STORIES • THE AWAKENING • THE CUSTOM OF THE COUNTRY • THE HEADS OF CERBERUS • LADY AUDLEY’S SECRET • LOVE, ANGER, MADNESS • PASSING • THE TRANSFORMATION OF PHILIP JETTAN • VILLETTE • THERE IS CONFUSION • THE SELECTED POEMS OF EDNA ST. VINCENT MILLAY
With her final novel, Villette, Charlotte Bronte reached the height of her artistic power. First published in 1853, Villette is Bronte’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 confronts her feelings of love and longing as she witnesses the fitful romance between Dr. John, a handsome young Englishman, and Ginerva Fanshawe, a beautiful coquetter. This 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.
Left by harrowing circumstances to fend for herself in the great capital of a foreign country, Lucy Snowe, the narrator and heroine of Villette, achieves by degrees an authentic independence from both outer necessity and inward grief. Charlotte Brontë’s last novel, published in 1853, has a dramatic force comparable to that of her other masterpiece, Jane Eyre, as well as strikingly modern psychological insight and a revolutionary understanding of human loneliness. With an introduction by Lucy Hughes-Hallet.
“Villette! Villette! Have you read it?” exclaimed George Eliot when Charlotte Brontë’s final novel appeared in 1853. “It is a still more wonderful book than Jane Eyre. There is something almost preternatural in its power.” Arguably Brontë’s most refined and deeply felt work, Villette draws on her profound loneliness following the deaths of her three siblings. Lucy Snowe, the narrator of Villette, flees from an unhappy past in England to begin a new life as a teacher at a French boarding school in the great cosmopolitan capital of Villette. Soon Lucy’s struggle for independence is overshadowed by both her friendship with a wordly English doctor and her feelings for an autocratic schoolmaster. Brontë’s strikingly modern heroine must decide if there is any man in her society with whom she can live and still be free. “Villette is an amazing book,” observed novelist Susan Fromberg Schaeffer. “Written before psychoanalysis came into being, Villette is nevertheless a psychoanalytic work—a psychosexual study of its heroine, Lucy Snowe. Written before the philosophy of existentialism was formulated, the novel’s view of the world can only be described as existential. . . . Today it is read and discussed more intensely than Charlotte Brontë’s other novels, and many critics now beleive it to be a true masterpiece, a work of genius that more than fulfilled the promise of Jane Eyre.” Indeed, Virginia Woolf judged Villette to be Brontë’s “finest novel.”
Charlotte Brontë lived from 1816 to 1855. Jane Eyre appeared in 1847 and was followed by Shirley (1848) and Vilette (1853). In 1854, Charlotte Brontë married her father’s curate, Arthur Bell Nicholls. She died during her pregnancy on March 31, 1855, in Haworth, Yorkshire. The Professor was posthumously published in… More about Charlotte Bronte
"Brontë’s finest novel."—Virginia Woolf
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