Fleeing an unhappy past in England, penniless Lucy Snowe starts life anew at a boarding school in cosmopolitan Villette, a stand-in for Brussels. The mystery, jealousy, and love that she finds there give Charlotte Brontë’s final novel much of the Gothic tone and psychological incisiveness that prompted George Eliot, Virginia Woolf, and others to call Villette her finest work. Based on Brontë’s own experiences in Brussels and her attachment to a brilliant teacher with a strong and eccentric personality, this superb romantic novel is an exceptional example of how a great writer transforms the ordinary events of her life into vivid and exciting art. Villette represents the inimitable Brontë genius by giving us a masterful portrait of Lucy Snowe, who belongs beside the great nineteenth-century literary heroines—and who will strongly appeal to modern readers.
With a New Introduction by Adriana Trigiani and an Afterword by Helen Benedict
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.
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… More about Charlotte Bronte
About Charlotte Bronte
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