Charlotte Brontë’s blazingly intelligent women brimming with hidden passions would transform English literature.
Villette, arguably Brontë's most refined and deeply felt work, draws on her profound loneliness following the deaths of her three siblings.
According to Lucy Hughes-Hallett, Villette is the most autobiographical of Brontë’s novels. In it, she elaborates on the true story of her unrequited love for a married schoolmaster named Constantin Héger.
In parallel fashion, 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 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.
Villette is an astonishing piece of writing: a book in which phantasmagorical set pieces alternate with passages of minute psychological investigation, and in which Brontë’s marvelously supple prose veers between sardonic wit and stream-of-consciousness, in which the syntax bends and flows and threatens to dissolve completely in the heat of madness, drug-induced hallucination and desperate desire.
Charlotte Brontë (1816 – 1855) was an English novelist and poet, the eldest of the three Brontë sisters whose novels have become classics of English literature. Charlotte Brontë famously lived her entire life in an isolated parsonage on a remote English moor with a demanding father and siblings whose astonishing childhood creativity was a closely held secret. She first published her works (including her best known novel, Jane Eyre) under the pen name Currer Bell.
"Villette! Villette! Have you read it?" It is a still more wonderful book than Jane Eyre. There is something almost preternatural in its power..."
”At the end we are steeped through and through with the genius, the vehemence, the indignation of Charlotte Bronte.”