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Villette by [Brontë, Charlotte]
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Villette Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 176 customer reviews

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Length: 741 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description


"Bronte's finest novel."--Virginia Woolf

"A still more wonderful book than "Jane Eyre"."--George Eliot

From the Inside Flap

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 Bronte'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.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1344 KB
  • Print Length: 741 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008494WR6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 176 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #785 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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By A Customer on 13 April 2001
Format: Paperback
I do not in any way mean to say that this book is bad; indeed, I mean the very opposite. It is criminal that "Villette" is not widely recognised as Charlotte Brontë's tour de force. Overshadowed by the tremendous success of "Jane Eyre" - which is, in itself, a wonderful novel - "Villette" has been largely ignored. Yet, in my opinion, it is superior: it has a better structure, a better heroine and a well designed plot. In what can only be described as an "aesthetically satisfying work," we engage with the main character, Lucy Snowe; we feel her passion, her isolation, her desperation - in fact, it is a highly autobiographical work. It is the story of unrequited love. It is the study of the development of a character put into adverse circumstances. It is the expression of , as never seen in English before, of the complexities and subtleties of a woman. It is poetical, beautiful. We follow Lucy as she grows up: living with her aunt, becoming a teacher in a school called Villette, standing up to the hostility of many other teachers and finally ... I think that anyone who loved "Jane Eyre" - there are not many of us who don't - will appreciate this criminally overlooked novel. Moreover, it is the perfect novel for a first-time Brontë reader - followed very closely by "Jane Eyre". Please do not take my word for it - read it and be mesmerised in a vividly painted world that will haunt you forever!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"Villette" is not so well known as "Jane Eyre", but it has much in common with it and is every bit as interesting. Our heroine and narrator is a young woman called Lucy Snowe: poor, possessed of no special talents, and left to her own resources, she takes a startling gamble with fate by sailing to France, and there finds a living as a teacher in the eponymous town. To avoid spoilers, I'll say only that we are much concerned with the men she meets.

Lucy Snowe is a well named, for she hides her extraordinary passions beneath a cool exterior. Her nature is contrary, elusive and contradictory, puzzling even to those closest to her: even we, her readers, are but qualified confidantes, often left in the dark by her reticence. Whilst doing what she must to make her way in the world, Lucy somehow remains uncompromising, aloof and self-sufficient, earning respect even from those she most confounds. She is perhaps the most intriguing female character I've ever read about.

Just as in "Jane Eyre", Charlotte leans shamelessly on coincidence to work her plot, but a little cunning telegraphy sweetens the pill, providing this reader with a satisfying oh-I-see! moment. Just as in "Jane Eyre", different kinds of potential suitors for our narrator are juxtaposed and contrasted; and different styles of womanhood are presented, demonstrating what Lucy is not. But the arc of this book is less obvious than in "Jane Eyre": we are very far along before we even understand what kind of story this is (and the saucy intrusion of classic gothic elements keeps us guessing).

Speaking of technique, Charlotte's prose is superbly controlled, whether lofty and fanciful or sharp and deft, as here:

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Format: Paperback
On the back of the book it says this:-
Based on Charlotte bronte's personal experience as a teacher in Brussels, Villette, is a moving tale of repressed feelings and subjection to cruel circumstance and position, borne with heroic fortitude. Rising above the frustrations of confinement within a rigid social order, it is also a story of a woman's right to love and be loved.
I note from some reviews that many people missed the point of this wonderful book. It is a beautifully written, poignant story. It is not supposed to be a fast-paced, modernised tale, but a beautifully written, richly embroidered account of the young life of a woman alone in the world seeking peace and independence. In a society where women did not normally go out alone and where rank and wealth were important, our heroine struggled with life. Charlotte Bronte graphically describes the heroine whose strength of character and kind, long-suffering personality earns rewards in the end. I did not feel the ending was uncertain or lacked meaning, but had I felt unsure of it, I would still define this book as one of the great reads of my life. I found it a privilege to read about characters who lived in an age long forgotten, and brought to life so colourfully, as told from one who lived it.
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Format: Paperback
Then definitely read this!

I liked Jane Eyre very much, but it was Villette that really captured my imagination and heart. In my opinion (though I realise it is verging on this criminal to admit this) it is better than Jane Eyre - it certainly has more depth, the plot is far superior, and it's just... more enjoyable. I admit that JE has the irreplaceable Mr Rochester, but Villette has Mousieur Paul, a Rochesterian (?) character himself - idiosyncratic, harsh, domineering, austere, and yet simultaneously attractive. I preferrd him to Rochester as he, and his love for the protagonist Lucy Snowe, is more believable, and has more depth.

The only thing I would say is that unless your French is pretty good don't buy the Oxford edition - there is a lot of French dialogue, and OUP clearly didn't want to spend the money on paper and ink to translate it all - which I found extremely frustrating.

Overall - a fantastic book to curl up with and lose yourself in - it is one of my favourites!
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