""Villette" "Villette" Have you read it?" exclaimed George Eliot when Charlotte Bronte'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 Bronte'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 file 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 freindship with a wordly English doctor and her feelings for an autocratic schoolmaster. Bronte'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 Bronte's other novels, and many critics now beleive it to be a true master-piece, a work of genius that more than fulfilled the promise of "Jane Eyre."" Indeed, Virginia Woolf judged "Villette" to be Bronte's "finest novel."
About the Author
Charlotte Bronte, (1816-1855) was an English poet and novelist best known for her novel Jane Eyre. After finishing school she took up as a governess to multiple families in Yorkshire, similar to her leading character Jane Eyre. She married Arthur Bell Nicholls in 1845. Charlotte and her unborn child died due to complication during her pregnancy.
A.S. Byatt is an internationally acclaimed novelist, short-story writer, and critic. Her books include the Booker Prize winning Possession, as well as The Children s Book and the quartet of The Virgin in the Garden, Still Life, Babel Tower, and A Whistling Woman. She was appointed Dame of the British Empire in 1999 and has been awarded numerous prizes, including the Commonwealth Writers Prize, the PEN/Macmillan Silver Pen Award, and the Irish Times International Fiction Prize. She lives in London, England.
"Brontë’s finest novel."