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.
About the Author
The eldest of the three Bront? sisters, Charlotte is best known for her novel Jane Eyre, which was published under the pseudonym Currer Bell. Bront? s works were revolutionary for their time, reflecting a truthfulness about love and relationships that was not common in Victorian-era England. While Jane Eyre was, and continues to be, her most popular work, Charlotte Bront? published numerous works during her short life, including juvenilia, poetry, and the novels Shirley and Villette. Charlotte Bront? died in 1855, outliving both of her sisters, Anne and Emily. Collectively, the Bront? sisters novels are considered literary standards that continue to influence modern writers.
Susan Fromberg Schaeffer (1940 - 2011) was a Professor of English and author of fourteen novels, six poetry collections, and other works.
"Brontë’s finest novel."—Virginia Woolf