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Villette

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Published: 1853
Language: English
Wordcount: 194,400 / 561 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 63.9
LoC Category: PR
Downloads: 2,193
Added to site: 2010.08.24
mnybks.net#: 28786
Origin: gutenberg.org
Excerpt

d her infant visage. She seemed growing old and unearthly. I, Lucy Snowe, plead guiltless of that curse, an overheated and discursive imagination; but whenever, opening a room-door, I found her seated in a corner alone, her head in her pigmy hand, that room seemed to me not inhabited, but haunted.

And again, when of moonlight nights, on waking, I beheld her figure, white and conspicuous in its night-dress, kneeling upright in bed, and praying like some Catholic or Methodist enthusiast--some precocious fanatic or untimely saint--I scarcely know what thoughts I had; but they ran risk of being hardly more rational and healthy than that child's mind must have been.

I seldom caught a word of her prayers, for they were whispered low: sometimes, indeed, they were not whispered at all, but put up unuttered; such rare sentences as reached my ear still bore the burden, "Papa; my dear papa!" This, I perceived, was a one-idea'd nature; betraying that monomaniac tendency I have ever thought the most unfortun

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 4 from 1 reviews: ****
2015.11.17
Leah A. Zeldes
****.

Arguably the best of Charlotte Brontė's novels, the bittersweet story of young-but-middle-aged, orphaned, taciturn Lucy Snowe has much to recommend it, but readers get what they bring to it.

When Lucy daringly leaves her native Britain for Villette, France, and, almost accidentally, enlists as a resident English teacher at a boarding school, does she become all that's in her to be? How much of herself does she conceal from the reader? Is the ambiguous conclusion sad or hopeful?

It's the reader's choice.

The ardent and optimistic will find it a happier story than the cynic or pessimist. When I first read the novel as a young woman, I came to different conclusions than I did on my recent rereading. It occurs to me now that 20th-century novelist Barbara Pym must have found much inspiration in "Villette" for the wry, introspective and quietly yearning spinsters who populate her fiction.

Plot aside, Brontė's prose is powerful and purposeful. It must be said, however, that at least a rudimentary knowledge of French is required to understand a good part of the dialogue, which may explain, somewhat, why this novel is so much less well-known than Brontė's earlier "Jane Eyre."


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David Niall Wilson
David Niall Wilson has had experiences in real life that can rival anything you would find in a novel. It is a good thing too, as the stories he collected while walking these strange and interesting paths has shaped him as a writer. David is not only the author of numerous novels and short stories, but also runs his own print, digital and audio publishing company. This makes him a busy man indeed, but we did manage to catch up with him to find out more about his novel, Nevermore, his fascination with history and some of his most unique travel experiences.
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