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Villette

3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  41,739 Ratings  ·  2,302 Reviews
Hailed as Charlotte Brontë’s “finest novel” by Virginia Woolf, Villette is the timeless semi-autobiographical tale of Lucy Snowe. Left with no family and no money, Lucy goes against her own timid nature and travels to the small city of Villette, France, where she becomes a school teacher in Madame Beck’s school for girls. During her stay, she falls in love—twice—and discov ...more
Paperback, 512 pages
Published September 13th 1994 by Penguin Books (first published 1853)
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Ella Carmichael Yes, it's harder than Jane Eyre mainly down to the characters. The love story is more complicated in the way it weaves, yet in some ways more…moreYes, it's harder than Jane Eyre mainly down to the characters. The love story is more complicated in the way it weaves, yet in some ways more realistic. There's a lot of pain flowing through it as the heroine finds herself disappointed, yet the ending is positive. I have only read it twice but may go back for more now that I am older. Looking back now I don't think it's a book that a very young person can understand. (less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Virginia
Lucy Snowe hates you. She's writing her story for you, you're experiencing the most intimate contact there can be between two people, and she hates you. It makes for a hard read.

Her older sister, Jane-- you remember her?-- she loved you. Most of you probably had to read her story in high school, whereas not one teacher in a thousand would touch Villette. Nor should they. High schoolers have enough rejection to cope with. Most of them were probably bored or annoyed with Jane, but you have to give
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Jeffrey Keeten
Jun 24, 2015 Jeffrey Keeten rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Stone walls do not a prison make, Nor iron bars--a cage, so peril, loneliness, an uncertain future, are not oppressive evils, so long as the frame is healthy and the faculties are employed; so long, especially, as Liberty lends us her wings, and Hope guides us by her star.”

When I was growing up in Kansas, my father farmed and worked long hours, and my mother worked the night shift at the hospital as a nurse's aide. Since my mother slept during the day, I had to be very quiet. I found that by be
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Tatiana
Sep 21, 2010 Tatiana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, 1001, 2010, nostalgia
Still 5 stars...

I loved this novel. Obsessive reader as I am, I feel simply obligated to consume all kinds of reviews and discussions after finishing a book that left me in awe and baffled. This time I even ventured into the territory of critical analyses and interpretations. Many things came up during my quest to find out what people think of the heroine of Villette and the book as a whole - that this is a novel about a woman who fights to attain her independence, that Lucy Snowe is a liar, tha
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Kelly
Mar 21, 2014 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bronte fans, Victorian lit fans, feminists
This book is better than Jane Eyre, guys. This is where Charlotte Bronte shows her real brilliance. I hovered between giving this two stars and four for about half the book because I really wasn't sure what was going on beneath the surface. But then I figured out that I was stupid and didn't see half of the things that Charlotte Bronte had done. She's brilliant. Her narrator is completely unreliable. She's a tease. She withholds. She doesn't tell us the lines we wish most to hear. She deals with ...more
Araz Goran

يا الله كيف لي أن أصف هذه الرواية الجميلة..
إبداع من زمن الأدب الجميل.. حيث الكلمات تخرج بنقاء ورقة وإبداع لا مثيل لها، كأنها نسمة هواء عطرة تنتعش الروح بعدها وتنطلق بالفكر الى مجال آخر خارج نطاق هذا العالم المشوه.. هذه الرواية هي نقطة عبور الى الماضي الأدبي، حيث الأدب كان يعبر عن ذاته، حيث الكلمات المرتعشة تحت ريشة الفنان.. لم يكونوا في الماضي إدباء فحسب بل فنانون ،مارسوا فنهم بالقلم وبدنيا الكلمات..

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


شارلوت برونتي المولودة سنة 1816 م - في يوركشاير - بإنكلترا الشاعرة وال
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Sparrow
It is not possible for me to talk about this book without somehow spoiling it. I’ll hide the main spoilers, but there are some pretty awesome twists and turns in this book, so I recommend reading it with eyes that are innocent of review spoilers.

I have had this weird experience lately where books or movies or TV I watch are almost always either uncannily similar to my life – like, exact words I’ve said recently or experiences I’ve had – or totally offensive and appalling to me. I think it is doi
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Aubrey
We denizens of 'The Book of Disquiet' salute you.

We of the small loves and small livings, the tiny joys and tiny dreams, bid you welcome. Our home is well-adjusted and self-assured, for if we profess ourselves any sort of connoisseur, it lies within those realms. Our work keeps us fed, clothed, ticking along at a methodical pace that matches the step of our action.

Our doings are wrested from the very root of us, and we cannot remember a time when our will was a creature without chain or muzzle.

W
...more
Elyse
May 01, 2016 Elyse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having read Jane Eyre recently for the first time, ...it was suggested I read Villette....
A fantastic Kindle-Freebie!!!

I thought this story was terrific ...equally as good as Jane Eyre.
Lucy Snowe....lonely, introverted, .....and somewhat emotionally unavailable....it's easy to feel empathy towards her... harder to understand what she is thinking. - yet...she was easy to relate to. I could understand her struggles of bumping up against isolation -- and doubting who she was.
Bronte touches on th
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Boof
Reader, I heart Ms. Bronte! Reading Villette was like reading a huge epic that I was so emmersed in that I walked in Lucy Snowe's shoes, I felt what she felt. How many authors can do that to you?

Lucy Snowe is difficult to get to know at first. In fact, she is difficult to like. This is deliberate; she tells you about other people, what they think, what they feel, but precious little about herself, of whom she appears fiercely private. Only as the story unfolds does she start to let you in - I
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Margaret
I can do no better to begin with than to quote George Eliot, who upon reading Villette called it "a still more wonderful book than Jane Eyre".

Villette is darker and more realistic than Jane Eyre, and more autobiographical (and perhaps thus even more powerful). Drawing on Charlotte Brontë's experiences in Brussels, Villette tells the story of Lucy Snowe, who leaves England in flight from a shadowy, unhappy past; she comes to "Villette" (i.e., Brussels) and becomes an English teacher at Madame Be
...more
Heba Nouraldeen
Sep 12, 2015 Heba Nouraldeen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
..هذة المرة الاولى التي يصيب الحزن شغاف قلبي لمفارقة كتاب وكأنني فقدت صديقاً عزيزاً..
طوال قراءتي وعينايّ تتابع الحروف الصغيرة لكيلا يفوتني شيء من الجمال والرقي
ما ظنُك بفتاة متزنة ..عاقلة .. مسالمة الظل وهادئة الطباع وإذا بها تقع في حب أحدهم والذي لا يعدُها إلا صديقة مخلصة يأتمنها على اسراره..؟؟؟
ولم يدفعها لحبه إلا معاملته اللطيفة لها واهتمامه بأمرها
مهما ادعت المرأة من القوة والثبات لابد وان يأسرها الود والاهتمام وتلتمع نجمة الحب في عينيها وتشرق الأبتسامة على محياها
وبالرغم من ان الحياة كانت مُ
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helen the bookowl
Jul 23, 2015 helen the bookowl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really beautiful journey which often left me puzzled, but in the end I absolutely loved it. Lucy, our main character, is determined to become independent and make something of her life, and so she goes from England to France, more specifically to the village of Villette.
"Jane Eyre" is amongst my favourite books, so I was very interested to dive further into Charlotte Brontë's authorship. I did see some similarities between the two works; Charlotte Brontë likes to surprise her readers
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April
I have very mixed feelings about this one! On one hand, I absolutely ADORE Charlotte's writing because it is just so, so, so, SO beautiful. However, this novel started off being quite disjointed and confusing and I was often left puzzled by the randomness of the events and the varied pacing.
After reading Charlotte Brontë: A Life, I could clearly see the parallels between Villette and Charlotte's personal life. This book was practically an autobiography and in that sense, it was super different
...more
Elham
Jan 20, 2016 Elham rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Elham by: Teresa
This book is dark, dark; even darker than any existentialist novel I have ever read, and how true and realistic. It seems that this novel is a kind of semi-autobiography.

Like Jane Eyre, this time also the book starts with the stories of a girl, Lucy Snow, living for a while with her godmother. But it was only for a short while. Then she grows up (we don't know anything about the years in between from her 14-23 – we just know that she had a difficult life that she had to work and nurse an old wom
...more
Magrat Ajostiernos
Mar 08, 2016 Magrat Ajostiernos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: clásico, 2016
http://cronicasdemagrat.com/2016/03/0...

Brillante.

Este libro empezó para mi de manera errática y detestando a su protagonista, pero lo he terminado en medio de un absoluto enganche y admirando profundamente a Lucy Snowe.
Una obra de la que se pueden sacar mil lecturas, impresionante la psicología de los personajes y siempre como tema central la búsqueda de la independencia.

Más profunda, sobria, madura y compleja que Jane Eyre.
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
I cry in anguish, "Oh Villette, Villette, Villette!"

It was a feeling that came upon me as I read this novel; the palpable feeling of—

The cold grey storms of the fall and winter, the relentless building winds, the rain pounding against the window—those dark and dreary days of loneliness—all of the losses have brought you a smothering and almost overwhelming mantle of grief. You see, and write of, the Love around you, but feel the throbbing ache, day after day, night after night, of never receivin
...more
Jennifer (aka EM)
*NEW REVIEW* (below)

Wowza. That's what you call a cliff-hanger. If I didn't know better, I'd swear she meant to write a sequel.............

What a fabulous, sad, strong, odd, ultimately sympathetic creature is Lucy Snowe. Despite (view spoiler), my feelings are optimistic for her. Indeed, I feel empowered by her.

Charlotte Brontë is my gal. A woman about 200 years ahead of her time.

More later.

_________________________________

Later.

Each year, I do a review of my reading
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Catie
Oct 01, 2011 Catie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Catie by: Tatiana
When compared to Jane Eyre, this novel seems often pronounced the more mature work of Charlotte Bronte. I think that’s true. However, this book is not more mature in the sense that it’s more open-minded, worldly, or settled. If Jane Eyre is the novel of a woman who believes in true love, hope, and positive destiny; who believes that there's a reason for strife, then this is the novel that’s written by that woman when she’s been disappointed in love and has lost her family and her dreams. This is ...more
Jan-Maat
I finished Jane Eyre and I knew what I was going to write, I finish Villette and I am quite unclear.

My initial expectation was that it would repeat the earlier story: woman, abused childhood, education, passionate love, obstacle, punishments and rewards. Perhaps in large it does. The madwoman in the attic motif is repeated, this something that lodged in Bronte's imagination.

Again the pathological sense of difference between the British and the French, more specifically between the Protestant and
...more
Nancy
Villette lacks the fire and passion of Jane Eyre.
Since we already know this is a fictionalized version of Charlotte Bronte's time in Brussels where she had some sort of relationship with the professor she worked for, this may be the reason for the tameness.
There are many similarities in the characters of Jane Eyre and Lucy Snowe in that they are orphans, they are loners, they yearn for love and, for much of the book, they love from afar with no hope of reciprocation. Villette is a colder boo
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Kim
Dec 23, 2011 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook

For a very long time I've thought that the only Bronte novel I would ever really like is Jane Eyre. I am very pleased to have put that idea to the challenge and proven myself wrong.

Villette is not an easy novel. To start with, like so many Victorian novels it is dense and slow moving, particularly in the middle section. The plot could be summed up in a single paragraph and no opportunity is lost to take a page to say what could be said in a single sentence. The narrative is heavily reliant on c
...more
Cindy Newton
I'm not sure how to write a review for this book--I don't think I'm even qualified to. Yes, I read it, but not as well as it deserved. I went into it lightly, assuming that it was a weaker, watered-down, inferior version of Jane Eyre. By the end, I realized that this book is a force unto itself. The force of this book is subtle, though; it doesn't smack you between the eyes, but rather creeps up on you stealthily, winding almost invisible tentacles around your consciousness, catching you up into ...more
Kressel Housman
Apr 06, 2008 Kressel Housman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bronte fans, women, lovers of classics
Jane Eyre is one of my lifetime favorites. Every now and then, I take it off my bookshelf just to re-read my favorite scenes. So when I learned that Charlotte Bronte connoisseurs consider Villette her masterpiece, I was actually reluctant to try it. I didn’t want my favorite to get dethroned! But I didn’t deny myself the pleasure, and I was richly rewarded. Jane Eyre and Villette now share the throne quite comfortably.

I’ll admit that Villette has some very slow sections. The early scenes of the
...more
Anne
Actual rating: 4.5 stars.

No mockery in this world ever sounds to me so hollow as that of being told to cultivate happiness. What does such advice mean? Happiness is not a potato, to be planted in mould, and tilled with manure. Happiness is a glory shining far down upon us out of Heaven. She is a divine dew which the soul, on certain of its summer mornings, feels dropping upon it from the amaranth bloom and golden fruitage of Paradise.

Villette revolves around the lonely and orphaned Lucy Snowe,
...more
Apatt
Jan 28, 2015 Apatt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
According to The Telegraph Charlotte Brontë’s Villette is better than her best known work Jane Eyre. This bold declaration alone put Villette in my reading list because Jane Eyre really is one of the best books I ever had the pleasure of reading. Having just read Villette I have to disagree with the Telegraph’s columnist, I should have known better, goddam hyperboles. Villette is a fictional city in France, the novel is somewhat autobiographical in that it is partly based on Brontë’s experience ...more
Katherine
This book alternated between being frustrating and interesting. Charlotte Bronte has written some lovely lyrical passages but something oddly inconsistent happens with the protagonist, Lucy Snowe, and the two men in the book who are supposedly fashioned after love-interests from Charlotte's own life. It's as if Charlotte was hesitant or found it difficult to pin down the characters in her own mind. Perhaps a struggle between reality and fiction? At any rate there are some strange inconsistencies ...more
Cphe
Mar 03, 2016 Cphe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those those classics that I've always felt that I should read at some stage. The time never appeared to be the "right" time to meet the fiercely independent Lucy Snowe.

I loved the tone, the characters the setting, the prose. At first I was a bit miffed as the ending was quite ambiguous and that may not appeal to some readers. It's left up to the reader to make up their own mind as to the outcome. On reflection I felt that the ending suited the story and it really couldn't have bee
...more
Donna
Aug 12, 2008 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I know I should prefer this book to Jane Eyre. But I don't. So sue me. Or I didn't when I read it. Years ago. Many years. Like twenty. Maybe I've matured. Or... you know... not. I do recall that by the end of Villette I was deeply tired of being around Lucy, wanted to push GF into the mud, & longed to see the grotesque M. Paul nibbled to death by fierce French chipmunks. If that means I'm not a serious person, well, so be it.
Dolors
Mar 17, 2013 Dolors rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
Who said the only good novel by Brontë was Jane Eyre? This one has more into it that our timeless heroine, some say it's a biographical book, and if it is...Charlotte I admire you even more than before!
Priyanka
Feb 26, 2015 Priyanka rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Charlotte Brontë was progressive in her beliefs and has bravely contradicted society through her writing. In Villette, Charlotte Brontë has weaved a tale of Victorian repression, loneliness, despair, hardships, disappointment, physical pain from emotional turmoil, and hope - that has seldom been so lucidly articulated. Characteristic of some other works by Brontë sisters, the narration is filled with a borderline gothic atmosphere.

Lucy Snowe is not a typical run-of-the-mill protagonist. Althoug
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Charlotte Brontë was a British novelist, the eldest out of the three famous Brontë sisters whose novels have become standards of English literature. See also Emily Brontë and Anne Brontë.

Charlotte Brontë was born in Thornton, Yorkshire, England, the third of six children, to Patrick Brontë (formerly "Patrick Brunty"), an Irish Anglican clergyman, and his wife, Maria Branwell. In April 1820 the fam
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“I believe in some blending of hope and sunshine sweetening the worst lots. I believe that this life is not all; neither the beginning nor the end. I believe while I tremble; I trust while I weep.” 190 likes
“No mockery in this world ever sounds to me so hollow as that of being told to cultivate happiness. What does such advice mean? Happiness is not a potato, to be planted in mould, and tilled with manure. Happiness is a glory shining far down upon us out of Heaven. She is a divine dew which the soul, on certain of its summer mornings, feels dropping upon it from the amaranth bloom and golden fruitage of Paradise.” 152 likes
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