I found this book compelling. The way the author's personality and ideas came through was extremely interesting. I could relate to Lucy Snowe - or Cha...moreI found this book compelling. The way the author's personality and ideas came through was extremely interesting. I could relate to Lucy Snowe - or Charlotte Bronte - and I felt for her. Still, I have to admit that I read through some of the psychological symbolism quite quickly. Also, some of her notions were quite dark. The book often had a desperate undertone; happiness would never come her way, it would give a promise but just slip away.
But Ms Bronte is excused, for this must be her real experience. It must have been frustrating to live so confined a life. Reading Bronte, I really feel my luck as a modern (western) woman. I'm relatively free to live in the way that I want, choosing the profession I like. And my singleness does not diminish me in the eyes of the society. Also, after reading biographical material, it seems evident that the suffering of mind that Lucy Snowe experienced, was something that was very familiar to Ms Bronte herself. Even the desperate expectation of a letter from an admired man was autobiographical.
I was quite relieved when the mystery of the nun was revealed. I would have been greatly disappointed if Ms Bronte had given so much way to gothic horror as to allow a ghost story. To me it would have been a contradiction with her - I believe - genuine christianity. I still thought she took the weather too seriously at times, assuming it might foretell things. But perhaps this was Lucy Snowe's thinking, not Bronte's.
I have now read all three of Charlotte Bronte's major works. Jane Eyre was readable to me already as a teenager. It's a lively book in a sophisticated way, an outburst of youthful dreams written by an extraordinary talent. And we do notice the "feminism". But Jane Eyre is more unrealistic than her two following books.
Shirley is a peaceful story with a steady pace, and I find it happiest of all three. But it does not have the some personal touch as the other two.
Villette came closest to my heart. Lucy Snowe's (really Bronte's, I believe) search for love and her place in life was something I could very much relate to. Even if it was a bit more melancholy than I'd prefer. Villette is passionate like Jane Eyre and realistic like Shirley. I don't wonder at it's being said to be the most complete of her works.(less)
I'm currently using this as my primary Bible study tool. The notes are most useful and I appreciate the accuracy of the translation. I'm happy to have...moreI'm currently using this as my primary Bible study tool. The notes are most useful and I appreciate the accuracy of the translation. I'm happy to have found this volume.(less)