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Villette

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3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  46,321 Ratings  ·  2,577 Reviews
"Villette! Villette! Have you read it?" exclaimed George Eliot when Charlotte Brontë'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 Brontë's most refined and deeply felt work, Villette draws on her profound loneliness following the deaths of her three siblings. Lucy Snowe, th
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Paperback, 573 pages
Published October 9th 2001 by Modern Library (first published 1853)
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Theresa I am re-reading it now, having first read it in my 20's. I liked it then but did not get nearly as much from it as I am now. In fact I love it,…moreI am re-reading it now, having first read it in my 20's. I liked it then but did not get nearly as much from it as I am now. In fact I love it, consider it by far the best Bronte novel of them all. \

It's a very slow read I find. The language is more sophisticated, with a wonderfully rich vocabulary, but the French passages slow me down - I read French easily but not as well as English of course. If there are annotated editions, do get one. I also find I'm looking up lots of references that would have been known to the original reading public, i.e. Timon as Ginevre calls Lucie that frequently. It slows you down but adds to the richness of the read. Since I'm reading it in ebook, it's simple to look up all the references and unfamiliar vocabulary.

It's a very rich story, with intriguing characters. Not as simple an arc as Jane Eyre. (less)

Community Reviews

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Ginny
Jan 19, 2008 Ginny rated it liked it
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
Feb 22, 2012 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
Jun 21, 2009 Tatiana rated it it was amazing
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
May 23, 2007 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
Elyse
Jan 07, 2015 Elyse rated it it was amazing
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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Heba
Sep 04, 2015 Heba rated it it was amazing
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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Henry Avila
Feb 04, 2017 Henry Avila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lucy Snowe, a plain -looking, quiet, 23-year- old, intelligent woman, in need of money, and help, ( stating it mildly) she has no family left in England, in an era, before Victoria, came to the throne, her godmother, Mrs. Bretton, who lived in a small town, ironically named Bretton, has moved to colossal London , with her handsome son John Graham, no way to find the widow there. Still Lucy is not without skill, she is a capable, resourceful, nevertheless almost destitute lady, gathering all her ...more
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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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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The Book Whisperer (aka 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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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
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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
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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
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7jane
Feb 13, 2014 7jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(edited this with some expanding thoughts:) The story of a woman half-forced to indenpendence, having to find her way in a foreign, largely Catholic country; to find a satisfying job and perhaps love. It's not a straight, clear road that she might've hoped for, but something that makes her grow (view spoiler).

One has to remember while reading this that certain prejudices of Cathol
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Mary
Dec 07, 2016 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2016
I really started to feel affection for Villette the first time Lucy Snowe tells the reader she knew something pivotal to the plot about six chapters ago but didn’t bother telling us. This trickery changed the way I was reading. Lucy Snowe was sneering at me and I hadn’t even noticed. I needed to pay attention! All those dark, brooding, anxious passages, the anguish, the loneliness…she only told us what she wanted us to know. A bitter, sly, dark, strong character. The ending sealed the deal for m ...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
helen the bookowl
Jul 12, 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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Simona Bartolotta
So, so different from my Jane Eyre. But different is good too.
Elham
Jul 24, 2015 Elham rated it it was amazing
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
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Magrat Ajostiernos
Feb 23, 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
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Catie
Jul 27, 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
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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April (Aprilius Maximus)
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
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Nancy
Mar 28, 2011 Nancy rated it it was ok
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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·Karen·
Warning: Discussion of the ending of the novel surely constitutes a spoiler.

"Who are you, Miss Snowe?"
"Who am I indeed? Perhaps a personage in disguise."


I applaud CB for holding out against her father, who wanted the conventional "happy" end for the novel, i.e. marriage, for what could possibly be happier, more fulfilling, more necessary to woman and man than to sail from stormy seas into that particular harbour? CB left the ending ambiguous, made the stormy sea such that the survival of the pro
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Kim
Dec 03, 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
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Bloodorange
Feb 04, 2017 Bloodorange rated it really liked it
I wonder what Charlotte Brontë’s project was, when she was writing this novel: the narrator is not unsympathetic, but she suspects the reader of being very much so. No wonder; so misjudged, so misread, by everyone around her, so unseen, so described in the moment of the greatest heartbreak:
...you have such nerves!—real iron and bend-leather! I believe you feel nothing. You haven't the same sensitiveness that a person of my constitution has. You seem to me insensible both to pain and fear and gri
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Amanda
Oct 26, 2016 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
"Forget the modern debate over 'likeable' female characters - Lucy is prickly, repressed, untrustworthy, unattractive, judgmental, in constant denial of her own feelings, desperate for affection, violently anti-Catholic - in short an IMPOSSIBLE female character. There are even times when not only Lucy but Bronte herself hides significant information about the other characters from the readers, often casually mentioning having withheld it long after the fact. She is difficult to sympathize with, ...more
James
Jan 18, 2017 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‘Villette’ is to an extent a semi autobiographical novel inspired at least in part by the time Charlotte Brontë spent in Brussels.

I understand that many, both currently and at the time of its initial publication (George Elliot being one of them) view ‘Villette’ as a greater literary achievement than the far more well-known and much revered ‘Jane Eyre’.

Whilst ‘Villette’ is cited by many as the pinnacle of Charlotte Brontë’s literary career, it is ‘Jane Eyre’ ironically that has been subsumed int
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Dr John and Paulina 6 96 Mar 11, 2017 12:08PM  
Did you find the ending appropriate? 38 489 Mar 07, 2017 03:20PM  
grimandgothly Boo...: July's read 3 5 Jul 20, 2016 05:25PM  
Ladies & Literature: * Official Winter Classics 2015 Discussion: Vilette 31 50 Jun 14, 2016 02:44PM  
Who Doesn't Love ...: Villette - Charlotte Bronte - 4 stars 1 8 May 03, 2016 08:25AM  
The Readers Revie...: C. Bronte-Villette: Chapters 37-end 23 37 Apr 14, 2016 04:51AM  
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1036615
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.” 210 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.” 180 likes
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