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The Life of Charlotte Brontë
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The Life of Charlotte Bronte > Week 5 - Overall Impressions

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message 1: by Anastasia Kinderman, The Only (last edited May 03, 2015 06:22AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anastasia Kinderman | 654 comments Mod
Overall impressions and general discussion of the book go here.


Anastasia Kinderman | 654 comments Mod
After finishing this book do you feel that you've gotten to know Charlotte better? Do you feel this was a well-rounded and fair portrait of her?


Ginny (burmisgal) | 190 comments In the conclusion, Mrs. Gaskell says: "I have written it with the strong desire to obtain appreciation for her." Well, it worked for me. I am almost overwhelmed with a new appreciation and respect for Charlotte Bronte. Her brilliant and perceptive analysis, time after time, of the work of her contemporaries was a complete revelation to me. I have read only Jane Eyre, but will definitely read her other novels with a different and higher expectations.

I agree with Mrs. Gaskell--given more time and resources, Charlotte Bronte would have continued to refine her skills and perceptions of the world and created more wonderful books. Just imagine if she and Ellen could have lived comfortably together in a caring and supportive household, interacting with the writers and other artists of the time, who were certainly interested in knowing Charlotte. A tragedy indeed.


Sara (phantomswife) I agree. I have resolved to read a more scholarly biography and see what Mrs. Gaskell might have chosen not to tell us, but I feel strongly that Charlotte must have been a remarkable person to have moved so much admiration and loyalty in those who knew her. I suspect that if Mrs. Gaskell was guilty of not divulging things, it would probably have been with regard to Branwell and not Charlotte herself.

If nothing else, this biography has inspired me to waste no more time in tackling Charlotte's other writings. I am ashamed that I have let so many years go by without reading anything other than Jane Eyre, and that when Jane is such a favorite novel of mine. I think it is nice, however, to know that I have at least two previously undiscovered adventures ahead of me.


message 5: by Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ (last edited Nov 27, 2015 09:11PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 370 comments I think I did have an unsuccessful go at Villette. Definitely Charlotte's sisters' Wuthering Heights & Agnes Grey. Jane Eyre was a favourite though.

Parts of this I enjoyed, parts dragged. & while I think Branwell needed a really good kick up the behind, his father was also one selfish man!

I loved Charlotte's letters. I would like to read more although I think I was lucky with my edition which had very good appendices (sp) a timeline, a chiding of EG for not taking more effort to read Charlotte's youthful writings & theories on the reasons for the Brontes' poor health. & it was well illustrated.

I haven't done my review yet but I'm thinking 3.5 stars.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 315 comments Carol, what went wrong with Villette?


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 370 comments Oh boy Andrea that was about 40 years ago! I think I was simply too young/immature for a lot of the classics I attempted. I think I just couldn't get a toe hold in at all.

I forgot to mention that like Sara & Ginny I will try another biography of CB at some point.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 315 comments I read Villette last yr with this group and was very cranky about it during the reading of it.


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 370 comments Heh! Did you write a review?

*Carol raids Andrea's shelves*


message 10: by Alexa (new)

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 435 comments We had a great discussion of Villette - unfortunately it was right in the middle of it that our old group crashed - Anastasia saved a lot of the discussion here: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/group...


message 11: by Alexa (new)

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 435 comments Also, if you go down to the bottom of the group's home page and click on "view" next to the picture of Villette under the "Bookshelf" section you can see all of the reviews of anyone in this group. (Sorry if everybody already knew that!)


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 370 comments Alexa wrote: "Also, if you go down to the bottom of the group's home page and click on "view" next to the picture of Villette under the "Bookshelf" section you can see all of the reviews of anyone in this group...."

Thanks Alexa - I'm still finding my way around here, so that is good to know!


message 13: by Anastasia Kinderman, The Only (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anastasia Kinderman | 654 comments Mod
It basically took me six months but I have finally finished this book! It was slow going but I feel that I know CB better now and have a lot of respect for her. She was a wise woman and (believe it or not) someone who appears to have been more introverted than I am!

That being said, this biography makes me nervous about reading anything by Gaskell. She comes across as unnecessarily wordy and I think this book could have easily lost a 100 pages without compromising its content.


message 14: by Alexa (new)

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 435 comments Congratulations on slogging through!


message 15: by Sara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sara (phantomswife) Anastasia wrote: "It basically took me six months but I have finally finished this book! It was slow going but I feel that I know CB better now and have a lot of respect for her. She was a wise woman and (believe it..."

I didn't find this one that difficult and it made me want to read Villette. Villette was what almost killed me...I was so glad when it was over.


message 16: by Alexa (new)

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 435 comments Villette was a really interesting read for me. I absolutely hated it the first time I read it, and (many years later) absolutely loved it the second time I read it.


message 17: by Anastasia Kinderman, The Only (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anastasia Kinderman | 654 comments Mod
Alexa wrote: "Villette was a really interesting read for me. I absolutely hated it the first time I read it, and (many years later) absolutely loved it the second time I read it."

Do you think that's because you're older and have had enough experiences to be able to appreciate it?

Did CB finish writing Villette or not? I was confused, Gaskell didn't make that clear.


message 18: by Alexa (new)

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 435 comments I wasn't aware there was any question about it - it certainly reads like a finished work.

I think the second time I read it I slowed down and looked more at the nuances. The first time I read it I was looking at it as thinly-disguised autobiography and was just appalled at the way she treated her acquaintances.


message 19: by Sara (last edited Nov 29, 2015 07:44AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sara (phantomswife) Anastasia wrote: "Alexa wrote: "Villette was a really interesting read for me. I absolutely hated it the first time I read it, and (many years later) absolutely loved it the second time I read it."

Do you think tha..."


I do think it was a completely finished book. I got no sense that anything was left unsaid.

Alexa--my hat is off to you for getting through it twice. If I missed anything, it will remain missed forever. I found Lucy a very unlikeable person, which surprised me since she is, as you say, autobiographical, and I thought I might like Charlotte quite well judging from Gaskell's biography.


message 20: by Alexa (new)

Alexa (AlexaNC) | 435 comments In general, I agree with you! With so many wonderful books in the world, and so little time, why should we waste any rereading books we already hated the first time through?!


message 21: by Anastasia Kinderman, The Only (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anastasia Kinderman | 654 comments Mod
Well near the end it said she finished Villette and sent off the manuscript but later it made mention of Villette being unfinished. It was a run-on sentence though so maybe I got confused and misread it.


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