Villette (Annotated)

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  1. VILLETTE: Annotated
  2. VILLETTE: Annotated by Charlotte Brontë
  3. Product details

Villette is not such a short book. I am not the greatest at writing book reviews, so I will just say that Villette is an excellent book, but you shouldn't expect it to be just like Jane Eyre, although there are several parallels. It's less about plot than it is about the secretive narrator's mind.

I took a break halfway through because it was very dense and slow going but I'm glad I read it. Mallory Ortberg's Introduction is also excellent and shed new light on the book for me. The cover art is lovely, a violet metallic on that cream pebbly paper, and the pages have deckle edges.

However, large portions of the book are in French with no English translation given. I really don't understand why they didn't include the English translations for the French conversations in footnotes. Even endnotes would have been helpful. I was quite disappointed at that. If I had known about the lack of English translations, I wouldn't have bought this edition. I'm not going to return the book since I did like it, but I wanted to warn you.

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Amazon Advertising Find, attract, and engage customers. Amazon Drive Cloud storage from Amazon. Our existence is of much self and little other, for if we must cluster our many sensibilities under a single roof, we will choose a room of our own. Our self-appraisals keep us safe, secure, a well measured freedom in the functions of a perfectly plotted daily life. Our souls cry, and cry, and cry, for we have not yet found the permanent satisfaction that such an existence promises. We of the careful cravings and hesitant urges, the hard won realizations and fierce practices, present to you on rare occasions.

Our passions are few and foremost, for if we believe ourselves the bearer of any kind of talent, we cling to it as a ballast of temporal assurance. Our works keep us a measure of the past, future, a present that without such doings would slip into the void of useless persistence.

Our praxis heeds neither standard nor accreditation, and thus we are admired, and thus we are condemned. We of the observant eye and sardonic grin, the quickening wit and sober analysis, say to you, beware! Our modus operandi is an invisible seething, for if we name our most finely tuned instinct, it is the instantaneous measure of irony of any and all. Our entertainment keeps us amused in parts, and fully familiarized with the discordant pomposity of reality in others.

Ignorance is bliss, a garden from which we were banished long ago, forevermore to discontentedly mock and claw ourselves bloody on our own eternal hypocrisies. We of the accumulated being and carved out philosophy, the chaotic incorporations and weathered discombobulations, forbid you the ease of category. Our mind is our own and ours alone, for if we hold ourselves to any creed, we demand it change with our every breath and drop of blood.

Our sustenance keep us alive, and woe to any who choose only between spitting us out and swallowing us whole. It is lonely, here, but nowhere else will let us be. We of the experienced heart and cautious brain, the creeping desire and subtle attractions, set you at a distance. Our love knows itself very well, for if there is one thing it characterizes itself by, it is the painfully slow and all encompassing spread of loyalty incarnate. Our self very rarely finds another it can devote itself to, and knows itself too tightly reined to come to any foolish end.

We bury our seeds too deeply, and their strangling growths are doomed to die without a trace of reciprocating sun. And so, we denizens of 'Villette' bid you adieu. We are a small, strange, and sad sort, and our weirdly warped self-censures are likely to accrue as life goes on. Much more likely to build up into an age old oubliette within which we quietly fade to our own ends, than to erode. However, if you are patient, and you do care, we may come out again.

We take long in developing affection, and even longer in feeling confident to bestow such affections unlooked for, but if you seek us out and encourage from us the same, who knows. We will still be mindful of all the rest, but perhaps, yes. We will come out to play. This trickery changed the way I was reading. 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 me. View all 3 comments. I felt like it was almost semi-autobiographical in nature. But it's still not in the same league with Jane Eyre, which will forever be considered Bronte's masterpiece. But in my opinion Jane Eyre is the gold standard of classic English literature. But still, I give Villette 4 stars, certainly worth reading. 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.

When you finish her books, you feel like you've been through so much, even though all you've been doing is to sit in your couch and read. I must admit that this book has its weak spots and dragging descriptions which were nonetheless beautiful and fascinating! Eso hizo que me guste mucho la novela. John, el soberbio profesor Emannuel y la directora Mme. 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 I'm not sure how to write a review for this book--I don't think I'm even qualified to.

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 the story before you know you've been caught. Like its protagonist, Lucy Snowe, it lurks quietly, just watching; also like Lucy, the story has a hidden power. The story is the semi-autobiographical tale of Charlotte Bronte's unrequited love for her professor. The main character, Lucy Snowe, is an English orphan who flees England for the hope of adventure and a better life.

She ends up in Villette, a fictional town that represents Brussels, where she takes a position in a girls' school as a teacher. She suffers an unrequited passion for one man, but ends by falling in love with another, who is ultimately a much better match for her. Lucy is telling the story, but we are still kept in the dark quite a bit as she proves to be an unreliable narrator. Her refusal to acknowledge certain truths about herself, even to herself, helps to keep her audience confused and mystified by events. All in all, I think this is a book that has hidden depths, and I feel that my own assumptions caused me to miss some of these layers of meaning.

I need a re-read to really appreciate all that is there.


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When will that be? I have no idea, but I won't be able to do the book justice until then. View all 4 comments.

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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 [into mature, independent stability that is not without implied or clear, if you view it so tragedy hide spoiler ]. One has to remember while reading this that certain prejudices of Cathol edited this with some expanding thoughts: One has to remember while reading this that certain prejudices of Catholic religion from a British protestant point of view appear in the text, but it's not so heavy that I couldn't finish it, and it's somewhat in the background.

This book shows also yet again what a great mind and later what a great loss we had in Charlotte Bronte. Reading this I found myself rooting for her survival, her independence and stability of mind there's one rather hallucinatory scene in one chapter. I also found the writing tight no feel of 'needs to be shorter' yet with great moods. I enjoyed this book all the way, and will read it again. View all 10 comments. 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 Villette lacks the fire and passion of Jane Eyre. Villette is a colder book because I believe Charlotte Bronte was trying to put her real life love behind her by writing it out.

I think it was done out of sadness, depression and loneliness and she built a wall between herself, her characters and her readers. There is such a thread of "this doesn't really matter" running through it that it is hard to become close to the characters or care very much about what happens to them.

If they don't care, why should we? Villette also lacks the pace of Jane Eyre and plods through dreary days with long, boring musings and moralizing. I got weary of the sermons. It was as if Bronte wrote anything that came into her mind, avoiding the crux of the situation. When in Brussels, she fell in love with a married man, had no hope of ever having a life with him and returned home to Yorkshire alone and miserable.

Then she tried to write a book with a "so what" attitude and that didn't work for me. I just checked the reviews posted before mine, and feel like a salmon swimming upstream. So, so different from my Jane Eyre. But different is good too. 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.

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VILLETTE: Annotated

But it was only for a short while. Then she grows up we don't know anything about the years in between from her — we just know that she had a difficult life that she had to work and nurse an old wom This book is dark, dark; even darker than any existentialist novel I have ever read, and how true and realistic. Then she grows up we don't know anything about the years in between from her — we just know that she had a difficult life that she had to work and nurse an old woman she travels to another city, Villette, alone, where they speak French.

She becomes an English teacher. But it was not as easy as those summary lines. She is alone, no family, no money. She has to live on her own feet; she must work not for humanity and helping other people, not morality…to have a roof above her head. What makes this book dark?? Loneliness, solitude, broken heart and the price of freedom. The freedom of expressing yourself, the freedom of being your own self, not just putting a mask on your face, a mask of a "beautiful woman" , pretend to be a lover and always remain a dependent creature.

Independence is necessary, but this is suffering. How can you be "a woman of intellect" and still be loved?? And perhaps if you had a wealthy father you could have the chance of seducing men who besides beauty a most essential factor they would die for your money too. You can't breathe in a place where you only have to work, where they steal love from you, it is a prison…you need a change, you are strong. This book is amazing. My third and final Charlotte Bronte from the list, although Jane Eyre , which I read as a teenager is probably due for a re-read especially as although I enjoyed it I didn't really 'really' like it and I've been thinking that I should probably give it another chance as it were.

I was reconsidering this after having read Shirley not so long ago, as I thought that novel pretty mediocre really, but Villette has raised Charlotte in my estimation even though it might be as good as it is because i My third and final Charlotte Bronte from the list, although Jane Eyre , which I read as a teenager is probably due for a re-read especially as although I enjoyed it I didn't really 'really' like it and I've been thinking that I should probably give it another chance as it were.

I was reconsidering this after having read Shirley not so long ago, as I thought that novel pretty mediocre really, but Villette has raised Charlotte in my estimation even though it might be as good as it is because it has been the culmination of a life of writing and has a great deal of personal emotion woven into the text. Rather unusual all things considered. Lucy Snow, an orphan without friends or relations, travels to France to seek some sort of post to enable her to earn enough to live on.

Lucy is an unusual woman, there is a lot to admire in her, her desire to be independent and her quiet morality, but she is also cold and frequently harshly judgemental of those around her. I actually find a great resemblance between Lucy Snow and Fanny Price in Mansfield Park a comparison which Charlotte might find odious as she didn't much care for Jane Austen's books. Lucy carries a great deal of pain and unhappiness inside of her but as readers we are mostly led to guess at her history for ourselves based on inference as Lucy herself remains nearly universally private about her past.

And also her present. Lucy in fact very rarely offers any direct insights into her thoughts and feelings, she supresses and represses everything that she can. The loneliness and air of depression which hangs like a cloud above the orphaned Lucy is one of the things which has me class this as a 'Gothic' book, although strictly speaking it's not.

There are a lot of Gothic elements but they have mostly all been twisted around to rather mock at the standard tropes instead of enforcing them. Gothic features from the Wikipedia pages: Virginal Maiden - Technically this does apply to Lucy Snow and she certainly does have a great deal of the vulnerable about her but I think that the mantle of 'Virginal Maiden' falls more readily onto the shoulders of one of the two other main maidens - view spoiler [ Polly.

After all she ends up with the 'Hero' and she is beautiful and far more perfectly suited than plain and introverted Lucy. Although actually very clever and business like she is rendered somewhat ridiculous by her machinations and secretive spying manner. Hero - Here we have the handsome and charming view spoiler [Dr. Devoted to his mother, kind natured and industrious, clearly the perfect hero. Except that in actual fact he's rather stupidly infatuated with an unworthy woman, often heartless and occasionally cruel in his self absorption.

But he's good looking, so obviously he's the hero and he'll end up with the beautiful and virtuous maiden in accepted trope fashion. But underneath all of his crotchets and tempests he is a kindly and decent man who likes Lucy very much and wishes to be friends with her. Bandits and Ruffians - We don't see many of those but on Lucy's travels to France she runs into many characters who cheat her. She also has an encounter with two men on the streets of Villette who scare her so badly that she loses her way. She later encounters these 'two ruffians' and discovers that they are respected professors.

Clergy - As a respectable protestant in ungodly and heretical catholic France Lucy is subject to conversion attempts which she finds foolish and tiresome. She forms a connection of sorts with a Jesuit priest who acts occasionally in underhanded way; unfortunately he doesn't descend into full on malicious villainy and there is no suggestion of Satanic Worship. Setting - Rather than an isolated monastery or castle, Lucy finds herself in a girls school. It certainly has walls but she is free to leave at any time.

All Gothic Heroines must suffer isolation and imprisonment but in Villette the true imprisoning lies inside her own head as Lucy battles the demons of depression and lack of self-worth. As well as all of these we can throw in a smattering of the supernatural with the legend of the ghostly nun who still walks the school. Obviously silly superstition - or is it? A great read, I highly enjoyed it and even forgave the numerous ridiculous coincidences which were worthy of Dickens.

Jul 02, Captain Sir Roddy, R. I cry in anguish, "Oh Villette , Villette , Villette! You see, and write of, the Love around you, but feel the throbbing ache, day after day, night after night, of never receivin I cry in anguish, "Oh Villette , Villette , Villette! You see, and write of, the Love around you, but feel the throbbing ache, day after day, night after night, of never receiving Love in return. This novel, this Villette , like an arrow fletched fair, flew true, oh so true, and pierced your beating heart; and from that mortal wound poured the secrets of your soul, your inner-most being; laid bare for all to see.

VILLETTE: Annotated by Charlotte Brontë

The incalculable loss of your older sisters, then Branwell, your dearest Emily, and finally quiet little Anne. This towering testament to loneliness, to sorrow, swept me, your Reader, relentlessly through the unimagined torrent of your human emotions—your grief, your fears, your reserved passion, your quiet grace, steadfast loyalty, and your resolute strength and faith. I felt guilty as I read, Little Woman, looking over my shoulder at every pause; afraid that you should find me picking the lock of your secret diary; spellbound as I turned the pages, one after the other, reading your most intimate, personal, and painful thoughts and the passionate feelings that poured forth onto the page.

Intensely captivated by the dialog between your Passion and your Reason, the conversations between your Imagination and your Matter; but I read on. Until it became too much; I averted my eyes, and I wept. As I sit here, writing these words, I am absolutely overwhelmed. In fire and in blood do we trace the record throughout nature. In fire and in blood does it cross our own experience. Sufferer, faint not through terror of this burning evidence. Tired wayfarer, gird up thy loins, look upward, march onward. Pilgrims and brother mourners, join in friendly company.

Dark through the wilderness of this world stretches the way for most of us; equal and steady be our tread; be our cross our banner. A pesar de eso, la historia es buena, aunque es cierto que decae en algunos pasajes. I would also like to sit down with the person who wrote the introduction and talked about how Villette is so much better than Jane Eyre. I would like to speak to this person about their drug habit, and how it's affecting their work performance. And WHY have so many of my friends given this book 5 stars?

Now, as some of you may know, I love Jane Eyre. It is without a doubt in my top ten books of all time. And I love it not because of the romance, but because I love Jane. Jane is not afraid to speak her mind. Jane is not afraid to seek out love. Jane is not afraid to say, I respect myself too damn much to be your mistress, even though you are a sexy beast and I want you.

Jane is an artist. Jane is a loyal friend. Villette is about Lucy Snowe. Lucy Snowe doesn't talk a lot. Years worth of stuff happens to her and she goes, Meh, well, that was a thing. Lucy is easily irritated by people, and enjoys being alone which I did appreciate , and Lucy is much put upon by people who sort of use her and abuse her, take advantage of her retiring nature, send her letters and buy her gowns when they remember her, drop her when they are busy with other people.

Lucy likes walking around in gardens, and she's fine. I was okay with all of this. It wasn't better than Jane Eyre, but it was okay. A guy who constantly harps on her clothes, and tells her that she should wear dull colors and no jewelry because she isn't meant for such things. A guy who insults her intelligence, treats her like a child or a pet, spies on her, steals from her, mocks her in public. A guy who rages at her and calls her a slut for exchanging letters with a male friend. This man is the most horrible of all the horrible people who surround Lucy, and I am extremely upset that she didn't tell him not to let the door hit him on his badly dressed, cigar-smelling ass as he left.

View all 14 comments. 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, because she does not seek to be understood, not by us nor by anyone else.

She seeks always to appear smaller, not because she enjoys being ignored, because she has found being human-sized altogether too painful to endure. She has no hope of power of pleasing, but this does not mean she has stopped wishing that she had it. The first few chapters and the protagonist, Lucy Snowe, never really captured and held my attention. I ended up finishing it by listening to the audiobook and reading along.

But then the ending blindsided me, and the introduction, which I read afterwards, made me cry. I recall my great love for Jane Eyre happened after I reread it. And I feel my love for Villette can only grow. Lucy and Jane are very much alike, but Lucy is far more real than Jane. Lucy is solely concerned with survival and often succumbs to despair.

She only rarely allows herself to daydream about the thing Jane craves: Lucy never asks for love; she has only known grief and does not want to go through another unnecessary bout caused by the loss of it. I very much see parts of myself in Lucy and feel very kindred to her, especially since my days far more closely resemble Lucy's than they will ever Jane's, with all their excitement and promises. Lucy's story doesn't reward you for listening to it, but there are rewards to be found in listening to Lucy Snowe. I think, on the whole, I will always find the first part of Villette a slog to overcome.

There is a lot of the French language and many new, unlikable characters to meet and hear about, and many unsettling settings to discover. During the first part, too, we barely get a chance to understand Lucy, who she is, how she functions. She makes an effort to hide herself from the reader. During the rereading, I saw through a few things that Lucy intended to hide from the reader, and I looked on a couple male characters differently - oppositely - than I did when reading it for the first time.

I enjoyed knowing I knew Lucy better than she perhaps wanted me to. Overall, however, Villette is not a happy book. Lucy is not a happy person and her life is not easy or full of pleasurable things. She's an outsider most of the time and is rarely, truly a part of someone else's life. This is a book about the pains of solitude, unrequited love and unfulfilled love.

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It is full of unwelcoming characters and places. It is a story that desperately tries to keep you at arm's length. But after all that, Lucy feels like a friend. One day this will get a true 5 stars from me - when I find enjoyment in the first part of the novel. Until then I will continue to reread Villette and never forget Lucy Snowe. When compared to Jane Eyre , this novel seems often pronounced the more mature work of Charlotte Bronte. It is later in the book that she meets Edward Weston and soon realizes she is in love with him. The book is short and the plot is straightforward with very few twists and turns.

Like Agnes, it wastes no time on frivolities but gets right to the point. Charlotte Bronte's "Villette" is the sixth book I have read by the Bronte sisters, the third by Charlotte, and you would think by now that I could not be anymore amazed by their brilliance than I was previously but, once again, that was not the case.

Lucy Snowe, like Ms. Bronte's Jane Eyre, is a character whose appeal and inquisitiveness sets the stage for an analytic and intrusive insight into a society where an ambitious and smart woman's place in the workforce is still an unacceptable and alien concept, unless the woman's ambition is limited to being a servant, a governess, or a teacher. This is a very long novel and it is the type of book that should be read carefully and patiently, and more than once.

It has so much to offer and it simply overflows with brilliance and reawakens many of our dreams and desires that we might have long ago forgotten but we should never have buried. This is an absolutely wonderful edition of what Virginia W thought was Charlotte B's finest book. For my part it is troubling my previous preference for Emily's work, and I am amazed it took me so long to find. The edition has a pretty and pretty sturdy cloth cover, an introduction containing some commentary and biographical material, a chronology, a glossary containing mostly words I know and a few I didn't , a list of textual emendations, and copious notes including translations of the phrases in French that sometimes occur.

As for the novel, the typeface is pleasant enough in its shape, and adequately sized for average eyes. That factor is why I recommend this particular edition. Since the text is in the public domain, a number of hardly readable, slapdash texts are hawked. Regardless of what you select, I suggest checking the number of pages. Or read it with an e-reader, if you're inured to that approach. Villette is not such a short book. I am not the greatest at writing book reviews, so I will just say that Villette is an excellent book, but you shouldn't expect it to be just like Jane Eyre, although there are several parallels.

It's less about plot than it is about the secretive narrator's mind. I took a break halfway through because it was very dense and slow going but I'm glad I read it. Mallory Ortberg's Introduction is also excellent and shed new light on the book for me. The cover art is lovely, a violet metallic on that cream pebbly paper, and the pages have deckle edges. However, large portions of the book are in French with no English translation given. I really don't understand why they didn't include the English translations for the French conversations in footnotes. Even endnotes would have been helpful.

I was quite disappointed at that.