Every summer, I tackle a classic that's been on my shelf for too long. This year, it was Villette by Charlotte Bronte. Similar to Jane Eyre, the protagonist Lucy Snowe has no fortune. But rather than become a governess, Lucy travels to the fictional town of Villette to take up a post as an English teacher. Charlotte Bronte taught English abroad and Villette is widely considered her most autobiographical work. While slow to start, this book left me wanting more. Bronte writes about a complex woman trying to navigate depression and loneliness in an oppressive social framework. By the end, I felt like I knew Lucy and it was hard to pull myself out of her world.
— From Halley
"I am only just returned to a sense of real wonder about me, for I have been reading Villette..." --George Eliot
With neither friends nor family, Lucy Snowe sets sail from England to find employment in a girls' boarding school in the small town of Villette. There she struggles to retain her self-possession in the face of unruly pupils, an initially suspicious headmaster, and her own complex feelings, first for the school's English doctor and then for the dictatorial professor, Paul Emmanuel. Charlotte Bronte's last and most autobiographical novel is a powerfully moving study of isolation and the pain of unrequited love, narrated by a heroine determined to preserve an independent spirit in the face of adverse circumstances.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
I am only just returned to a sense of real wonder about me, for I have been reading Villette... (George Eliot)"