On Sale: October 9, 2001
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"Villette! Villette! Have you read it?" exclaimed George
Eliot when Charlotte BrontÃÂ«'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 BrontÃÂ«'s most refined and deeply felt work,
Villette draws on her profound loneliness following the
deaths of her three siblings. Lucy Snowe, the narrator of
Villette,flees from an unhappy past in England to begin a
new file as a teacher at a French boarding school in the
great cosmopolitan capital of Villette. Soon Lucy's struggle
for independence is overshadowed by both her freindship with
a wordly English doctor and her feelings for an autocratic
schoolmaster. BrontÃÂ«'s strikingly modern heroine must decide
if there is any man in her society with whom she can live
and still be free.
"Villette is an amazing book," observed novelist Susan
Fromberg Schaeffer. "Written before psychoanalysis came into
being, Villette is nevertheless a psychoanalytic workÃ¢â¬âa
psychosexual study of its heroine, Lucy Snowe. Written
before the philosophy of existentialism was formulated, the
novel's view of the world can only be described as
existential. . . . Today it is read and discussed more
intensely than Charlotte BrontÃÂ«'s other novels, and many
critics now beleive it to be a true master-piece, a work of
genius that more than fulfilled the promise of Jane Eyre."
Indeed, Virginia Woolf judged Villette to be BrontÃÂ«'s
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