Monday, 14 May 2012

'Silence is of different kinds'


The New Governess
Thomas Ballard (1836 - 1908)

*****

Villette
Charlotte Bronte


'Villette' is a study of love by Lucy Snowe, the loneliest of heroines, who recounts her life and examines the relationships of the people around her.

Lucy observes the love of a son for his mother, a father for his daughter, the faithful love of the bereaved, devotion to God and the poisonous love of money. As the story develops a conventional courtship and marriage is contrasted with a surreptitious affair which ends in elopement. Every relationship is a source of sound and light but Lucy herself is a point of silence and darkness, alone and unloved even by God, and it is only at the end that she flares into incandescence.

It would spoil the story and the multiple plot twists to say more but I urge you to read it and find out for yourself. I was absorbed by this novel because Lucy has an emotional detachment from the society that she lives in which enables reader and protagonist to stand together looking in at the fascinating and surreal world of Villette.


*****

image sourced from Hermes
whose blog, British Paintings,
provides a daily source of inspiration.

10 comments:

  1. So much better than Jane Eyre, although maybe you have to be a bit older to appreciate it.

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  2. I last read this when I was 19 and have entirely forgotten the story... But you've inspired me to read it again. It's right here on the shelf beside me!

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  3. Never read this one. But will be looking for a copy. :) Ruth

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  4. Until a couple of weeks ago I'd never heard of this particular Bronte book - then it was an answer for a crossword my mum was doing and now you've mentioned it - how odd!

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  5. Thank you for the recommendation. I've never read it before.

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  6. We have a copy and I have never read it. Time to remedy that I think.

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  7. Last time I read it, we had just moved to Prague. Lucy's view felt eerily familiar. I think it's time for a reread, all these years later, thanks for the reminder!

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  8. 'A pink dress. I knew it not, it knew not me.' I've always preferred Villette to Jane Eyre. Lucy Snowe is a fascinating heroine.

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  9. I loved Villette and always wondered why it wasn't more famous. I,too, preferred it to Jane Eyre.

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  10. I'm reading a fascinating biography of the Bronte sisters, and Charlotte in particular, at the moment. I hadn't realised how much both Villette and The Professor reflected Charlotte's loneliness and isolation during her time living in Brussels - she really did live the most solitary life - having said all of that, I haven't read Villette in at least a decade, I think it might be time for a revisit...

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