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Villette is the story of Lucy Snow, a teacher at an all-girls boarding school in Belgium who finds herself caught up in her students' romances, reunited with old friends, and searching for a love of her own. Exploring themes of gender roles, repression, isolation, and religion, Villette is best known for following Lucy's psychological state.
Villette, originally published using Charlotte Brontë's pseudonym Currer Bell, was reworked from her first novel The Professor after it was turned down by publishers, and reflects Brontë's own experiences as both a student and teacher at a boarding school. It has been adapted for radio and television, and inspired Jamaica Kincaid's 1990 novel Lucy.
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Bronte's finest novel. -- Virginia Woolf
"This edition of Villette gives readers the understanding necessary to fully enter what Kate Lawson and Lynn Shakinovsky call its 'demanding, sometimes punishing narrative mode.' Their introduction justifies and celebrates the gaps and evasions in the text as the 'heretic narrative' of a protagonist who does not always understand herself.
The useful appendices—notably on women and love, women and work, and anti-Catholicism—provide the historical material to contextualise the story. The edition admirably demonstrates that this paradoxical narrative—a domestic novel about work, a love story about repression, and a realist text that embraces the supernatural—repays and rewards close examination."-- Maggie Berg
"Kate Lawson's edition of Villette is expansive and precise, like the novel it contextualizes and introduces so well. Providing a rich analysis of the complex themes of the novel, the introduction at once acknowledges and limns the text's resistance to codification and carefully suggests the beautiful patterns in its seeming inconsistencies. The primary materials provide further context for the novel, particularly in regards to the 'Woman Question.' Arranged to be in dialogue with each other about this pivotal topic, these materials provide the background necessary for understanding the novel's involvement with those discussions." -- Gail Turley Houston
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