Villette by Charlotte Bronte (Chapters 1-5)

Having read nothing by Charlotte Bronte before, with the exception of Jane Eyre, I was eager to sign up for the Villette read-along hosted by Wallace of Unputdownables. The schedule is easy (five chapters a week) and the reading a delight. There is time for you to join in should you so choose.

The first five chapters give us an introduction to the following characters:

  • Lucy Snowe, our narrator
  • Mrs. Bretton, her godmother
  • Miss Paulina (Polly) Home, a precocious and diminutive six year old who is utterly charmed by
  • John Grahame, the sixteen year old son of Mrs. Bretton, and finally,
  • Miss Marchmont who hired Lucy to care for her infirmities.

After Miss Marchmont has died, before leaving Lucy any funds as hoped, Lucy takes herself to London which is a rather bold thing for such a humble woman to do.

All at once my position rose on me like a ghost. Anomalous; desolate, almost blank of hope, it stood. What was I doing here alone in great London? What should I do on the morrow? What prospects had I in life? What friends had I on earth? Whence did I come? Whither should I go? What should I do?

I wet the pillow, my arms, and my hair, with rushing tears. A dark interval of most bitter thought followed this burst; but I did not regret the step taken, nor wish to retract it. A strong, vague persuasion, that it would be better to go forward than backward, and that I could go forward-that a way, however narrow and difficult, would in time open, predominated over other feelings…

Shortly after this passage Chapter 5 comes to a close, leaving me with a deep admiration for Miss Lucy Snowe’s courage coupled with a deeper curiosity as to where her adventure will lead.

Every Thursday in February and March will contain a post over the subsequent five chapters of Villette. Check in here, or other participants’ blogs listed in Wallace’s post, to follow along. Unless you decide to read this novel with us. 😉

Advertisements

28 thoughts on “Villette by Charlotte Bronte (Chapters 1-5)”

  1. Mel, I completely agree! It's written so very well, there's nothing like the classics, and I love Charlotte and Emily Bronte's writing. I must admit I see parts of myself in Lucy; I wonder if that's a good thing?

    Like

  2. Oh you are in for such a treat. Villette is, arguably, better written and a much richer novel than Jane Eyre, though the lack of romance and the sheer misery of much of it makes it a less endearing novel in the reading imagination. I warn you now – this is an emotional investment. You will cry! Enjoy! I look forward to reading your thoughts as you read along.

    Like

  3. Oh, no, Rachel! I was afraid I might cry (being currently halfway through the novel), and now to have it confirmed!! Still, it is quite lovely. I am thoroughly enjoying it.Elizabeth, the pace for the read along is great, and I love having a venue in which to discuss a classic novel with others. I probably will finish it long before March, but I'm posting with 'scheduled' for the "due date".

    Like

  4. Oh dear, I hate when bloggers I follow are doing a readalong of a book I want to read but doesn't fit into my current schedule! How dare you make me so jealous!The Brontes do keep coming up in my life lately though. Maybe it's a sign.

    Like

  5. I love this passage, too, Whitney, particularly because it seems to indicate the kind of character Lucy Snowe has. One of courage and strength. I love seeing her unfold before our eyes.

    Like

  6. I agree that Lucy seems very courageous..and yet a bit reliant on outside, mystical forces to direct her. Like seeing the Aurora Borealis and deciding its a sign to head to London. She seems so cautious otherwise. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Like

  7. I'm very interested to see where Lucy goes now. She seems very independant and self-reliant, at least in order to find her next place & employment.I'm looking forward to sharing comments on our reading of Villette!

    Like

  8. Serena, I haven't thought of that "outside, mystical forces" aspect, but now that you mention it, it seems true. I noticed a lot of emotion is compared to weather which I posted about it for later chapters. Darla D, how nice to hear from you again! I'm really loving this book, too. I'd love it if you'd pop in again with your thoughts as we continue to work our way through it. I'll be by to visit you, too, of course, and see what you're up to these days.

    Like

  9. Amy, somehow I forgot to respond to your comment in mine above. It was so nice to visit your blog yesterday evening and see how much we have in common besides this particular read along. I'm looking forward to future conversations, too.

    Like

  10. Hi Bellezza, I'm beginning to think your more English, than Myself, aithough born & raised here, I've read &/or tried to read the Members of this family, & don't get it. But this may appeal to you,Frances Burney was a literary precursor to several prominent authors including the Brontes. Here's a link if your interestedhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frances_BurneyI don't know if you can access the BBC Iplayer in the USA, but if you can – BBC4 at 9pm (My time), are doing a series called Birth of the British Novel. Also before that there is a programme (8'30) called the beauty of books & that started with the , Codex Sinaiticus; the worlds oldest surviving Bible.Parrish.Ps. Am following on Twitter now.

    Like

  11. Thanks, Bellezza – I do stop in from time to time, but I've been so bad about commenting! If I weren't so backlogged in books I'd join you with this one – I do mean to reread it at some point.

    Like

  12. Parrish, thanks for the information/link to Frances Burney. I'll go look her up as she is new to me. I so love the classics, though, British, French, Russian (haven't come across too many Italian) all of them appeal to me. I wish I could find the BBC station. I used to have a link to Books At Bedtime, but I could only play it through my computer's link, not on a true radio. You are a plethora of information, my friend!Darla, no one could be worse at commenting than me. I have a post I'm drafting in my mind about communication/friendship because I feel so woefully defunct in this area.

    Like

  13. Agree with Rachel's comment. I found it a more 'mature' (i suppose you can say that) version of Jane Eyre. Less passionate and angry but no less powerful and resilient. I remember being quite annoyed though at flicking back and forth for the french translations.

    Like

  14. Pillars of The Earth is a good read, and so is World Without End. But, my favorite Ken Follett novels are the 'spy' ones like Key to Rebecca and The Eye of The Needle. Although goodness sakes', it' got to have been twenty years since I read those. Have fun in the medieval times!

    Like

  15. Mae, you're the first one to bring up the issue of the French! I count myself extremely lucky to have had more than four years of French in high school (every time they offered Math, I could get by with language, phew!). That has helped me tremendously, although not perfectly, in reading all that francais. Although I must admit, at this point in the novel (p. 492)? I'm just skipping it and going straight for the Engish. 😉

    Like

  16. I'm looking forward to reading more in this readalong. I read VILETTE a long time ago and can barely remember it so this is fun. And yes I CAN"T WAIT for the new JANE EYRE movie!

    Like

  17. I also can't wait to see what happens to Lucy next.. I'm very impressed with both Lucy as a character (how is it possible I like her so much, without knowing much about her?) and the novel itself.

    Like

  18. I had never thought of it before, but seeing the beautiful passge you had chosen in isolation, it struck me how similar is Lucy's situation to that of Jane Eyre deposited at lonely Whitcross. Charlotte's thoughts of flight and escape from her real existence ooze from her writings.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s