Brontë’s Villette

I spent the other day at Starbucks with my laptop.

It’s one of my favorite things to do:  get highly caffeinated, then write.

After finishing a first draft of an essay I’m currently writing on Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, I suddenly had the keen urge to read Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre again.  Not cover-to-cover; just a few passages.

So I went home, cracked it open, and once again…tears began to flow.  Jane’s conversations with Helen Burns are so intense, so lovely, so prayer-like.  Charlotte was a genius.  She truly was. Then it dawned on me: Why haven’t I read her other books?

A quick trip to Barnes and Noble ensued and I’m now on page 75 of Villette.  I’m already feeling a sense of satisfaction (maybe not the level of satisfaction I get when reading Jane Eyre…but close).

…I sat at the fireside sewing.  The wind was wailing at the windows:  it had wailed all day; but, as night deepened, it took a new tone-an accent keen, piercing, almost articulate to the ear; a plaint, piteous and disconsolate to the nerves, trilled in every gust. 

“Oh, hush! hush!” I said in my disturbed mind, dropping my work, and making a vain effort to stop my ears against that subtle, searching cry.  I had heard that very voice ere this, and compulsory observation had forced on me a theory as to what it boded.  Three times in the course of my life, events had taught me that these storage accents in the storm–this restless, hopeless cry–denote a coming state of the atmosphere unpropitious to life.   –  Villette 


Today, the wind is wailing here in New York as well (weakly, but there’s some minor wailing going on), and I am indoors reading Charlotte’s words.  

And, it is well with my soul.

Let it rain!

Photo of Bronte books





12 thoughts on “Brontë’s Villette

    • Thank you! I will certainly read it. It’s a very curious book. The personality of Lucy (so far) is so quiet and hidden. I’m anxious to see what transpires….


    • I’m looking forward to the entire month of May and all the other posts! Fanny reminds me of Jane Eyre. That’s what led me back to the book. 🙂


  1. It’s nice to see your enthusiasm for Villette, Mary. Charlotte Brontë is one of my favorite all time authors. I’m reading a lot of Brontë at the moment (biographies included) and have Villette on my TBR list.


    • Christy, I think we have similar taste in authors 🙂 My husband gave me The Brontës – Wild Genius on the Moors last year. It’s a biography by Juliet Barker. I’m hoping to get to it at some point this year. Do you recommend any other Brontë biographies? Hope you are well!


      • I do think we have very similar tastes! I just finished reading The Brontë’s – Wild Genius on the Moors! I’m currently reading Romancing Miss Brontë by Juliet Gael and hope to finish that tonight.

        Other books I’ve read:
        Becoming Jane Eyre by Shelia Kohler
        The Life of Charlotte Brontë by Elizabeth Gaskell

        There’s others on my TBR list. 🙂


      • So many books…so little time!

        My TBR list looks a bit like this right now:
        Agnes Grey
        The Brontë’s – Wild Genius on the Moors
        Girl with the Pearl Earring

        Plus, I’ve yet to read Middlemarch which has been sitting on a bookshelf for a year or so.

        Oy! I’m giving myself a headache. LOL!


  2. We must be shopping in the same section. LOL! I finished Romancing Miss Brontë. Here’s my reading list:

    Agnes Grey
    The Tennent of Wildfield Hall
    The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë
    The Brontë Myth


    • Oops! I forgot to mention The Tenant of Wildfell Hall as well. I think our minds will be occupied by the same thoughts and characters over these next few months. Ha!


  3. I’ve loved Jane Eyre for decades (my husband is experiencing the novel for the first time now), but I hadn’t read Villette until last year. I read it while participating in a blog read-along. I really enjoyed it.


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