Friday, December 5, 2008

Villette

So I'm reading Villette by Charlotte Bronte, and enjoying it with much enjoy.

I am reading it little bits at a time, because I know I am going to be sad when I have to leave Lucy Snowe behind. But I did skip to the end to make sure she was going to be OK. Even though I knew she was going to be OK, because she is Lucy Snowe. Note I didn't say happy. I doubt her capacity for happiness as much as she does.

I adore how she claims she is a cool and even person, when she is passionate and sensitive. I love how she just can't help talking of her unrequited love, even though she obviously considers it to be poor form to do so. I am inspired by her constant efforts to do what she believes is right, even though she is sometimes not convinced that what is conventionally 'right' is actually what she wants or even should do. And she sometimes gives herself quite massive get-out-of-jail-free cards when she feels like it, but still manages to hold onto her integrity.

And I love how she is frequently so wound up that you can quite easily imagine her taking a carving knife and hacking gleefully into Ginevra Fanshawe without a moment's regret. But doesn't.

I don't mind the odd coincidences of meeting the same characters in different places, but I have been a little distracted by the way they change their names so that their identity is hidden for a while. But it does give Lucy Snowe the additional pleasure of keeping things secret, which she likes. Great narrator.

I think Lucy Snow can make the best of things. Not in a milky, weak, resigned sort of a way (although she claims that from time to time). More in a holding the things underwater and shaking them until they promise to be good sort of way.

Charlotte Bronte really did not enjoy teaching, though, did she?

2 comments:

Ampersand Duck said...

Probably not.

You have to adore those Bronte sisters. Pav was doing a fabulous thing with them for a while (http://currerellisacton.blogspot.com/), but they seem to have lost interest lately.

Sigh.

(Love that pseudo-silence!)

Kimi said...

Oh, I'm glad! I love Villette, and so few people read it compared to the better-known Bronte works. I don't think I've ever read a better depiction of suppressed passion.

The ending is often called ambiguous, and the first time I read it (I was in my teens) I thought so, too. But I changed my mind on the second reading. It's not ambiguous at all.