Charlotte Brontë’s contemporary George Eliot wrote of Villette, “There is something almost preternatural in its power.” The deceptive stillness and security of a girls’ school provide the setting for this 1853 novel, Brontë’s last. Modelled on Brontë’s own experiences as a student and teacher in Brussels, Villette is the sombre but engrossing story of Lucy Snowe, an unmarried Englishwoman making her way in a culture deeply foreign to her. The heroine’s relationships with the fiery professor M. Paul, the cool Englishman Dr. John, and the school’s powerful headmistress, Madame Beck, are described in her compelling and enigmatic first-person narration.
This Broadview edition includes a critical introduction by Kate Lawson and Lynn Shakinovsky. The many contextual documents include contemporary writings on surveillance and espionage, anti-Catholicism, and working women, as well as letters describing Brontë’s own time in Brussels