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Villette Is the Best, Week 3

Villette is damn astounding. People try to "write fiction" and end up giving us something fake and mechanized, and while it can occasionally be entertaining, it is not humanity written down on paper.

VILLETTE. You're such a weird mix of overly-fanciful prose and Charlotte Bronte's obvious angst spilling into her book. Everyone in her life had died except her father, and who knows about that relationship. She'd started out with four sisters and a brother and in 1853 she was alone. At 37 years old. Lucy Snowe just pours her damn self into this book and doesn't care if you like it or not. CB's struggles with depression and attempts to continue life after her family was gone are just there on the page. I mean, good LORD:


She may have gone upward, and come in sight of her eternal home, hoping for leave to rest now, and deeming that her painful union with matter was at last dissolved. While she so deemed, an angel may have warned her away from heaven's threshold, and, guiding her weeping down, have bound her, once more, all shuddering and unwilling, to that poor frame, cold and wasted, of whose companionship she was grown more than weary.

Who writes like that? A done-with-everything Charlotte Bronte, that's who. And when she runs into past friends and prays later that night that she won't ruin the friendship by trying to be too close to them and then sobs herself to sleep? WHAT. Think about Victorian female characters. This is something so much more honest and out there than SO MANY of them; I'm constantly staggered by this book.

Speaking of Lucy Snowe not caring if you like it, let's remember that this is in the book:

Herald, come quickly! Thousands lie round the pool, weeping and despairing, to see it, through slow years, stagnant. Long are the "times" of Heaven: the orbits of angel messengers seem wide to mortal vision; they may enring ages: the cycle of one departure and return may clasp unnumbered generations ; and dust, kindling to brief suffering life, and through pain, passing back to dust, may meanwhile perish out of memory again, and yet again. To how many maimed and mourning millions is the first and sole angel visitant, him easterns call Azrael!



That is insane. And I'm so glad she kept it in. No cookie cutter, Dickensian, carefully controlled situations in Villette! NO. Easterns call him Azrael, damnit.

CB also throws in just good observations on life. I mean, check this out:

There are people from whom we secretly shrink, whom we would personally avoid, though reason confesses that they are good people: there are others with faults of temper, &c., evident enough, beside whom we live content, as if the air about them did us good.

I mean...yeah! Yeah, CB! TOTES correct. You are doin' swell. Occasionally you overwrite and go off on these flights of Romantic fancy, but those're forgiven, because you wrote such a totally unlikable, real person who talks about angels enringing things.

I trust you all will comment on the actual events of these chapters. I'm just gonna sit over here and be happy about everything else. Next week is chapters 21-26


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