Advertisement

Brontë’s Villette: Desire and Lanternicity in the Domestic Gothic

  • David J. Jones
Chapter
  • 245 Downloads
Part of the The Palgrave Gothic Series book series (PAGO)

Abstract

Villette (1853) is one of the most enigmatic and finely crafted novels of the early Victorian era, replete with libidinal tension, rage and hidden conspiracies. George Eliot, no mean critic of novelistic skill, wrote of it: ‘I am only just returned to a sense of the real world about me, for I have been reading Villette, a still more wonderful book than Jane Eyre.’1 It is a book which, at times, combines an outrage of Blakean proportions against those social forces that deny sexual fulfilment with an Austenesque anger against the commodification of women. It also anticipates the unresolved sexual longing and problematic open ending of Great Expectations (1860–61), and the main target of Brontë’s rage is the same as that of Dickens’s novel: the betrayal of love and manipulation of young people by their elders.

Keywords

Safe Seat Problematic Open Ending Deep Desire Wonderful Book Sexual Fulfilment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    Quoted in John Hughes, ‘The Affective World of Charlotte Brontë’s Villette’, SEL: Studies in English Literature, 1500–1900, 40:4 (2000), pp. 711–26, p. 711.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971), p. 227.Google Scholar
  3. 15.
    Nathaniel Hazeltine Carter, Letters from Europe, Comprising the Journal of a Tour Through Ireland, England, Scotland, France, Italy, and Switzerland, in the Years 1825,’ 26 and’ 27, vol. 1 (New York: G. & C. Carvill, 1827), p. 106.Google Scholar
  4. 25.
    See Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, ‘The Buried Life of Lucy Snowe’, in Villette: Contemporary Critical Essays, ed. Pauline Nestor (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1992), pp. 42–57, passim.Google Scholar
  5. 29.
    Toni Wein, ‘Gothic Desire in Charlotte Brontë’s Villette’, SEL: Studies in English Literature 1500–1900, 39:4 (1999), pp. 733–46, p. 740.Google Scholar
  6. 51.
    Elaine Showalter, The Female Malady: Women, Madness and English Culture 1830–1980 (New York: Pantheon Books, 1985), p. 129.Google Scholar
  7. 122.
    Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973), p. 16.Google Scholar
  8. 137.
    Quoted in Pauline Nestor, Charlotte Brontë (Totowa, NJ: Barnes & Noble, 1987), p. 26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© David J. Jones 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • David J. Jones
    • 1
  1. 1.Open UniversityUK

Personalised recommendations