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Charlotte Brontė, Villette, and Teaching


by Margret Buchmann — 1989

The basis for my presentation will be two literary masterpieces: Charlotte Brontė's Villette and Mrs. Gaskell's biography of its author, The Life of Charlotte Brontė. Villette is Charlotte Brontė's last, most mature work, and its heroine, Lucy Snowe, is a barely veiled portrait of the author. Based on Mrs. Gaskell's Life, my prelude follows Charlotte Brontė almost to the boat that takes her to a girl's school in Belgium which is the place of action in Villette. Here Lucy Snowe, a waif, starts out as nursery governess and progresses to becoming a teacher, dreaming of a school of her own. My epilogue returns to the author's life. Gathering up the events of her middle years, I will trace the twists of fate that yielded us Villette. And I will try to determine just why it is that Mrs. Gaskell calls Charlotte Brontė a woman of extraordinary genius and noble virtue.


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This article originally appeared as NSSE Yearbook Vol 88, No. 1.


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 90 Number 5, 1989, p. 60-85
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 18929, Date Accessed: 10/19/2017 3:25:10 AM

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About the Author
  • Margret Buchmann
    Michigan State University
    MARGRET BUCHMANN is coordinator of the Conceptual Analytic Project and is professor of teacher education at Michigan State University.
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