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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