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With neither friends nor family, Lucy Snowe sets sail from England to find employment in a girls’ boarding school in the small town of Villette. There she struggles to retain her self-possession in the face of unruly pupils, an initially suspicious headmaster and her own complex feelings, first for the school’s English doctor and then for the dictatorial professor Paul Emmanuel. Drawing on her own deeply unhappy experiences as a governess in Brussels, Charlotte Bronte’s last and most autobiographical novel is a powerfully moving study of isolation and the pain of unrequited love, narrated by a heroine determined to preserve an independent spirit in the face of adverse circumstances.
About the Author
Charlotte Bronte (1816-55), along with her sisters Anne and Emily, is among the greatest 19th century English novelists and author of Jane Eyre. Helen M. Cooper is Professor of English at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She is also the author of a number of books and articles.