karenhealey: Rainbow Dash overcome with excitement (My Little Pony) (Default)
All right, Internets, as my next step in Project Bronte* I read Villette.

Holy shit.

AMAZING. AMAZING. The ending, oh my god, what the hell was that? I read a comment on that fantastic Hairpin article about Villette afterwards that described that ending as "a very quiet ghost coming and punching you in the boob." YES. YES IT WAS JUST LIKE THAT. Charlotte, whyyyyy?

And yes, the first third of the book is boring and slow and only exists to set up characters who will appear later in the novel but you won't know that (except now you do! Happy to oblige). Because the heroine, Lucy Snowe, will lie to you. You'll be reading along and suddenly she'll be like, oh, by the way Character X is actually Character Y, did I forget to tell you that?

Also she'll be like, I am stoic and calm and I endure everything BUT YOU BETTER NOT VIOLATE PRINCIPLES OF GOOD CONDUCT OR I WILL TELL YOU OFF IN NO UNCERTAIN STYLE, MISS GINEVRA FANSHAWE. Also I will wander around town mid-nervous breakdown and faint in the middle of the street. You will feel for me, reader! You will be like, oh, Lucy, I wish I could give you some of my Xanax. Also I will wander around town a different time high out of my mind and spy on people. Also I super love this guy but I'm going to lie to you about how detestable he is for like four-fifths of the book, reader, that is just how Lucy rolls! CONSTANT LIES.

Also Catholics, she will say. Let Lucy tell you about Catholics, reader. The thing about Catholics is that they're all going to hell. AND THAT IS THE TRUTH. French people, right? What is up with them, reader? Why are they so weird?


Oh, Lucy. It is you who are weird. You are in fact the weirdest, and that is why I love you.

Then I read Agnes Grey right after and that was super cute and had a very sweet love story and maaaaay have involved future serial killers. Internets, I am not kidding, I read all that bird-torturing stuff, and I was like, Anne, I know you based some of this on real experiences. Was that one of them? Did you know that torturing animals is one of the first warning signs of potential homicidal sociopathy? Because if it was real stuff, you were governess to a dude who might have murdered prostitutes when he grew up.

But as cute as Agnes Grey is (serial killers aside), it is no Villette.

For example! So far the Brontes are three for three with always having a vacuous vivacious gorgeous tramp in there as a foil for the heroine. In Agnes Grey, the vacuous vivacious gorgeous tramp (Rosalie) marries a rich dude she doesn't like much to please her mother and acquire an estate and gets punished with a horrible life and hates everything and Agnes tries not to be smug about it, but she is really and I feel kind of icky about her smugness.

But in Villette, the VVGT (Ginevra) elopes (SCANDAL!!!) with a ragtag gambling man, basically because she thinks he's hot (and a Comte, which will make her a Comtesse). She has paid no attention to his inner qualities! Which are minimal. Lucy then tells you what happens next:

In winding up Mistress Fanshawe's memoirs, the reader will no doubt expect to hear that she came finally to bitter expiation of her youthful levities. Of course, a large share of suffering lies in reserve for her future.

A few words will embody my farther knowledge respecting her.

[She gets her dowry after all, she has a baby who gets sick but recovers a lot, always prompting lots of letters to Lucy, with whom she keeps in touch, which frankly I think is adorable]

In the course of years there arose ominous murmurings against Alfred the First; M. de Bassompierre had to be appealed to, debts had to be paid, some of them of that dismal and dingy order called "debts of honour;" ignoble plaints and difficulties became frequent. Under every cloud, no matter what its nature, Ginevra, as of old, called out lustily for sympathy and aid. She had no notion of meeting any distress single-handed. In some shape, from some quarter or other, she was pretty sure to obtain her will, and so she got on - fighting the battle of life by proxy, and, on the whole, suffering as little as any human being I have ever known.

I love that! VVGT for the win! Screw you, reader, Ginevra's the happiest person in this book!

Anyway. So far, Project Bronte = super awesome. Next I think I'll go for The Professor, and then I will tackle the blasted heaths of Wuthering Heights, which I expect to dislike a lot, but maybe will like in a way I can make fun of.

Either way, prepare for liveblogging, Internets. I'm not going through this one alone.

ETA: I forgot to say, I was totally with Lucy liking M.Paul - I was shipping them like a lot and being all STOP IT, DETESTABLE NOT ACTUALLY MOTHER-IN-LAW, and then he mentioned that he was going to the West Indies. To oversee a plantation.


* A New Year's resolution to read all the Brontes this year. Maybe excepting the juvenilia and maybe including Gaskell's life of Charlotte.

April 2014

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