Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Charlotte Brontë: The Imagination in History$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Heather Glen

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199272556

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199272556.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 22 September 2020



(p.285) Epilogue
Charlotte Brontë: The Imagination in History

Heather Glen

Oxford University Press

It has come to be customary to read Villette as the story of Lucy Snowe: a self-defensive character, a ‘constitutionally nervous’ individual, ‘a nobody and a somebody’, an exemplary figure of ‘woman's growth into self-recognition and self-sufficiency’. However, there is a great deal in the novel that cannot be assimilated to a narrative such as this. Its images of visual bedazzlement and of devastating idolatry bespeak a different kind of engagement with rather different areas of mid-Victorian cultural debate. This other face of the novel is, it seems, no less expressive of Charlotte Brontë's concern with contemporary actualities than that psychologically realistic story which its readers usually abstract. The complexities of ‘dazzle’ — its challenge to perceptual mastery, its connotations both of splendour and of annihilation, as well as, more particularly, the blinding light of the sun — were in early Victorian England being pondered in another medium by an artist by whom Charlotte Brontë seems to have been deeply stirred as she began to conceive Villette.

Keywords:   Villette, Lucy Snowe, Charlotte Brontë, dazzle, splendour, annihilation, Victorian England

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .