A Second Reading

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A Second Reading

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1ElizabethPotter
Mar 30, 2009, 5:30pm

I read Villette for the first time when I was seventeen, and I was very disappointed. Lucy was so cold. I was frustrated with her. I could not understand how some people could like it better than _Jane Eyre_. About a year ago I picked it up again planning to read it intellectually and see if I could like it that way.

It blew my socks off! I was amazed. I found that I had to mature into it. I even wrote a review of the book talking about my two different readings.

Has anyone had a similar experience with _Villette_ or any of the other Brontë novels?

2fabier
Mar 30, 2009, 9:16pm

i first read Jane Eyre about a year ago... and it immediately became my favourite book, simply because of the story. But on this second read through, i've begun to appreciate the book so much more for the details.

i also think that i'd be able to enjoy Villette so much more if i read it with a French-English Dictionary on hand...

3ElizabethPotter
Mar 30, 2009, 10:58pm

There is a lot of French. I took French in high school purely so I could read the bits Charlotte drops into her novels. I had taken about three years by the time I read Villette. There are copies that have translations in the back of the book. I still had to refer to this a little when reading it.

4bjbookman
Mar 31, 2009, 8:25am

The best thing about re reading a book when one is older, the books take on a new life. they give me so much more. I think when I was younger,I missed so much of the beauty of their words.

5lisalouhoo
Mar 31, 2009, 7:49pm

I think that I should try and reread Villette. I think I was about 12 or 13 the first time, and have a vague memory of it. Possibly it was a bit over my head.

6ElizabethPotter
Mar 31, 2009, 10:25pm

Yes, that it way too young in my opinion! JE can be handled at that age, but one needs to walk through some of life's storms to appreciate_Villette_

7alpiesrule
Abr 1, 2009, 8:25pm

I just finished reading Villette and I thought it was amazing! The ending was so unpredictable, and it just felt overall very satisfying. At first, it was rather a struggle, but then I got an edition that actually translated the French in footnotes, and it made all the difference. (I'm taking spanish, so it didn't help at all. :-p)

How young exactly is too young? I'm a sophomore in high school, but I absolutely adore the Brontë works. I mean, I just can't get enough of Charlotte's writing style! especially her metaphores and personification of intangible objects (e.g. imagination, boredom, reson, etc.)

8ElizabethPotter
Editado: Abr 1, 2009, 9:51pm

You might be more mature that I was at that age. I was frustrated that "things" didn't seem to be happening. I was watching Lucy struggle and I was waiting for something to bring things to a head.

Also at the time I was struggling with depression. (If fact one of the low points of my life thus far.) The summer vacation chapter depressed me severely. When I read it again I was a better place and was prepared for the darkeness of that chapter.

When I said too young I guess I was speaking of my own experience. Jane is more accessible to a person who has not lived very much. I was only able to understand Lucy after I had experienced similar pain. I could not understand her before that and I believe I may I have already stated that I can now understand her. After my first reading I really disliked Lucy for being so calm about everything. She annoyed the heck out of me. Now I feel for her, and she no longer annoys me.

9Catgwinn
Abr 3, 2009, 7:52pm

I first read both "Jane Eyre" and "Wuthering Heights" when I was in 7th/8th grade. I specifically recall borrowing "Wuthering Heights" from a favorite branch of the Denver Public Library. I read "Jane Eyre" after seeing a black& white film version of Jane Eyre". At that time, I was selecting books on the basis of their length/size, the longer/thicker the better. I'd already read "Little Women", Little Men", "Jo's Boys", "Lorna Doone" and other longish books from my mother's collection of her childhood books.

10Catgwinn
Editado: Abr 15, 2009, 6:30pm

I first read both "Jane Eyre" and "Wuthering Heights" when I was in 7th/8th grade. I specifically recall borrowing "Wuthering Heights" from a favorite branch of the Denver Public Library. I read "Jane Eyre" after seeing a black& white film version. At that time, I was selecting books on the basis of their length/size, the longer/thicker the better. I'd already read "Little Women", Little Men", "Jo's Boys", "Lorna Doone" and other longish books from my mother's collection of her childhood books.

11TheTortoise
Abr 5, 2009, 7:00am

>1 ElizabethPotter: Elizabeth, I remember hating Villette when I first read it, or maybe it was Shirley. It was so long ago, I can't remember. I have always planned to read it again in my maturity, like you for intellectual reasons. I always thought it must have been me, not the book that was at fault.

Must give it another read someday soon!

~ TT

12ElizabethPotter
Abr 5, 2009, 3:13pm

Definitely! You might be very surprised. I loved _Shirley_ from the first. I liked Caroline Helstone very much! Though the beginning was very slow. I couldn't stand the curates.

13bleuroses
Editado: Abr 8, 2009, 5:35pm

When I first read Jane Eyre thirty years ago, it was with complete drudgery. My 2nd reading was 15 years ago and loved it and am now onto my 4th reading! I especially love the illustrated edition by Dame Darcy.

I also muddled through my first reading of Villette though have not returned for a 2nd. In my next Bronte phase, she shall be first!

14Herenya
Abr 9, 2009, 10:18pm

I found Villette a difficult read, I seem to remember. It took me a couple of attempts to get beyond the first chapter or so, and I was frustrated that I constantly had to flick to the notes at the back to read translations of all the French!
I thought it was sad and depressing, and I think this is ultimately why I haven't read it since. And I'll admit to not understanding how/why some people like it better than Jane Eyre. But I did like it, despite all this - I'll go back and reread it at some point. (Although I'm determined to get beyond the first chapter or so of Shirley before I do that!)

I have noticed with Jane Eyre that I seem to notice something different or get something new out of it each time I reread it. I first read it when I was 12 and much of the subtleties must have gone over my head, because there were things I didn't pick up on until some years later. It's meant I've often felt I've been able to appreciate it on a different level to what I had previously.

15celiacardun
Mayo 6, 2009, 3:44pm

I just finished reading Villette and I'm not sure what to think. The experience of reading was not as easy as Jane Eyre, but then again I didn't know the story so I was really wondering where the story was going. Happily my French is quite well so I could read through without looking things up, which was nice. But the French part also really annoyed me, because that is where the snobism was expressed: many the French names were very degrading, it was very much England vs the rest of the world.

And I'm not sure whether I understand Lucy - I felt annoyed sometimes with her passiveness (desperately lonely and only wanting to react when someone invites her - never initiative from her side) but I felt very compassionate with her as well. Which is why I couldn't really stand the ending and I even wondered how she could have written her story after that event - if she was already that lonely before, how could she cope with what happened? Maybe a second read will enlighten me more, but I think I will wait with that for a couple of years!!

Oh and I loved Shirley as well, once I got past these three vicars!