[BRONTE, Charlotte]. BELL, Currer. Villette. New York: Derby & Jackson, 1857.
8vo. Later nineteenth century half tan calf, marbled boards, gilt spine with gilt raised bands and two gilt black morocco lettering pieces, marbled endpapers, all edges marbled; pp. 502; very good.
Early American edition in a handsome binding.
Though one of Bronte's lesser-known novels, Villette was actually one of her most pioneering and controversial works and is sometimes celebrated as an exploration of gender roles and repression. It was to be her last novel, and maintains similar themes found in Jane Eyre - the female heroine, gothic atmosphere, and bursts of passionate lyricism - while developing a revolutionary understanding of human loneliness, drawn from Bronte's own experiences of the loss of her sibling and the unhappy experience she had as a governess in Brussels.
As Virginia Woolf would later write in The Common Reader: "It is her finest novel. All her force, and it is the more tremendous for being constricted, goes into the assertion, 'I love. I hate. I suffer.'"