A London Bookstore in Charlotte Bronte’s Villette and the Tenth-Year Anniversary of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight

villette-charlotte-bronte-paperback-cover-artI am rereading Villette, Charlotte Bronte’s autobiographical masterpiece: rereading classics is the best remedy for jet lag.  In this intense, gorgeously-written novel about a solitary woman, the narrator, Lucy Snowe, travels to Belgium in search of work.  Stalked by two men as she seeks a hotel in  Villette, she loses her way and finds herself in front of a girls’ school.  She believes fate has led her to the school, where she finds  a post as an English teacher. Her life is gray and quiet, but it is not dull.  Orphaned and alone, Lucy is a more repressed, quieter doppelgänger of Bronte’s Jane Eyre.   She does not get the guy.  She will never meet Mr. Rochester.  Well, there is a guy, M. Paul, but he is less romantic than Mr. Rochester (whose brusque, sadistic manner does not endear him to me).   Bronte spices up the restrained narrative with a fit of  delirium, a ghost, and a drug dream.  The narrative has the effect of being as sharp, crystalline, and claustrophobic as a hall of mirrors.

In a chapter set in London, Lucy wanders into a bookstore and spends money she can’t afford.

Elation and pleasure were in my heart:  to walk alone in London seemed of itself an adventure.  Presently I found myself in Paternoster Row–classic ground this.  I entered a bookseller’s shop, kept by one Jones:  I bought a little book–a piece of extravagance I could ill afford; but I thought I would one day give or send it to Mrs. Barrett.  Mr. Jones, a dried-in man of business, stood behind his desk:  he seemed one of the greatest, and I one of the happiest of beings.

No wonder I identify with Lucy!

I wonder if she ever sends that book to Mrs. Barrett…


twilight HT_Stephenie_Meyer1_ml_151006_4x3_992I love Twilight!

Yes, I really do.

Some years ago, a friend pressed this book into my hands.   She said I would not be able to put it down.

Not only did I race through Twilight, but I dashed off to Target to buy the other three books.

Okay, the story is unrealistic.  Bella falls in love with a vampire. But so what?  Are humans so great?  Edward is a sensitive, well-educated guy. He  is great at sports.  He fights evil vampires.  And eventually Bella saves the world.  I mean it!

Meyer is a witty writer and a great storyteller.  There is a lot of humor in this novel.

Is the writing good?  Well, some of it is.

In the beginning of Twilight, we learn that the narrator, Bella, has “exiled herself” to Forks, Washington, a town she detests, to live with her father.  Her description is amusing and reasonably well-written.

In the Olympic Peninsula of northwest Washington State, a small town named Forks exists under a near-constant cover of clouds.  It rains on this inconsequential town more than any other place in the United States of America.  It was from this town and its gloomy, omnipresent shade that my mother escaped with me when I was only a few months old.  It was in this town that I was compelled to spend a month every summer until I was fourteen.  That was the year I finally put my foot down…

In honor of the tenth anniversary of Twilight, Hachette as published a “double feature” edition of Twilight.  In addition to the original novel, you can read Life and Death, Meyer’s reimagining of the story from a male point of view.

I do want to read this, but I can certainly not buy any more books this year.  Instead, I will reread Twilight.

Bronte and Meyer together:  why not?

13 thoughts on “A London Bookstore in Charlotte Bronte’s Villette and the Tenth-Year Anniversary of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight

  1. I am afraid of (no, not Virginia Woolf) vampires; so, no Stephaie Meyers for me. But yes, to “Villette”! And yes to bookshops, in England and elsewhere, but preferably in England. And yes, I am jealous of you after all these blogs about your quick trip to London! Lucky you! But I am glad for you and thank you to have shared this with us. 🙂


    • I only really like the vampires in Twilight.:) I loved Dracula when I was 14, but am afraid to reread it!

      Villette is one of my favorites!

      London certainly has great bookstores. But what a long way for me to go to buy books… well, we have nothing like them where I live.

      Liked by 1 person

      • And I live in a small village where there is no bookshop but a newsagent I tried to help having a bookshop section (in French and English), and the supermarket, which means virtually no books. Then there is the “chef-lieu de département”, Périgueux, but there are no English books to be found. None either in libraries. I live on what we has been collected at home during years and years and a few new ones I bought some time ago. But I like re-reading a lot – more and more, which is fortunate!


        • Oh, dear, that is a shame! I love to reread, too, but it is nice to have access to used books especially. Are there book swap programs online in France? Sometimes you can get really cheap books at Abebooks or Amazon, but I suppose those would be expensive to get in France (unless Amazon in France sells English books?)! My books in London will have to last me for a long time.


          • I mostly read in English or foreign languages therefore it is more difficult to find them in France than in an English speaking country. I used to buy on Amazon or other second-hand online bookshops. But my personal situation is not very easy: I am the gardian and co-trustee of my young sister and an older cousin who suffer from Down’ syndrome, and I have left my life in Paris and my studies and etc. to take care of them according to my mother’s wishes in her will. Financially speaking, there are times when there is not enough money for us three to eat properly, and in better times, no “fancy” money to spend on books. Families can be difficult at times…


            • Oh my goodness, books are expensive, I know. Better to eat and reread! Actually, I love rereading and think it is often best. You’re doing a good thing taking care of your family.


    • It is very striking when you’ve just done something and then read about it in a book. I’ve read Villette many times, but never noticed the bookstore.

      I love Twilight! It’s one of those books adults like as much as the Y.A.s.


  2. Pingback: Patriarchy or Paranoia? When Women’s Best Writing Is Suppressed – mirabile dictu

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