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Day 12

Villette by Charlotte Brontë

Chapter XVII

November 26, 2022 by Yiyun Li

"The general tenor of a life” and Lucy’s aspiration to “enable it to be better regulated, more equable, quieter on the surface”: so much of her willfulness to self-regulate results from the necessity of being an orphan, now rootless in a foreign country…

This seems to me a blessing: the rubberneckers have books written on the surface for them; the kindred spirits have kindred books reserved for them

It is on the surface only the common gaze will fall.

Lucy’s depression, from exhaustion, isolation, and malnutrition: it’s a change to read a 19th-century novel where the illness goes much deeper than the lungs.

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