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Day 13

Villette by Charlotte Brontë

Chapters XVIII–XIX

November 27, 2022 by Yiyun Li

It may be that my mood is wrong for today’s reading, but I find this chapter with Dr. John and Lucy, both blinded by love, rather giggle-worthy.

He often talked nonsense; but I strove to be unfailingly patient with him.

All the male players of the narrative converging in front of the Cleopatra! I know there can be some profound analysis of seeing versus being seen, but am I wrong also to think that it’s one of the funniest chapters so far?

Setting a chapter in an art gallery—instead of during a hunt, or on a nature walk, or in a ballroom—with Cleopatra in the painting as the main audience of all the characters: this must have been a change of air for novels written around this time.

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