New York: Harper & Brothers, 1853.

The first American appearance of Bronte's final novel, a mature work of love and grief

(Item #3575) Villette. Charlotte Bronte, Currer Bell.


New York: Harper & Brothers, 1853. First American edition. With original front wrapper lacking rear wrapper. Front wrapper with a few short tears. Spine worn, with most of backstrip perished. Plain rear wrapper added later. Octavo (226 x 142 mm.). A textually complete copy, including 4 leaves of advertisements at the rear. Text in double columns, collating: 184, [4 leaves ads]. A bit of foxing, otherwise a Very Good copy. Smith claims no priority between this edition and the one in cloth, but the differing page-counts suggest priority exists (the type was completely reset and the clothbound copy has over 500 pages); either way the wrapper edition is much scarcer. Housed in a custom paper-covered slipcase.

"Charlotte Bronte's final masterpiece powerfully portrays a woman struggling to reconcile love, jealousy, and a fierce desire for independence. Having fled a harrowing past in England, Lucy Snowe begins a new life teaching at a boarding school in the great capital of a foreign country. There, as she tries to achieve independence from both outer necessity and inward grief, she finds that her feelings for a worldly doctor and a dictatorial professor threaten her hard-won self possession. Published initially in 1853, Charlotte Bronte's last novel was written in the wake of her grief at the death of her siblings. It has a dramatic force comparable to that of her other masterpiece, Jane Eyre, as well as a striking modernity of psychological insight and a revolutionary understanding of human loneliness" (Vintage).

Harper’s Library of Select Novels, No. 182. Smith 146-152.
Very Good (Item #3575)

See all items in Literature, Women
See all items by ,

“His mind was indeed my library, and whenever it was opened to me, I entered bliss.”