Through Belgian Eyes: Charlotte Brontë’s Troubled Brussels Legacy

Helen MacEwan

£24.95

Publication date 1st January 2018

Charlotte Brontë’s years in Belgium (1842–43) had a huge influence both on her life and her work. It was in Brussels that she not only honed her writing skills but fell in love and lived through the experiences that inspired two of her four novels: her first, The Professor, and her last and in many ways most interesting, Villette. Her feelings about Belgium are known – her love for her tutor Heger, her uncomplimentary remarks about Belgians, the powerful effect on her imagination of living abroad. But what about Belgian views of Charlotte Brontë? How have Belgian commentators responded to her portrayal of their capital city and their society? Through Belgian Eyes explores a wide range of responses from across the Channel.

In the process, it examines what The Professor and Villette tell Belgian readers about their capital in the 1840s and provides the Brussels background to the novels. Brussels has inspired few outstanding works of literature, and that makes Villette, considered by many to be Charlotte Brontë’s masterpiece, of particular interest as a portrait of the Belgian capital a decade after the country gained independence in 1830, and just before the city was transformed out of all recognition from the ‘villette’ (small town) that Charlotte knew. Her view of Brussels is contrasted with those of other foreign visitors and of the Belgians themselves.

The story of Charlotte Brontë’s Brussels legacy provides a unique perspective on her personality and writing.

Richly illustrated with over 60 pictures which bring Charlotte Brontë’s Brussels to life as never before.

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Sussex Academic Press (UK) 
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845199103
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845199104

 

This item has now sold out.

« View more

Publication date 1st January 2018

Charlotte Brontë’s years in Belgium (1842–43) had a huge influence both on her life and her work. It was in Brussels that she not only honed her writing skills but fell in love and lived through the experiences that inspired two of her four novels: her first, The Professor, and her last and in many ways most interesting, Villette. Her feelings about Belgium are known – her love for her tutor Heger, her uncomplimentary remarks about Belgians, the powerful effect on her imagination of living abroad. But what about Belgian views of Charlotte Brontë? How have Belgian commentators responded to her portrayal of their capital city and their society? Through Belgian Eyes explores a wide range of responses from across the Channel.

In the process, it examines what The Professor and Villette tell Belgian readers about their capital in the 1840s and provides the Brussels background to the novels. Brussels has inspired few outstanding works of literature, and that makes Villette, considered by many to be Charlotte Brontë’s masterpiece, of particular interest as a portrait of the Belgian capital a decade after the country gained independence in 1830, and just before the city was transformed out of all recognition from the ‘villette’ (small town) that Charlotte knew. Her view of Brussels is contrasted with those of other foreign visitors and of the Belgians themselves.

The story of Charlotte Brontë’s Brussels legacy provides a unique perspective on her personality and writing.

Richly illustrated with over 60 pictures which bring Charlotte Brontë’s Brussels to life as never before.

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Sussex Academic Press (UK) 
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845199103
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845199104