Extended comparisons of Villette and the Odyssey have been hindered first by Charlotte's lack of classical training and second by the discrepancy between Lucy's ambiguous motives and Odysseus's clear goal of returning to Ithaca. This paper argues for Charlotte's access to Homeric sources and suggests that the Odyssey's construction of 'homesickness' would have had particular appeal to her during the conception and writing of Villette. Read through the framework of Homer's epic, it can be seen that Lucy's journey, like that of Odysseus, is propelled by her desire for an ideal of human intimacy and understanding that becomes ever more alluring in its inaccessibility.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Literature and Literary Theory
- Blackwood's Edinburgh magazine
- Charlotte Brontë
- Lucy Snowe