Shipwrecks, House-Fires, and Mourning Rings

  • Teresa Huffman Traver


This chapter positions Villette within the context of a range of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century novels concerning the possibilities and limitations of marriage between Roman Catholic and Protestant characters. I read Villette against literary predecessors such as Elizabeth Inchbald’s A Simple Story, Lady Georgiana Fullerton’s Grantley Manor, and Charles Dicken’s Barnaby Rudge. Despite Villette’s rejection of Roman Catholic celibacy, Lucy is left celibate through Paul Emanuel’s shipwreck, rather than finding her “true home” in a mixed-faith suburban household at Faubourg Clotilde. The novel’s ambiguously tragic ending represents uncertainty about whether such a house built on religious and national division could stand. This chapter, therefore, explores some of the challenges of building communities that cross religious and national boundaries.


Mixed marriage Barnaby Rudge Villette Grantley Manor 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Teresa Huffman Traver
    • 1
  1. 1.California State University, ChicoChicoUSA

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