Picturing Lucy

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: : (Above) Miss Muriel Gore in a Fortuny Dress (1919) by Oswald Hornby Joseph Birley : :

Last night I was restless and couldn’t get to sleep. So I reached for a familiar book, and it happened to be Charlotte Brontë’s Villette. As is often the case when you read a certain book before sleeping, Villette infiltrated my dreams. I saw the novel in my dreams through colours: yellow, black, dark grey, bluish grey, brown. These are the colours I associate with the novel’s heroine, Lucy Snowe. Although, I feel it’s inaccurate to call her a ‘heroine’ as she presents herself as a non-protagonist right from the first page. Still, she is a heroine to me. Although many reviewers and critics view her name as a reference to her ‘cool’ exterior, I view it as a reference to her opaqueness: she is a character whose psychology is fascinating, complex and impregnable. As you reach the last page of the book, you know Lucy remains opaque and evasive.

I also ‘see’ Lucy through the novel’s many symbols: keys, doorways, gothic ghosts, Catholic and Christian iconography, letters, a pair of spectacles. These objects and this symbolism have a psychology too in Villette. Through Lucy’s intelligence, Brontë displays how sophisticated a novel can be. And I have a fondness for Lucy as a character; I like her as much as I like Jane Eyre. This post is a visual homage to my dreams last night, and to Lucy.

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: : (Top to bottom, left to right) Vilhelm Hammershøi, Sunbeams or Sunshine. Dust Motes Dancing in the Sunbeams (1900) : : Screen captures from Possession : : Screen capture from Bright Star : :

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: : (Left to right) Girl Reading in a Sunlit Room by Carl Holsoe : : My own photo of a yellow rose : :

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: : (Top to bottom) The Garden of the Pensionnat Heger (where Charlotte and Emily Brontë taught) : : The Allée Défendue : :

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: : (Top to bottom) Venetian Interior by John Singer Sargent : : Screen capture from The Secret Garden : : My own photo from Oxford, UK : :

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: : The ghost of Bernadette Soubirous (1890) : :

Before I leave, I promised a blog reader I would spread the word about his project. Gerald Llorence is a graphic design student in Austin, Texas. He’s currently working on a project exploring the value of letter writing, and he’s keen to get as many responses as he can. He’s looking for people to send him their thoughts on letters/mail or any stories they have on this subject. All material should be sent to: P.O. Box 41624, Austin TX 78704, by 5 November. The stories will be collected and shown at St. Edward’s University’s Graphic Design Senior Show to be held from 15 February to 8 March, 2013.