Being Poor While Female in Charlotte Brontë’s Villette (1853)

Nearly eighty years after the publication of Charlotte Brontë’s novel, Villette, Virginia Woolf laments the poverty of women in her classic book, A Room Of One’s Own. In that classic piece is the famous conclusion that “a woman needs money and room of her own if she is to write fiction”(4). But how to attain it in a culture and time in that culture where women were notoriously poor?  Woolf speaks of how she came to having money of her own, five hundred pounds a year, left to her by her aunt “Mary Beton” who “died by a fall...

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