Published in 1853, Villette was Charlotte Brontë's last novel and is often regarded as her most emotionally and aesthetically satisfying work. As in Jane Eyre, the theme is one of passionate personal integrity, the struggle of an individual to preserve an independent spirit in the face of adverse circumstances. Like Jane Eyre and The Professor, it is deeply autobiographical. It is only in Villette, however, that Charlotte Brontë found a narrator such as Lucy Snowe who could explore in a sufficiently complex way the tensions and alterations in her own inner and outer experience. The result is one of the greatest fictional studies in our literature, not of self and society, but of self without society; and of a character who expresses more than any other woman in English fiction the anguish of unrequited love.