Read Dates: Will Smith and Lucy Snowe

This month our blog theme is ‘Love in All its Forms’ – we’re celebrating the diverse ways in which love is depicted in literature – so we asked our authors to tell us who their dream fictional date would be. Will Smith would like to cheer up Lucy Snowe from Charlotte Brontë’s ‘Villette’…

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‘I can think of numerous literary characters with whom I would love to share a dining room, but not a table; who wouldn’t want to eavesdrop on Ignatius J. Reilly as he demands a refund for the five course meal which has upset his valve. Or Mickey Sabbath, being demonically inappropriate. In the case of the latter, I would be compelled to rush over and give him a hug, for his grief still haunts me. The description of him mournfully walking a beach from his childhood in the rain, draped in the flag given to the family following his brother’s death in combat, is one of the saddest and loneliest passages in fiction.

The character I would pick as my date is no less lonely and no less sad; Lucy Snowe, the protagonist of Charlotte Brontë’s Villette. I still feel aggrieved at the unfairness of her lot; kind, passionate, steadfast, intelligent and stoical, yet misjudged, overlooked and exploited by most of the people around her. Short-sightedly spurned by Dr John Graham Bretton, and cruelly denied happiness with Monsieur Paul, she deserves friendship and kindness in abundance. I always feel the closing lines of Middlemarch could apply as much to Lucy Snowe as Dorothea Brooke:

‘But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.’

Dorothea had her Will, so I would like to be Lucy’s.’

Will Smith’s debut novel ‘Mainlander‘ is out now.

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