To George Smith, 30 October 1852
My dear Sir
You must notify honestly what you think of "Villette" when you have read it. I can hardly tell you how much I hunger to have some opinion besides my own, and how I have sometimes desponded and almost despaired because there was no one to whom to read a line -- or of whom to ask a counsel. "Jane Eyre" was not written under such circumstances, nor were two-thirds of "Shirley". I got so miserable about it, I could bear no allusion to the book --
As to the anonymous publication -- I have this to say. If the withholding of the author's name should tend materially to injure the publisher's interest -- to interfere with booksellers' orders &c. I would not press the point; but if no such detriment is contingent -- I should be most thankful for the sheltering shadow of an incognito. I seem to dread the advertisements -- the large lettered "Currer Bell's New Novel" or "New Work by the Author of 'Jane Eyre' ". These, however, I feel well enough are the transcendentalisms of a retired wretch -- and must not be intruded in the way of solid considerations; so you must speak frankly.
You will see that "Villette" touches on no matter of public interest. I cannot write books handling the topics of the day -- it is of no use trying. Nor can I write a book for its moral -- Nor can I take up a philanthropic scheme though I honour Philanthropy -- And voluntarily and sincerely veil my face before such a might subject as that handled in Mrs. beecher Stowe's work -- "Uncle Tom's Cabin".
To manage these great matters
Remember to be an honest critic of "Villette" and tell Mr. Williams to be unsparing -- not that I am likely to alter anything -- but I want to know his impression and yours.