The Professor, Paperback
4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


With an Introduction and Notes by Dr Sally Minogue.

The Professor is Charlotte Brontes first novel, in which she audaciously inhabits the voice and consciousness of a man, William Crimsworth.

Like Jane Eyre he is parentless; like Lucy Snowe in Villette he leaves the certainties of England to forge a life in Brussels.

But as a man, William has freedom of action, and as a writer Bronte is correspondingly liberated, exploring the relationship between power and sexual desire.

William's first person narration reveals his attraction to the dominating directress of the girls' school where he teaches, played out in the school's 'secret garden'.

Balanced against this is his more temperate relationship with one of his pupils, Frances Henri, in which mastery and submission interplay.

The Professor was published only after Charlotte Brontes death; today it gives us a fascinating insight into the first stirrings of her supreme creative imagination.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
  • ISBN: 9781853262081


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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

The first novel by Charlotte Brontë, though not published until her death. It has been reviewed as a simple, unimaginative portrait of an English teacher's life in Brussels, an early attempt to what her best known novel Villette would later become.I don't agree.This work shines in itself, it's the only story in which Charlotte dares to talk through a man's voice. She talks about responsibility, about earning your own success through effort and sacrifice, to defy the strict clichés and the hypocrisy of the English Society and to stand up to your ideals. In this novel, William Crimsworth can be seen as a mere strict teacher or as a revolutionary who chooses her wife-to-be because of her intellect and not because of her looks or her position. And later, he lets her grow professionally to work together as good companions, elbow by elbow, always treating her like an equal.I loved the message the book tries to convey, that work, perseverance and fair values lead you to a happy outcome. As worthy as any other of Charlotte's works, even more so, as I think this book talks more about the writer's own view of life than any other of her novels.

Review by

Charlotte Bronte made several unsuccessful attempts to have "The Professor," her earliest work published. I can see why it was only published after her death (and numerous rewrites) as it really isn't a great novel.The story follows William Crimsworth, a man (like her female characters) who is thrown to the wild and forced to find his own fortune. He becomes a teacher in Brussels and the plot moves on from there.It really takes a long time for the book to get going -- her long blocks of descriptive passages become a grind fairly quickly. While there is an interesting story buried in the book, it just drags out at such a slow pace that it really wasn't an enjoyable read.Also disappointing that this edition does not have a translation of the French phrases in the back. While I could follow the general gist of the conversations in French, there is a crucial scene with Frances Henri that really needed to be translated (or read by someone who knows French, which I don't.)Overall, this is book for Charlotte Bronte completists only.

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