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The Professor (Classics)

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The Professor was the first novel by Charlotte Brontë. It was originally written before Jane Eyre and rejected by many publishing houses, but was eventually published posthumously in 1857. The book is the story of a young man, William Crimsworth. It describes his maturation, his loves and his eventual career as a professor at an all-girl's school. The story is based upon The Professor was the first novel by Charlotte Brontë. It was originally written before Jane Eyre and rejected by many publishing houses, but was eventually published posthumously in 1857. The book is the story of a young man, William Crimsworth. It describes his maturation, his loves and his eventual career as a professor at an all-girl's school. The story is based upon Charlotte Brontë's experiences in Brussels, where she studied as a language student in 1842.


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The Professor was the first novel by Charlotte Brontë. It was originally written before Jane Eyre and rejected by many publishing houses, but was eventually published posthumously in 1857. The book is the story of a young man, William Crimsworth. It describes his maturation, his loves and his eventual career as a professor at an all-girl's school. The story is based upon The Professor was the first novel by Charlotte Brontë. It was originally written before Jane Eyre and rejected by many publishing houses, but was eventually published posthumously in 1857. The book is the story of a young man, William Crimsworth. It describes his maturation, his loves and his eventual career as a professor at an all-girl's school. The story is based upon Charlotte Brontë's experiences in Brussels, where she studied as a language student in 1842.

30 review for The Professor (Classics)

  1. 5 out of 5

    La Petite Américaine

    Every time I finish a Charlotte Bronte novel, my heart pounds and my mind is disoriented. After reaching the end of her stories, closing her pages for the last time, and remembering the long passages written out in long-hand, it's all like slowly surfacing from the depths of another world, and you're back home in reality, not quite sure you want to be there. Although it doesn't have the exquisite tragedy of Villette or the kick-ass karate-chop combos of romance, ghosts, crazy ladies in the Every time I finish a Charlotte Bronte novel, my heart pounds and my mind is disoriented. After reaching the end of her stories, closing her pages for the last time, and remembering the long passages written out in long-hand, it's all like slowly surfacing from the depths of another world, and you're back home in reality, not quite sure you want to be there. Although it doesn't have the exquisite tragedy of Villette or the kick-ass karate-chop combos of romance, ghosts, crazy ladies in the attic, religious nut-jobs, and true love found in Jane Eyre, The Professor is still one hell of a novel. Its themes are common to Bronte's novels: Catholic wickedness (aka, “Romish wizardcraft” in this book -- HAHAHA!), relationships among the different social classes, social-restraint, and independence. Illustrating these themes are our upright, plain, poor, and virtuous narrator and his love interest, who are contrasted by the so-goddamn-evil-i-love-her Zoraide Reuter and her equally two-faced and back stabbing boyfriend, M. Pelet. In many ways inferior to Jane Eyre, and in many other ways a "rough draft" of Villette, this novel is probably not the author's best. But I loved it. Why? Because Charlotte Brtone wrote it. Bronte famously wrote that Jane Austen's writing was like "a carefully fenced, highly cultivated garden, with neat borders and delicate flowers: but no glance of a bright, vivid physiognomy, no open country, no fresh air, no blue hill, no bonny beck ... rather, comprehensive, measured, balanced, certainly “highly cultivated.”” What is Bronte then? Her writing is wild, like weeds, growing out of control and wrapping around you eyes, heart, and mind, but she planted those weeds and cultivated them just as carefully as Austen cultivated her garden -- but with more skill. Bronte gets you in a snare from which you cannot break free. Her words, her writing, her storytelling are all overpowering in their savageness. When you try to release yourself (it's called putting the book down) you'll find your heart beating from the rapid ride that she has taken you on ... and you want to jump right back in. Seriously, I love this woman. Favorite writer EVER!!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    Mr. William Crimsworth newly graduated from exclusive Eton College, writes a letter to his one and only friend Charles, about his adventures since both left the school ( Charles never receives it, having departed for parts unknown). William late mother was an aristocrat but having married "beneath her," had been shunned by her family, something common in the unforgiving mid 19th century England. His father was a wealthy businessman until going bankrupt also deceased. What to do? William has an Mr. William Crimsworth newly graduated from exclusive Eton College, writes a letter to his one and only friend Charles, about his adventures since both left the school ( Charles never receives it, having departed for parts unknown). William late mother was an aristocrat but having married "beneath her," had been shunned by her family, something common in the unforgiving mid 19th century England. His father was a wealthy businessman until going bankrupt also deceased. What to do? William has an older brother by ten years Edward, a cold tyrant but rich mill owner he has little seen. Rejecting an offer from Lord Tynedale and the Honorable John Seacombe his maternal uncles, to become a man of the cloth, a rector in a church controlled by Seacombe and even marry one of his six unappealing daughters , young Crimsworth does not like his cousins, they in turn cut loose the ungrateful boy no longer supporting him. So the reluctant distant Edward, gives him a job as a low paying clerk in northern England, a dirty, polluted, ugly town when you can see it through the thick noxious fumes. Translating foreign language business letters, the jealous brother hates the better educated William shows no love, the rich man has little contact with the poor one, kept from Crimsworth Hall... So proper etiquette must be maintained between the two ... the letter ends but life continues, disaster William is dismissed by his enraged brother when an acquaintance, Mr. Hunsden gossips about the ill treatment receives by the younger Mr. Crimsworth. To make amends Mr. Hunsden ( his nefarious plan successful) tells William to travel to Brussels, Belgium, seek better employment and gives him a letter of introduction. Since no other prospects are on the horizon and always wanting to see the continent he complies, receives an offer as an English teacher from the seemingly affable Monsieur Francois Pelet, a Frenchman who owns a boys school in the Belgium capital, does well and later teaches a class next door at the girls school of charming, older Mademoiselle Zoraider Reuter, a native of the country. But conflict appears a love triangle, William and M.Pelet are enamored of the fetching Mademoiselle Reuter though not beautiful, neither is the professor she does sparkle during their romantic walks in her institutes gardens, and enjoys being wanted by the suitors, playing a fun game of causing the men pain...Still the emotions are complicated, more when another enters the scene, Frances Henri a Swiss seamstress living with her old aunt, employed by Mademoiselle Reuter, becomes a pupil in William's English class the not well educated girl, somehow is brilliant the best of his students impossible... the mystery is solved, she had a English mother. The professor starts to like the young shy lady and Zoraider doesn't like this, she is not happy at all. And the school mistress can do much harm... The perplexing Mr. Hunsden arrives in town, curious to discover what his protege has been up to, and the stories revealed...they have not been dull. The inexperienced in life William, learns ( even teachers must too) the mendacity of people ...The great writer Charlotte Bronte's first novel but not published ( you can see why) until she was no more, interesting view of her beginning, the talent is there... in some pages but it just needed more polish and experience to blossom .

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sean Barrs The Ultra Vegan

    I think the best way of approaching this book is to look at is a learning curve for the author. The prose in Jane Eyre is sophisticated and eloquent; it is developed and persuasive: it is powerful, and a points simply beautiful. Charlottes writing in this just isnt at the same level. Perhaps it is because she writes from the perspective of male, a rather bland one at that. The point is there is little point to this book. Jane Eyre is rich in passion and argument. Charlotte was trying to make I think the best way of approaching this book is to look at is a learning curve for the author. The prose in Jane Eyre is sophisticated and eloquent; it is developed and persuasive: it is powerful, and a points simply beautiful. Charlotte’s writing in this just isn’t at the same level. Perhaps it is because she writes from the perspective of male, a rather bland one at that. The point is there is little point to this book. Jane Eyre is rich in passion and argument. Charlotte was trying to make a point; she was trying to show her readership the corruptness of society and the failing of the governess role; she was trying to show how worthy women are and how the misogyny of the mid-nineteenth century chained up their faculties, and left them to rot in intellectual depravity. With the Professor we have a mundane little romance plot and that really is all. There are no fiery exchanges of willpower and a mutual understanding of equal partnership on the basis of individuality. There is just simple, dry, love in all its ordinariness. And I don’t care for it. Where is the passion? Where is the soul’s persecution? Where is the mental haunting, the insane power of finding such a person you can be with on such a level? The story is weak, the writing is weak: the book is weak. This is best considered as an early attempt of writing by someone who would one day learn to write like a true artist. It's only worth a read if you wish to track the author's literary progress.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Barry Pierce

    Charlotte's first attempt at a novel comes across as... well... an attempt. It can be clearly seen that elements from this novel reappear in both Jane Eyre and Villette. However this novel pretty much lacks everything that made both of those novels such classics. It's a basic 19th-century romance novel with Charlotte this time writing from a male POV. Even though this is the second shortest Brontë novel (Agnes Grey is the shortest) it still felt vastly overlong. While bits of humour seep in now Charlotte's first attempt at a novel comes across as... well... an attempt. It can be clearly seen that elements from this novel reappear in both Jane Eyre and Villette. However this novel pretty much lacks everything that made both of those novels such classics. It's a basic 19th-century romance novel with Charlotte this time writing from a male POV. Even though this is the second shortest Brontë novel (Agnes Grey is the shortest) it still felt vastly overlong. While bits of humour seep in now and again, leaving you with a faint smile, they are not enough to save this somewhat boring misstep. On the plus side however, this is a fairly easy read and won't trouble anyone who isn't familiar with Victorian literature. Reading it though will explain to you why this wasn't published in Charlotte's lifetime.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The Professor, Charlotte Brontë The Professor, A Tale. was the first novel by Charlotte Brontë. It was written before Jane Eyre, but was rejected by many publishing houses. It was eventually published, posthumously, in 1857, with the approval of Charlotte Brontë's widower, Arthur Bell Nicholls, who took on the task of reviewing and editing the text. The novel is the story of a young man, William Crimsworth, and is a first-person narrative from his perspective. It describes his maturation, his The Professor, Charlotte Brontë The Professor, A Tale. was the first novel by Charlotte Brontë. It was written before Jane Eyre, but was rejected by many publishing houses. It was eventually published, posthumously, in 1857, with the approval of Charlotte Brontë's widower, Arthur Bell Nicholls, who took on the task of reviewing and editing the text. The novel is the story of a young man, William Crimsworth, and is a first-person narrative from his perspective. It describes his maturation, his career as a teacher in Brussels, and his personal relationships. The story starts with a letter William has sent to his friend Charles, detailing his rejection of his uncle's proposal that he become a clergyman, as well as his first meeting with his rich brother Edward. Seeking work as a tradesman, William is offered the position of a clerk by Edward. However, Edward is jealous of William's education and intelligence, and treats him terribly. Through the actions of the sympathetic Mr Hunsden William is relieved of his post, but starts a new job at a boys' boarding school in Belgium. The school is run by the friendly Monsieur Pelet, who treats William kindly and politely. Soon William's merits as a "professor" reach the ears of the headmistress of the neighboring girls' school. Mademoiselle. Reuter offers him a position at her school, which he accepts. Initially captivated by her, William begins to entertain ideas of falling in love with her, but then he overhears her and Monsieur Pelet talking about their upcoming marriage and their deceitful treatment of him. William begins to treat Mademoiselle Reuter with cold civility as he sees her underlying nature. She, however, continues to try to draw him back in by pretending to be benevolent and concerned. She asks him to teach one of her young teachers, Frances, who hopes to improve her skill in languages. William sees promising intelligence in this pupil and slowly begins to fall in love with her. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز شانزدهم ماه آگوست سال 2015 میلادی عنوان: پروفسور؛ نویسنده: شارلوت برونته؛ مترجم: اسماعیل کیوانی؛ تهران، نشر جامی؛ تاریخ نشر: 23 تیر، 1392 تعداد صفحه: 344 ؛ شابک: 9786001760693؛ عنوان: پروفسور؛ نویسنده : شارلوت برونته؛ مترجم : بنفشه جعفر؛ تهران، نشر روزگار؛ 1394، در 358؛ شابک: 9789643745370؛ عنوان: پروفسور؛ اثر: شارلوت برونته؛ مترجم: رضا رضایی؛ تهران، نشر نی؛ چاپ چهارم 1397؛ در 344 صفحه؛ کتاب «پروفسور» ماجرای زندگی مردی جوان است، و داستان از زبان راوی اول شخص روایت می‌‌شود. «شارلوت برونته» در این کتاب، بلوغ این مرد جوان، و ماجراهای عشقی و شغلی‌ اش را در مدرسه‌ ای دخترانه بیان می‌کند. داستان «پروفسور» همانند سایر داستان‌های «شارلوت برونته» در واقع آیینه زندگی خود او بوده، و نمایشگر احوال روحی و حالات درونی، و چکیده احساسات ایشانست، که اوضاع رقتبار زمان خود را با چیره‌ دستی ویژه ای به زیر ذره‌ بین نقد قرار داده، و در برابر وضع نابسامان آن زمان از خود واکنش نشان می‌دهد. طنزنویسی و عبارات نیش‌دار ایشان به خیلی از مقامات برمی‌خورد، و آن‌ها را رنجیده و آزرده خاطر می‌ساخت، ولی نویسنده دست از انتقاد برنداشته، و به کار خویش ادامه می‌دهد. نکته ی جالب توجه این است با این‌که «شارلوت» خود یک زن بوده، ولی اخلاق و روحیات و خواسته‌ های یک مرد را، به طرز قابل تأمل و تحسین‌ برانگیزی به رشته واژه ها درآورده است، که این خود مهارت و زبردستی ایشان را در نگارش کتاب «پروفسور» می‌رساند. سرگذشت خواهران «برونته» و آثار آنان موجب گردید، که سایر نویسندگان درباره ی آن‌ها قلمفرسایی کرده، و کتابهاس بسیاری راجع به زندگی آن‌ها بنویسند. نقل از متن: «در طلوع صبح سرد ژانویه با عجله از خانه خانم کینگ به طرف کلوز به راه افتادم، و از خیابان سراشیب یخ زده عبور کرده، و به کارخانه رسیدم. در آن هنگام با خود می‌اندیشیدم که در مورد صفات افراد، چه از نظر احساسات و عواطف، و چه از نظر حالت و موقعیت در زندگی آن‌ها، اوج و منتها درجه‌ ای وجود دارد. کارگران یک ساعت قبل از من، به سر کار خود آمده بودند، و هنگامی که به آنجا رسیدم، چراغ‌های کارخانه روشن و کارها شروع شده بود. مانند همیشه به کار خود مشغول شدم. بخاری گرچه روشن بود، امّا دود می‌کرد، و استیتن هنوز نیامده بود. من در اتاق را بسته و پشت میز خود قرار گرفتم، دست‌هایم را که تازه با آب سرد شسته بودم، هنوز بی‌حس و کرخت بودند، و تا وقتی که گرم نشده، و به حال اول خود برنگشتند، نتوانستم کار کنم، لذا در این مدت کوتاه به فکر فرو رفتم، موضوعی که درباره‌ اش فکر می‌کردم، همان «اوج تحمل مشکلات» بود. اندیشه ناراضی بودن از زندگی و مقابله با مشکلات آن.»؛ پایان نقل. ا. شربیانی

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nishat

    In the midst of life, we are in death. Charlotte Brontë died untimely, three weeks before her 39th birthday. The Professor, the first novel Charlotte had written, was published posthumously in 1857. A man is master of himself to a certain point, but not beyond it. Orphaned in infancy, William Crimsworth had been receiving meager support from his deceased mother's aristocratic brothers. Upon his graduation from Eton, William parts away, in contempt for his abhorrent uncles and seeks employment from In the midst of life, we are in death. Charlotte Brontë died untimely, three weeks before her 39th birthday. The Professor, the first novel Charlotte had written, was published posthumously in 1857. “A man is master of himself to a certain point, but not beyond it.” Orphaned in infancy, William Crimsworth had been receiving meager support from his deceased mother's aristocratic brothers. Upon his graduation from Eton, William parts away, in contempt for his abhorrent uncles and seeks employment from his tyrannical brother. Enduring harsh blows of fate, William eventually departs for Brussels and accepts teaching as a career as Charlotte once did in her life. There he meets his future wife, Frances Henri and together they strive to render meaning to their shared lives. The professor, despite repeated efforts of the author, is a poorly conceived, first attempt of a young novelist at telling a story from an unpolished, under developed male perspective. While the gender issues posed by this work allure the readers, Charlotte's characters are nevertheless unnatural both in speech and act. However Charlotte succeeds to an extent in understanding gender relations and portraying convincingly male dominance and sexual suppression.. “That to begin with; let respect be the foundation, affection the first floor, love the superstructure" While Charlotte's attempt at voicing an exemplary, conscientious man had been unsuccessful, she triumphed at drawing compelling, spirited female characters. The professor, not necessarily exhibiting the best of Charlotte Brontë, may serve as an introduction to Victorian literature.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    I have always found Charlotte Brontes anger to be subversive. The rage that drives the machine, her understanding of the particular being so needlepoint sharp that it becomes universal. But she hasnt got it yet. Not here. Its all the same material, the same sentiments were used to, but she is at once wearing too many masks to be truthful and speaking with the memory of slights too raw for them to be useful. She cant quite name and point to the root of her anger yet- whether thats because her I have always found Charlotte Bronte’s anger to be subversive. The rage that drives the machine, her understanding of the particular being so needlepoint sharp that it becomes universal. But she hasn’t got it yet. Not here. It’s all the same material, the same sentiments we’re used to, but she is at once wearing too many masks to be truthful and speaking with the memory of slights too raw for them to be useful. She can’t quite name and point to the root of her anger yet- whether that’s because her publisher made her pull her punches (as is suggested in the forward) or because she isn’t there yet as a writer, I don’t know. But this felt like the thinly veiled diary of a particularly smart teenager who is still reliving her anger rather than being able to reflect on it and use it. I found her use of a male mask to be particularly debilitating here. Her young professor, William, is not generally believable as a man in any way. It is, for instance, clear to me that she has not much idea of how men interact with each other (which of course is reflective of her own experience of the world). And beyond him, most of the rest of the cast are mere shadows of what’s to come, in Jane and Lucy. I enjoyed Hunsden, deus-ex-smug-jackass that he was. It was also an interesting commentary that Bronte tried to resist using him that way, but couldn’t do so and then deny the reality of what would have happened to William without him or someone equally unlikely coming along. Frances really came into her own with a few speeches just at the end that were glimmers of Lucy, though it had to peek out from behind lines like “it pleased her to make me the master in all things,” after describing in detail her competence and utter lack of need for the protagonist to be any such thing. (PS on this theme though the “you’re the master” stuff between them that’s repeated just a litttttlllee too much and goes just a litttttleee too far for me not to read some kink into it, especially given the letters we *know* she wrote to that teacher she had a crush on. Don’t @ me with your charges of anachronisms.) I think we also have to mention that you’ll need to endure a good deal of racist judgment of various ethnicities present during the character’s stay in Brussels, with particular emphasis on the “Popish morals” of any character who happens to be Catholic (complete, I swear to God, with a line along the lines of “I’m the last person to be a religious bigot, but....”). I think it is not an accident that the woman our protagonist gets together with is ultimately Protestant and half-English. It’s not just once, either. When I saw her start to describe new characters I’d sometimes flip a few pages ahead to when I thought she might have done with her thoughts one the national character of the Flemish. (The Flemish come in for the most insults by far, for some reason.) There’s some attempt to indicate opposition to these views by both Frances and Hundsen late in the novel, so it may not be entirely editorial position, but it was rather too little, too late to fully convince me. While of course we know time and place, these sections made me think less of the young Charlotte. I don’t remember any of this in Jane Eyre or Villette (other than the standard shorthand of “French lady” for “questionable morals” that is eyerollingly common for this period of Brit lit.) The writing is earnest, the plot is just almost charmingly straightforward, it’s all just... nice but not there yet. And I think Charlotte herself would have agreed. She’s a fantastic example of the idea that writers often really only tell one story. They just get better at it. Unless you are a completionist, hie thee to Villette and don’t look back. You’ll thank me later.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Whispering Stories

    This title was a lot harder going than I was expecting, being a lifelong fan of Jane Eyre. This is a fine example of an author honing their craft, knowing the masterpiece that Bronte would write later in her life. The story follows William Crimsworth from his humble beginnings, to his career as a teacher and eventual marriage to the woman he loves. Though intended to be a sympathetic hero, Crimsworth is very judgemental and xenophobic (he doesnt think highly of women or anyone who isnt English) This title was a lot harder going than I was expecting, being a lifelong fan of Jane Eyre. This is a fine example of an author honing their craft, knowing the masterpiece that Bronte would write later in her life. The story follows William Crimsworth from his humble beginnings, to his career as a teacher and eventual marriage to the woman he loves. Though intended to be a sympathetic hero, Crimsworth is very judgemental and xenophobic (he doesn’t think highly of women or anyone who isn’t English) character and goes on at some length about how superior he is to absolutely everyone. Knowing that this story is the main basis for Charlotte Bronte’s other book, Vilette, which is told from the perspective of a female main character – I can safely say that I prefer this plot as narrated by a character who isn’t a prat. While this book did lack the underlying passion and angst that Bronte became so brilliant at writing later on, I did find some of the dialogue quite entertaining and more direct than I necessarily expect from a Victorian novel. On a practical note, I would mention that the font size in this particular edition (9781847497178) is smaller than a standard book. For me, this was a bit of an issue as I struggle with eye strain though it may not be an issue for most other people.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl Kennedy

    This is Charlotte Bronte's first novel. She chose to write in a male voice with his concerns for a livelihood, his freedom to choose a vocation, authority to insist on compensation, and his refusal to accept and believe disrespectful pronouncements from others. His search for the employment that suited his soul continued his meeger existence, but his freedom to persist was unlike the females of the time. It is for these reasons that Bronte chose a male persona for her debut. In 1846 the This is Charlotte Bronte's first novel. She chose to write in a male voice with his concerns for a livelihood, his freedom to choose a vocation, authority to insist on compensation, and his refusal to accept and believe disrespectful pronouncements from others. His search for the employment that suited his soul continued his meeger existence, but his freedom to persist was unlike the females of the time. It is for these reasons that Bronte chose a male persona for her debut. In 1846 the antithesis was true for women, especially female authors. It was the Bronte Sisters view that women were treated differently from male authors by critics who flattered rather than praised their works. With success as the ultimate goal, Charlotte wrote in a gender that alluded her in life. Her first outing as an author was about a young man without family financial support. Deaths of parents awarded his older brother the family business. With little education and knowledge of how to decide on a vocation, "he that is low need fear no fall". But fall he did. The arc of his life is the story of "The Professor". Recommended for the words, writing style, world view, and struggles different but somehow recognizable today. "I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will." Charlotte Bronte

  10. 4 out of 5

    Skylar Burris

    What if Jane Eyre had been written from the point of view of Rochester? Would he have seemed more manipulative, more self-centered? Would readers have allowed themselves to be swept away by Jane's passion, and to desire its fruition? In The Professor, Charlotte Bronte narrates the tale from the viewpoint of the male protagonist, and I must confess to finding him frequently unsympathetic. Without seeing this character from the eyes of his affection's object, it is difficult to appreciate him. He What if Jane Eyre had been written from the point of view of Rochester? Would he have seemed more manipulative, more self-centered? Would readers have allowed themselves to be swept away by Jane's passion, and to desire its fruition? In The Professor, Charlotte Bronte narrates the tale from the viewpoint of the male protagonist, and I must confess to finding him frequently unsympathetic. Without seeing this character from the eyes of his affection's object, it is difficult to appreciate him. He too often comes off sounding pious and condescending. There are moments when the narrator acknowledges his vulnerabilities, but this is usually in order to display his virtue in resisting temptation. Like Jane Eyre, the professor insists on following the stern voice of conscience rather than the warm pull of passion, and the moral of both books is the same: flee temptation. The Professor, however, is more obviously evenagelical than Bronte's later work, and these scenes of moral struggle and victory appear more strained, more self-satisfied than in Jane Eyre. The difference may simply be one of narration; perhaps I am more inclined to accept didacticism from a female narrator than from a male, authoritarian voice. The professor's strength is less impressive, perhaps, because he is less vulnerable in 19th century society than a woman would be. The risks he takes for his values are smaller than the risks Jane Eyre assumes. More importantly, his resistance of temptation sometimes smacks more of pride than of virtue. He seems alternately dominering and liberal; indeed, the book as a whole contains a rather odd mixture of feminism and male authoritarianism. Despite my inability to fully relate to and admire the protagonist, and despite the annoyance of repeated anti-Catholic thrusts, I found this book to be interesting. It does have many moments of penetrating insight, couched in almost poetic language. I was impressed by the way Bronte weaved scripture and literary allusion so constantly into her work. And the book is well enough written to keep me curious of the outcome, even if I do not precisely adore the narrator. The other primary character, Frances, appears at first docile and then suddenly seems transformed into a vocal feminist. She appears to feel her inferiority and then to assert her perogative. We do not get to know her as we know Jane Eyre, because we can only see her through the eyes of the professor, and his narration seems, at times, slightly unreliable. I do not know that Bronte intended it to be; but as a reader, I hesitate to accept fully the narrator's pronouncement on all matters. The Professor, Bronte's first novel, was never published in her own lifetime. But it is, in fact, more concise and better structured than Jane Eyre. Nevertheless, the book is simply not as likeable as Bronte's later classic. It is an enjoyable and comparatively easy read, but it does not make as profound an impression on the mind. Indeed, there is a sort of feeling of incompletness to the tale. As a reader, I got the impression that the narrator was, at the close of the novel, painting a happy picture of marital harmony, but underneath this seemed to course tiny hints of something darker. That something darker may have been a figment of my imagination, or it may have been an undeveloped theme. One of the most interesting characters in the book, however, is certainly undeveloped. Hundsen makes an appearance towards the beginning of the novel, disappearing from the tale for many chapters, before returning to capture the reader's interest once again. He is sometimes likeable, at others off-putting, depending on the lens of the narrator, and he seems to demand a book unto himself. This, however, we do not receive, and we are left instead with the story of the professor.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Very early effort which reads like a practice run for later novels like Villette and Jane Eyre (which reminds me, I must read Villette again). It is an engaging first person narrative in which William Crimsworth describes his young adulthood and his attempts to earn his living. We learn about his grim family and Bronte uses her experience teaching in Brussels when Crimsworth moves there to teach. Most of the novel revolves around Brussels and the world of the small teaching establishments. The Very early effort which reads like a practice run for later novels like Villette and Jane Eyre (which reminds me, I must read Villette again). It is an engaging first person narrative in which William Crimsworth describes his young adulthood and his attempts to earn his living. We learn about his grim family and Bronte uses her experience teaching in Brussels when Crimsworth moves there to teach. Most of the novel revolves around Brussels and the world of the small teaching establishments. The novel doesn’t move at any great pace and we see Crimsworth through romance, dense pupils, and difficult employers to eventual independence, marriage and his own school. The last chapter packs a great deal into a short space of time and it feels like a sketch for extending the novel by another couple of hundred pages. There are some interesting themes in the novel. Bronte clearly has issues with Catholics and Belgian youth. However, her view of an ideal marriage is noteworthy. When Crimsworth asks Frances Evans Henri to marry him, she is very clear that she will only marry him if she can be independent of him, earning her own money. Crimsworth readily agrees and keeps to the agreement (unlike many men of the time I suspect). This was quite radical for the time. The ideas are roughly sketched and developed in later novels. It is also a bit reminiscent of the Victorian self help books; hard work and self-reliance win out over the bonds of family and community. It is an easy, pleasant enough read which I enjoyed for what it was; an early effort.

  12. 4 out of 5

    April (Aprilius Maximus)

    DNF at 20%. The first 20% that I read didnt hold my attention and Id rather read something that I know Ill enjoy rather than this which I already know wont get more than 3 stars from me, ya feel me? DNF at 20%. The first 20% that I read didn’t hold my attention and I’d rather read something that I know I’ll enjoy rather than this which I already know won’t get more than 3 stars from me, ya feel me?

  13. 5 out of 5

    J.G. Keely

    This book starts off promisingly enough, but as the character grows less sympathetic and the plot draws out predictably, much of the charm is lost. Perhaps it was not unexpected that I would be drawn into the plight of a young, educated man thrust out alone into the world with no prospects, forced to work pointless jobs for frustratingly inept employers for subsistence. It mirrors not only my experiences, but that of most of my generation. Unfortunately, our narrator becomes a rather stuck-up This book starts off promisingly enough, but as the character grows less sympathetic and the plot draws out predictably, much of the charm is lost. Perhaps it was not unexpected that I would be drawn into the plight of a young, educated man thrust out alone into the world with no prospects, forced to work pointless jobs for frustratingly inept employers for subsistence. It mirrors not only my experiences, but that of most of my generation. Unfortunately, our narrator becomes a rather stuck-up prig as the text goes on, which slowly killed off my sympathy. It wasn't merely that he conducted himself with pride and intelligence; it was his condescension and self-assuredness that soured the taste. He read into every word and expression, giving the reader an absurd amount of subtext about glances or pauses. He also professed that his certainty in psychology allowed him to manipulate others, by which he meant snide, callous remarks, a cold shoulder, and a childish inability to keep himself in check. It was like people who write in their dating profile: "I'm interested in psychology, because I have always been really good at reading people" despite the fact that they are not good enough at psychology to recognize that this makes them sound naive and pretentious. So, there certainly was a comical aspect to his arrogant ineptitude, but conceited prigs rarely make for very good romantic interests. Sure, Austen did it with Darcy, but she knew that the secret was to make his prickly exterior an embittered defense to the false, superficial world around him and give him a good heart despite it all. It's not that The Professor was a bad man, merely that he wasn't interesting enough to overcome his defects. Bronte's messages were also a bit underwhelming. I found delight in the unintentional humor of her mistrust of Continental ways and those devilish Papists in particular, but this was hardly a mark in her favor. Likewise, the feminist aspects were a bit confused. One female character is strong, but only inasmuch as she is a heartless manipulator. The main love interest is also strong, occasionally moving to defend herself and her ideas, but she is mainly characterized as being our protagonist's devoted subservient--she never argues with him, of course. Now some of this I must chalk up to the narrator's unreliability. The case that the first woman is heartless and the second woman subservient are things we mostly have to take his word for. Given the circumstances as they are given, it seems more like he makes groundless assumptions, seeing the world in stark black and white and revolving around him. He also meets a friend on the way, a man who is equally as stuck up and sure of himself, and throughout their dialogues they seem constantly to sneer superiority at one another's faults. That neither is capable of recognizing in himself what he laments in authors. If tackled with a more satirical style, this could have been a very effective book, lampooning a world of naive, short-sighted people lost in ungrounded assumptions and misunderstandings. As it was, Bronte kept the sentimental, romantic heart of the book. Since we could not take the characters entirely lightly, we had to take them somewhat seriously, which resulted in a story of dumb, somewhat dull characters living out a standard romance plot.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Piyangie

    The Professor is Charlotte Bronte's first written novel though not published till after her death. To me, it is ironical for I found a more interesting story here than in Jane Eyer. The Professor tells the story of William Crimsworth whose circumstances turned him to a teacher and who with courage, perseverance and self control and by relying in his education, skills and intelligence lifts him up from poverty and dependency. Simultaneously it is also a sweet love story. Though this is a short The Professor is Charlotte Bronte's first written novel though not published till after her death. To me, it is ironical for I found a more interesting story here than in Jane Eyer. The Professor tells the story of William Crimsworth whose circumstances turned him to a teacher and who with courage, perseverance and self control and by relying in his education, skills and intelligence lifts him up from poverty and dependency. Simultaneously it is also a sweet love story. Though this is a short novel, the reader can see Victorian themes of love, jealousy, envy, flirtation, ambition, tyranny, honesty, morality are all artfully included. It can be said that this book is almost a model Victorian Novel. Written in Bronte's preferred first person narrative, William tells his story as plainly and unreservedly as possible. The narrative is strong, powerful and passionate; yet also controlled. And interestingly I found this writing style to suit the male voice very well. Virginia Woolf, in a Room of One's Own says that Charlotte Bronte writes in anger. There is some truth to Virginia's remark. Charlotte Bronte vents out her frustration, dissatisfaction, the social injustice that is caused by class and gender differences quite strongly in her writing. And while it might not suit to a Victorian female voice, it suits well a Victorian male when he is the narrative and the protagonist. Imbued with beautifully written prose, precision in structure, smooth flow, the powerful and controlled narrative and the different yet interesting characters, the story was quite engaging. I found all aspects in the novel - writing, characters and the story line to be in perfect harmony. This would have easily been a five star rating to me had not Bronte willfully ventured in to a long and tedious final chapter to describe the marital bliss and the happy ending which kind of destroyed the controlled manner in which the story was unfolded and affected the perfect balance which was kept up until that point.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dolors

    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 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.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dannii Elle

    Actual rating 3.5/5 stars. It's no Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, or The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, but is an enjoyable enough read and full of that Bronte knack for providing an in-depth societal examination without ever seeming to actually do so.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Giss Golabetoon

    I didnt ever think I will have to write a feminist review on any work of Brontes, but here I am. I know Charlotte through Jane Eyre and I know her through Virginia Woolf. And we both agree that Charlotte is smart. Her ideas are smart, so are her word and her notions. This is all good, but personally I believe that smart people know better, that they cannot possibly be sexist or racist, even if they are bound by their geography and their time, I want to believe in a world where if your society is I didn’t ever think I will have to write a feminist review on any work of Bronte’s, but here I am. I know Charlotte through Jane Eyre and I know her through Virginia Woolf. And we both agree that Charlotte is smart. Her ideas are smart, so are her word and her notions. This is all good, but personally I believe that smart people know better, that they cannot possibly be sexist or racist, even if they are bound by their geography and their time, I want to believe in a world where if your society is sexist and racist, and you’re a smart woman, you write to fix it, especially when you have the words. But, alas, she let me down, despite her words being uplifting, her mind wasn’t in the right place. The hero is a man, and man! He is sexist beyond reason and he despises all nations that are not English, all women are ugly, noisy, deceitful and of course in search of a husband,but they cannot take him over, no! And all nations are coarse and rude and speak English badly, (even though his French sucks!) and his utopia is England even though he was forced to leave it because of its pointless patriarchal rules. And the sad thing in all of this is that the next time I pick up Jane Eyre, I wouldn’t be able to look at it the same way, and I am much too afraid of finding traces of sexism and racism there too and I would not like it, and it wouldn’t be fair because Charlotte won’t be here to defend herself.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    I can see why Charlotte could never get this published. The Professor was her first outing as an author, or at least her attempted first outing. And oh my, does it read like a first attempt. The way I see it, this is essentially poorly conceived Charlotte/Monsieur Heger fanfiction. For those of you who dont know, whilst she was studying in Brussels, Charlotte became slightly obsessed with her (married) Belgian tutor, Monsieur Heger. She did eventually confess her feelings to him via a string of I can see why Charlotte could never get this published. The Professor was her first outing as an author, or at least her attempted first outing. And oh my, does it read like a first attempt. The way I see it, this is essentially poorly conceived Charlotte/Monsieur Heger fanfiction. For those of you who don’t know, whilst she was studying in Brussels, Charlotte became slightly obsessed with her (married) Belgian tutor, Monsieur Heger. She did eventually confess her feelings to him via a string of suggestive letters - but he never replied. Poor Charlotte. She had it bad. Apparently her solution to this Monsieur Heger-induced depression was to write speculative fiction as to what might have been. The lukewarm ‘romance’ within The Professor, however, doesn’t quite cut it for me. There’s no passion, no fiery dialogue. I don’t believe for a second that this in any way resembles Charlotte’s real fantasies. Perhaps she was just being cautious, testing the water as it were before she wrote anything vaguely truthful - but the result is a relatively dry novel that’s certainly never emotionally compelling. The publisher Smith, Elder & Co. however saw some potential and offered Charlotte the prospect of publication… on the grounds she could actually write something half decent. Enter Jane Eyre. Hallelujah! The tepid teacher/student relationship was transformed into that sensuous love story we all know and love. In many ways, The Professor was recycled into Jane Eyre and served as a rehearsal for Villette. So I guess we should be grateful for The Professor’s failure - we have it to thank for the sheer awesomeness of Charlotte’s other works. The main problem I had with this is the unappealing narrative perspective: I hated William Crimsworth. Besides being devoid of soul, he’s slimy, unsympathetic and so up himself. His xenophobia just gets in the way - it serves no other purpose than as a handy plot device. Instead of proof of someone actually doing something unprincipled, we’re expected to accept William’s assertion that someone just is unprincipled - because they’re Flemish and can’t make a proper cup of tea (it’s important to us Brits) or, God forbid, they’re Catholic. Charlotte’s prejudices really shine through here, especially her aversion to ‘Romish witchcraft’ (Catholicism, mwah ha ha…) Which is very ironic - when she was in Brussels, she felt so bad about about fancying Monsieur Heger that she actually went to Confession. Hypocrite. And that’s not the only instance of double standards. The Professor is a bizarre blend of feminism and male authoritarianism. Frances Henri is said to be Charlotte’s most realistic feminist heroine and I actually agree. Her circumstances are much less extraordinary than Jane Eyre’s or Lucy Snowe’s, and her attitude to work, especially after marriage, is very different. She is however a devoted subservient to William, and insists on relentlessly addressing him as ‘Master’ or ‘Monsieur’ (view spoiler)[ even after they’re married. WTF?! (hide spoiler)] Charlotte was obsessed with power dynamics - especially the romanticised ones. That’s something I appreciated about The Professor: despite the constraints within which Charlotte was writing, it’s very insightful into her emotional life. I also think Charlotte picked the wrong characters to focus on. This is a distinguished writer whose powers in characterisation are unparalleled, in my opinion - and yet her two central characters are overwhelmingly bland. The supporting characters however are fascinating - they had visible substance, I didn’t have to rely off William’s obsession with physiognomy to get a sense of their personality. Oh they're great, I loved them so much. Mr Hunsden is related to Lord Henry from The Picture of Dorian Gray, I swear - and the Mademoiselle Reuter/ M. Pelet dynamic was so entertaining. Why Charlotte didn’t give these characters more screen time (page space?) I don’t know. Charlotte Brontë wrote this - of course there was something I inevitably enjoyed. She has a lovely rich (though at times, superficial) writing style and her setting is so atmospheric. It’s tenderly written, and though not outright witty, there are rare instances of warm humour that just about elicit a faint smile. Ultimately, this novel just feels pointless. There’s no drive to it, no purpose. It’s lacking any evidence of Charlotte’s passion for writing. An ambiguous ending doesn’t help - it’s almost as though she just gave up. (Perhaps she did.) Other things to mention: 1) For its shortness as a novel, it felt overly long. Be warned, the plot meanders. 2) There’s also a lot of French. To be completely honest, I think this is only really worth the read if you want to appreciate Charlotte’s astounding growth as a writer. This may also be an excellence source of reassurance for aspiring writers: even Charlotte Brontë wrote crap that no one wanted at first - and look where it got her.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Furqan

    This was Charlotte Bronte's first novel and certainly not one of her finest works. I can see why it was rejected by the publishers several times and was only published posthumously. The novel is narrated in first person by the protagonist, William Crimsworth. It is partly set in a fictional town of Yorkshire and the rest in the city of Brussels, Belgium. The story has a promising start, but plunges into monotony as it progresses. The protagonist's opinion of the inhabitants of Brussels makes a This was Charlotte Bronte's first novel and certainly not one of her finest works. I can see why it was rejected by the publishers several times and was only published posthumously. The novel is narrated in first person by the protagonist, William Crimsworth. It is partly set in a fictional town of Yorkshire and the rest in the city of Brussels, Belgium. The story has a promising start, but plunges into monotony as it progresses. The protagonist's opinion of the inhabitants of Brussels makes a really unpleasant reading. Charlotte based this story upon her own experiences encountered in Brussels as a language student and then as a teacher. The story reflects her hostile prejudices against the Catholic Church and the Flemish culture due to her inadvertent sense of superiority for belonging to Anglicanism and having an English nationality. Then again, I guess she was merely echoing the zeitgiest as a child of the glorious British Empire. Having read Jane Eyre thrice and loving it each time, The Professor was a disappointing creation by a distinguished author. The hero of the story is an austere and conceited figure who lacks the passionate and sympathetic nature of Jane Eyre, even though they both share common circumstances. I don't know about you but I always find it exceedingly difficult to like a book if I am apathetic to the protagonist.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Luís C.

    It is a very nice novel who genuinely devours. I found again the pleasure of reading a book featuring young men up the sleeves facing adversity: I can not prevent me from read it something personal and soak up their energy and their hope. Brontë is probably more projected in his female heroine. We finally found this vision of the boarding school as both a closed place subject to the tyranny of its leader and as an idyllic place. 3 & 1/2 Stars.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cleo

    2 1/2 stars for mind-numbing moralizing and an intolerance for any personality less than perfect.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Curie

    "That to begin with; let respect be the foundation, affection the first floor, love the superstructure." I'm going to start this off saying that Jane Eyre is one of my favorite novels, and I was looking forward to reading more of Charlotte Brontë's work. It only took me a few pages to feel the comfort of her beautiful wordings and elaborate descriptions and the familiarity that came with indulging in it. It only took a few more pages, however, for that effect to wear off, and the issues I had "That to begin with; let respect be the foundation, affection the first floor, love the superstructure." I'm going to start this off saying that Jane Eyre is one of my favorite novels, and I was looking forward to reading more of Charlotte Brontë's work. It only took me a few pages to feel the comfort of her beautiful wordings and elaborate descriptions and the familiarity that came with indulging in it. It only took a few more pages, however, for that effect to wear off, and the issues I had with the plot took over my feelings towards this book. The Professor is the author's debut novel, which was rejected repeatedly and only published two years after her death. Upon its first released, it received mainly unfavorable feedback and only much later gained approval and the status of a classic. We follow Williams Crimsworth, an English teacher who teaches at an all-girls' school in Brussels, where he falls in love with one of his pupils. "I sought her eye, desirous to read there the intelligence which I could not discern in her face or hear in her conversation; it was merry, rather small; by turns I saw vivacity, vanity, coquetry, look out through its irid, but I watched in vain for a glimpse of soul." The premise of this sounded way more interesting than the plot turned out to be - the characters never felt quite intricate enough to evoke any emotion in me and the twists and developments too annoying and clumsily played out to build up tension. In that respect, this is a proper debut novel and nothing I would recommend to anyone who isn't interested about Brontë's evolution as a writer. For those who are though, The Professor gives an interesting glimpse into Charlotte Brontë's personal life. She, just like the protagonist in this, was a teacher of English at a Brussels boarding school. The school was run by Constantin Héger (and his wife), for whom she is suspected to having developed feelings. I don't regret reading The Professor and even though I had to drag myself through it, it hasn't diminished my love for Charlotte's Brontë and I am still looking forward reading the of her work.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    (Note to self: Approach posthumously published books with caution.) This held a promising start for methe description of William Crimsworths abuse from his uncles, his brothers hatred, his sparse and tedious life as a clerk, and his relationship with the curious Mr. Hunsden. Then it took a nosedive when he arrives in Belgium to work as a teacher. Charlotte lost me when she spent way too much time in condescending description of the country and each person William meets. I was bored and, frankly, (Note to self: Approach posthumously published books with caution.) This held a promising start for me—the description of William Crimsworth’s abuse from his uncles, his brother’s hatred, his sparse and tedious life as a clerk, and his relationship with the curious Mr. Hunsden. Then it took a nosedive when he arrives in Belgium to work as a teacher. Charlotte lost me when she spent way too much time in condescending description of the country and each person William meets. I was bored and, frankly, uncomfortable. “The second class were British English, of these I did not encounter half a dozen during the whole time of my attendance at the seminary; their characteristics were, clean but careless dress, ill-arranged hair (compared with the tight and trim foreigners), erect carriage, flexible figures, white and taper hands, features more irregular but also more intellectual than those of the Belgiums, grave and modest countenances, a general air of naïve propriety and decency; by this last circumstance alone I could at a glance distinguish the daughter of Albion and nursling of Protestantism from the foster-child of Rome …” She went on, and on, and on with these too detailed to be stereotypes stereotypes. I had been looking forward to the love story, but by the time I got to it I was out of the mood. A great writer is capable of not-so-great writing. That’s the reason for the classic image of the writer with the waste basket full of crumpled paper. When it comes to this story, I wish Charlotte had had the chance to put it through at least a few more revisions, or preferably, a complete overhaul.

  24. 4 out of 5

    K.

    3.5 stars. While this is the last of Bronte's novels to be published, it's the first one that she wrote, and it shows. There are hints in the writing of the wonderfulness to come in Jane Eyre, and there are plenty of typical Bronte touches (she really did love her phrenology, didn't she??) in the writing. Really, I think the biggest problem with this is that it's really short. Like, 200 pages kind of short. And the first 50-ish pages is basically "MY LIFE IS SHIT, OKAY?". Once William gets to 3.5 stars. While this is the last of Bronte's novels to be published, it's the first one that she wrote, and it shows. There are hints in the writing of the wonderfulness to come in Jane Eyre, and there are plenty of typical Bronte touches (she really did love her phrenology, didn't she??) in the writing. Really, I think the biggest problem with this is that it's really short. Like, 200 pages kind of short. And the first 50-ish pages is basically "MY LIFE IS SHIT, OKAY?". Once William gets to Belgium, we're treated to a hell of a lot of bizarrely detailed descriptions of how gross his female students are. They're either dressed like slobs or they're unattractive or they're conniving and not particularly bright. So OBVIOUSLY the one student that he's all "Huh. She's not so bad" about is the one that he ends up spending time with. Frankly, for me? Zoraide and her manipulative nature were by far the most compelling part of this book, even though I ultimately enjoyed the relationship that develops between William and Frances.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    This was a slow read for how short it is. I took great pleasure in distrusting William as narrator. There is no way the sedate picture he paints of himself is a true one. I didnt like how this book fixated on the female body. William spends a lot of time meticulously describing various women. This overall reminded me of Villette much less than I expected it to, which was a nice surprise. This was certainly less depressing than Villette - huzzah! Its amazing to think Charlotte Brontë wrote this This was a slow read for how short it is. I took great pleasure in distrusting William as narrator. There is no way the sedate picture he paints of himself is a true one. I didn’t like how this book fixated on the female body. William spends a lot of time meticulously describing various women. This overall reminded me of Villette much less than I expected it to, which was a nice surprise. This was certainly less depressing than Villette - huzzah! It’s amazing to think Charlotte Brontë wrote this first novel then immediately next was Jane Eyre, an immensely superior novel. But The Professor was still well written and entertaining. Don’t forget to read it if you’re a Charlotte Brontë fan!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Subashini

    Charlotte Brontë's first novel, published posthumously, is both imperfect and intriguing. The themes that begin to crystallise her later work, Villette (and to some degree Jane Eyre) are evident here. She uses a male protagonist and the representation is heartfelt but also a bit of a caricature; her writing is beautiful and the obsession with freedom, meaningful work, and love as a meeting of minds, bodies, and souls is one that I've always loved in her work. I had issues with some of the views: Charlotte Brontë's first novel, published posthumously, is both imperfect and intriguing. The themes that begin to crystallise her later work, Villette (and to some degree Jane Eyre) are evident here. She uses a male protagonist and the representation is heartfelt but also a bit of a caricature; her writing is beautiful and the obsession with freedom, meaningful work, and love as a meeting of minds, bodies, and souls is one that I've always loved in her work. I had issues with some of the views: anti-Catholicism, nationalist xenophobia, and William and Frances are guilty of taking a grim view of "old maids". But the latter is perhaps a subconscious strand in Charlotte's work: it seemed like love and passion burned deeply in her, but the flipside is to risk becoming an attic wife (!) or to be the old maid that pines forever. A problematic book, then, but all the more interesting for its problems.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Abigail Bok

    The Professor is a short early novel by Charlotte Bronte based on her experiences at a school in Brussels. Although the protagonist, William Crimsworth, is a man, the story feels like thinly veiled autobiography or at least wish-fulfillment. Bronte uses the popular trope of the orphan of mixed parentage who must make his way alone in the world. Crimsworth is the son of an aristocrat and a merchant, and although his noble relations pay for his education, they cast him off when he won't pursue the The Professor is a short early novel by Charlotte Bronte based on her experiences at a school in Brussels. Although the protagonist, William Crimsworth, is a man, the story feels like thinly veiled autobiography or at least wish-fulfillment. Bronte uses the popular trope of the orphan of mixed parentage who must make his way alone in the world. Crimsworth is the son of an aristocrat and a merchant, and although his noble relations pay for his education, they cast him off when he won't pursue the life path they have laid out for him. He turns to his merchant brother and is rejected there, too. It must be said that he earns some of what comes his way: he has all the cockiness and judgmentalism of youth, and is far more clear about what he doesn't want than about what he does. Nevertheless, a whimsical associate of his merchant brother offers him a path--to travel to Brussels with a letter of introduction and seek employment there. Crimsworth goes and fetches up as a schoolteacher, in which profession he excels, perhaps because of his autocratic temperament. He winds up with dual appointments at neighboring boys' and girls' schools, and at that point we settle down to the meat of the tale. In Jane Eyre we have a heroine with an independent streak determined to follow her own moral compass, and Bronte seems to be reaching for the same kind of character here. But it is hard to escape the thought that Crimsworth brings most of his trouble on himself through his own rude and arrogant behavior, his inflexibility and presumption of superiority in situations where a little humility would win him more friends. He finds some of his associates two-faced and manipulative but is hardly open with them and gradually becomes adept at playing their game. When the heroine comes on the scene, he consistently sits in judgment on her and is attracted by her submissiveness. It seems clear that the heroine is a thinly factionalized Charlotte, and the rest of the story is what she wished to have happened to her in Brussels, not what actually did. This makes the plot sometimes jerky and artificial, as the author struggles to force events onto an unnatural path. In all her novels Bronte seems to regard the master-pupil or master-servant relationship as the ideal model for relations between the sexes, and her portrayal of romance accordingly makes some modern readers, including myself, uncomfortable. She is, of course, writing from a Victorian Christian Evangelical perspective so her model for human relations is not altogether surprising, but in Jane Eyre she problematizes some aspects of that worldview, making the story more dynamic and suspenseful. The Professor is in many ways a more conventional narrative, starting with telling the story from the male point of view, and it falls a little flat. I liked the straightforward style and the (by Victorian standards) velocity of the plot progression, but that may be because I couldn't have stood a whole lot more of William Crimsworth. At the end the story veers into the mawkishly sentimental, which really made me ready for it to be over. This book is a juvenile effort that didn't necessarily need to see the light of day.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tracey

    Charlotte Brontes first novel, although only published posthumously is obviously, and in my opinion not her strongest work, nor is it my favourite, that being Shirley. She did however chose to have a man as her lead character, the only time she did this. William Crimsworth (The professor) is a young man and I feel a pompous ass to my more modern way of thinking. Anyway although I'm certain she got his character, and most men of the time exactly right I much prefer her very strong leading ladies Charlotte Brontes first novel, although only published posthumously is obviously, and in my opinion not her strongest work, nor is it my favourite, that being Shirley. She did however chose to have a man as her lead character, the only time she did this. William Crimsworth (The professor) is a young man and I feel a pompous ass to my more modern way of thinking. Anyway although I'm certain she got his character, and most men of the time exactly right I much prefer her very strong leading ladies such as the afore mentioned Shirley and the timid, yet undaunted Jane of Jane Eyre. This was my final Bronte book which is sad and I wish there were more new ones for me to look forward to, but I intend to re read Villette, a book that I didn't love on first reading due to the huge amount of written french dialogue, which I found distracting. Villette came about as a re working of the professor but with a female as the main protagonist, so with this in mind and knowing that I will have some deciphering to do, I think it deserves a second chance and a slow read next year. All in all a 3.5* for me but rounded up to a 4*.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Terris

    I enjoyed this story of the Professor and his life. I thought it was a little different for Charlotte Bronte since the main character was a man, but I liked it. However, I thought it was a little sweet, what with the nice tidy ending and all (even though I liked it!). I'm thinking that may be what Charlotte wished for her own life.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Liisa

    The Professor is the first novel Charlotte Bronte ever wrote, but the last to published. I feel like Charlotte was still searching for her own style when writing this story and I found it a bit less accomplished than the other novels Ive read from her, but thats to be expected. And its very entertaining nonetheless. The main character being male brought a new view point to the books setting as Ive pretty much only read about it from the womens point of view. It was interesting to see how it The Professor is the first novel Charlotte Bronte ever wrote, but the last to published. I feel like Charlotte was still searching for her own style when writing this story and I found it a bit less accomplished than the other novels I´ve read from her, but that´s to be expected. And it´s very entertaining nonetheless. The main character being male brought a new view point to the book´s setting as I´ve pretty much only read about it from the women´s point of view. It was interesting to see how it might have been for a man to live in the 1800th century England, and in this case The Netherlands as well. The story is straight forward and quite simple, what plot twists Charlotte tried to create were easy to foresee. But that didn´t matter. What I enjoyed most about The Professor is it´s atmosphere, descriptions of the time and place, relationship struggles and in the end, a lovely, heart warming romance. Though something that did bother me somewhat is when Charlotte over described things, or people to be more precise. There are painfully long descriptions of people we would never hear from again. I understand that Charlotte has the skill for writing about the way people look, but enough is enough. Especially for such a short novel. Anyway, reading something from the Bronte sisters always makes me happy. And it was extra interesting to see where Charlotte´s journey to becoming one the world`s best known authors began.

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