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The Professor by Charlotte Bronte

The Professor (original 1857; edition 2018)

by Charlotte Bronte (Author)

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2,486405,057 (3.34)83
The Professor (1857) was Charlotte Bront's first and least regarded novel, rejected by all publishers during her lifetime and published posthumously by her widower A. B. Nicholls. Charlotte herself defended the novel passionately. "I said to myself that my hero should work his way through life as I had seen real living men work theirs -- that he should never get a shilling he had not earned." Indeed, William Crimsworth, the hero, is the self-made master of all his life's ambiguous fortune, including his career as a professor in Brussels, and his true love. Whatever the comparisons to Charlotte Bront's other, more popular novels, The Professor deserves a closer examination and a new reader perspective.… (more)
Title:The Professor
Authors:Charlotte Bronte (Author)
Info:Read Books (2018), 282 pages

Work Information

The Professor by Charlotte Brontë (1857)

  1. 20
    Hard Times by Charles Dickens (CurrerBell)
    CurrerBell: The Professor and Hard Times don't have all that much in common — and even less so do CB and CD have that much in common — but there's an interesting conversational exchange in The Professor, in the last chapter but one, that reminds me of the "reason vs. sensibility" theme in Hard Times.… (more)

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» See also 83 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
[b:The Professor|31175|The Professor|Charlotte Brontë|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1220194504s/31175.jpg|2685446] is [a:Charlotte Brontë|1036615|Charlotte Brontë|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1335001351p2/1036615.jpg]’s first novel, and not surprisingly, not her best. There are glimpses of the genius that would become Charlotte Bronte in this novel, but it has not emerged yet, as it would with her epic, [b:Jane Eyre|10210|Jane Eyre|Charlotte Brontë|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1557343311s/10210.jpg|2977639]. As in [b:Villette|31173|Villette|Charlotte Brontë|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1320412741s/31173.jpg|40852693], she has set her tale abroad, this time in Belgium, and she deals with the life of a man, William Crimsworth, who finds himself teaching English at a school for young women. I must confess that I believe Charlotte Bronte is far better at fashioning female protagonists than male ones.

Bronte, in what seems to be the be a very affected manner, resorts to writing some of the dialogue in French, and while I wish that I were conversant in French and could read it without missing a beat, my school days are far behind me and even then the textbook French I knew would no doubt have let me down. So, at some crucial times in the narrative, entire conversations are patchy because the French I possess does not allow for accurate translation and the effort of translating each passage through Google breaks the action too much to be endured.

While at moments interesting, the story itself is a bit stilted and goes on too long past the point when one feels it should naturally end. As one might expect in a first effort, she also feels the need to give her characters a happy ending, so there seems very little of the conflict which is necessary to make a book really interesting. Her most interesting character, for my money, is the sarcastic, and inexplicable, Mr. Hunsden, who makes only a few critical appearances, but succeeds in changing the course of the life of our narrator, nonetheless.

I have but one more book by Charlotte Bronte yet to cross off my reading list, [b:Shirley|31168|Shirley|Charlotte Brontë|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1422609409s/31168.jpg|2685457]. I am beginning to suspect that had she not written [b:Jane Eyre|10210|Jane Eyre|Charlotte Brontë|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1557343311s/10210.jpg|2977639], she might well have sunk into obscurity along with a number of lesser writers of her time.
( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
No. William Crimsworth is an insufferable bitch boy. The love story is nonexistent. Where is the FLAVOR ( )
  noramd | Dec 17, 2021 |
This is an unexpectedly good read, principally because of Bronte's writing. Her writing is very descriptive and rich, for lack of a better word. It is as if she wanted to test her prowess. I enjoyed it but if the story had been longer, the writing would probably become tiresome. What I don't like is Crimsworth's condescending attitude towards women, almost all he had issues with except his wife. ( )
1 vote siok | Nov 4, 2021 |
This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Professor
Series: ----------
Author: Charlotte Bronte
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Romance, Classic?
Pages: 323
Words: 87K


From Wikipedia

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 neighbouring 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.

Jealous of the attention Frances is receiving from William, Mademoiselle Reuter takes it upon herself to dismiss Frances from her post and to hide her address from William. After a long search he re-encounters Frances in a graveyard and they renew their acquaintance.

It is revealed that as she was trying to make herself amiable in William's eyes, Mademoiselle Reuter had accidentally fallen in love with him herself. Not wanting to cause a conflict with Monsieur Pelet, William leaves his establishment.

William gets a new position as a "professor" at a college, allowing him and Frances to marry. The two eventually open a school together and have a child. After achieving financial security the family travels around England and then settles in the countryside, near to Mr Hunsden.

My Thoughts:

Villette was actually next in this omnibus edition of the Bronte's but since I've already read it twice and my second read was not nearly as enjoyable as the first time, I didn't want to read it, so I simply skipped it.

The Professor is a nice little story about how a woman thinks a man's life would go. While there ARE such introspective and delicate men as William, it really seemed dialed up past whatever I've ever seen in a guy. Maybe I'm not observant enough but it seemed to me that the story would have been served better if William had been Wilhelmina and she had met Frank instead of Frances. Getting inside a guy's head is not nearly as complicated as Bronte makes the process.

This was quintessential Romance and as such had all of the baggage that goes along with that genre. I can handle old school romance but I was thankful that this was under 400 pages and not a monster like Shirley.

In food terms, this book felt like plain pancakes with a pat of butter on it. If I hadn't read a book for a month (I can't think of a situation where that could happen any more, but it technically “could”) I probably would have devoured this and asked for more; just like when you are hungry, pancakes really hit the spot. But as I am a gourmand and nearly a glutton in terms of books I simply eat this one and say “next!”. Po' little ol' me! Pity me....

★★★☆☆ ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Oct 13, 2021 |
This was a terrible book. The main character was infuriatingly supercilious and completely convinced of his own superiority. He doesn't even bother to teach well but frequently mentions that he doesn't challenge his students because he doesn't think they'll bother to learn, when it was his job to make them want to learn. I was very disappointed when Frances accepted his proposal since she was the only character that wasn't totally horrible, and she didn't deserve to be dominated by this awful man. I was truly surprised when Mr. Crimsworth allowed her to keep working and teaching. It seemed very out of character for him given his habit of demanding everyone do what he want or he would treat them with veiled contempt, and he told Frances repeatedly that he wanted to provide for her and didn't give it up until she insisted she work.

Miss Brontë also expects her reader to understand French. She expected this in Jane Eyre as well, but as only the exchanges with Adele, which never contained anything important, where I really was under the impression I was missing important information in this book.

These things led to me not particularly enjoying the book, but the final nail in the coffin was Mr. Crimsworth's absolute raging anti-Catholicism. It's hard to read the prospective of a prejudiced character at any time, but especially when he or she refuses to learn better or admit his discrimination. I also thought it was horribly hypocritical of Charlotte Brontë to claim that all Catholic girls and women are wicked seducers with no sense of morality considering her own infatuation with a married man who was her teacher. I don't usually listen to classic audiobooks at more than 1.5 as the recordings tend to be less clear and the language sometimes takes time to digest and understand, but I found myself so impatient to be done with this book that I listened to it at twice the speed starting from about half way through, and sometimes even ventured to 2.15 in my eagerness to be done with the torture. I probably should have just DNFed it, but I do hate leaving books incomplete.

I don't know how Charlotte went from writing this monstrosity to writing the wonderful Jane Eyre, but I'm very glad that I read this after Jane Eyre or I probably wouldn't have ventured to read another of Charlotte Brontë's books. ( )
  ComposingComposer | Jan 12, 2021 |
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» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brontë, Charlotteprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davidson, FrederickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Glen, HeatherEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pyne, GeorgeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rosengarten, HerbertEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, MargaretEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tute, GeorgeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, Mary A. [Mrs Humphry]Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, Marionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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The other day, in looking over my papers, I found in my desk the following copy of a letter sent by me a year since to an old school acquaintance: - 'DEAR CHARLES, - I think when you and I were at Eton together, we were neither of us what could be called popular characters; you were a sarcastic, observant, shrewd, cold-blooded creature; my own portrait I will not attempt to draw, but I cannot recollect that it was a strikingly attractive one - can you?
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The Professor (1857) was Charlotte Bront's first and least regarded novel, rejected by all publishers during her lifetime and published posthumously by her widower A. B. Nicholls. Charlotte herself defended the novel passionately. "I said to myself that my hero should work his way through life as I had seen real living men work theirs -- that he should never get a shilling he had not earned." Indeed, William Crimsworth, the hero, is the self-made master of all his life's ambiguous fortune, including his career as a professor in Brussels, and his true love. Whatever the comparisons to Charlotte Bront's other, more popular novels, The Professor deserves a closer examination and a new reader perspective.

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Penguin Australia

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