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Professor (Wordsworth Classics) Paperback
by Charlotte Bronte. Edition Date:: 04/01/1998
With an Introduction and Notes by Dr Sally Minogue. The Professor is Charlotte Brontë s 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 Brontë 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 Brontë s death; today it gives us a fascinating insight into the first stirrings of her supreme creative imagination.
About the Author

The Professor was the first novel that Charlotte Brontë completed. Rejected by the publisher who took on the work of her sisters in 1846--Anne's Agnes Grey and Emily's Wuthering Heights--it remained unpublished until 1857, two years after Charlotte Brontë's death. Like Villette (1853), The Professor is based on her experiences as a language student in Brussels in 1842. Told from the point of view of William Crimsworth, the only male narrator that she used, the work formulated a new aesthetic that questioned many of the presuppositions of Victorian society. Brontë's hero escapes from a humiliating clerkship in a Yorkshire mill to find work as a teacher in Belgium, where he falls in love with an impoverished student-teacher, who is perhaps the author's most realistic feminist heroine. The Professor endures today as both a harbinger of Brontë's later novels and a compelling read in its own right.

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