“The Professor”, though first of the written works of Charlotte Bronte, was published in 1857 aftre her death. The novel had excited much curiosity because of its multiple rejections by publishers that made Charlotte finally wrote “Jane eyre”. “The Professor” is shortest of the tales by Charlotte but not incomplete, and is written with the same style of narrative and characters that she perfected later on in her other books.
|Publisher||:||Rupa & Co. (04/01/2000), and Others|
The novel opens in form of a letter by Wiliam Crimsworth to his school friend, describing his life after he left the school. The first phase consists of Wiliam’s falling off with his wealthy maternal uncles and going to his elder brother Edward to become a tradesman like him. Edward, however, proves to be a cynical and tyrant master and Wiliam is soon obliged to leave this job and England in search of oter occupation on the European continent.
Wiliam arrives to Brussels and is offered a job of an English Teacher at M. Pelet’s boys school, “The Professor” as he is called in Belgium. He proves himself to be a good teacher and gets an extra employment in form of part-time work at adjacent girls’ school run by Mademoisselle Reuter. The lady directress does her best to win over Wiliam by her show of affection and coquetry but he soon finds put that she is engaged to M. Pelet and returns her efforts with coolness and disdain. Wiliam is introduced to Frances Henri, a lady teacher who instructs the girls in sewing, as his new student. Sensible, industrious and desolate, this girl slowly gains his admiration and Madamoisselle Reuter dismisses her driven by jealousy.
Wiliam declares his intention of resigning from her school and seeks Frances, finally finding her in the graveyard near her aunt’s grave. By this time, M. Pelet and M. Reuter are on the verge of marriage and Wiliam feels the necessity of leaving their house in order to avoid any domestic scenes of unpleasantness in future. But, what next he will do? He has no jobs, no relations, no money, neither has Frances. There is no chance of his securing her without a decent sum of money to support them and they both are euqally friendless in the town of Brussels. Will chance once again intervene? Will life at last bring a home and domestic comfort to two homeless wonderers?
“The Professor” is built-up on Charlotte’s stay at Brussels as a pupil and as a teacher at M. Heger’s school. Though most of the impressions she conveys here were later included in “Villette” with more artistic refineness. Her belief in passionate love, her dislike of roman Catholic Church and its practices in the continental Europe, her contempt for her fellow students and teachers in Brussels, etc. are present here and will appear quite familiar to those who have read “Villette” and other works by her. But, the best part about “The Professo” is its compactness, simplicity and integrity of narrative compared to her lengthier works like “Shirley” and to some extent “Villette”.