The Professor


By Charlotte Brontë

cover image of The Professor

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The Professor is Charlotte Brontë's first novel, even though it was only published posthumously. The novel's protagonist and first-person narrator is the orphan William Crimsworth, a young educated man who rejects the career of a clergyman proposed by his adoptive uncle. He first decides to work as a clerk for his wealthy brother who owns a mill in the north of the country. However, his brother's jealousy of his superior education and intelligence eventually pushes him to quit the job and travel to Brussels where he is hired as a professor of English at a girls' school. In Brussels, he falls in love with a younger colleague, Frances Henri, yet he has to endure the wickedness of the Catholic headmistress, Mr. Reuter. Coveting their nascent love, the latter ends up dismissing Frances from her school and hiding her whereabouts from William. The professor leaves the establishment and luckily comes across her beloved in a graveyard. Thanks to a new job with a very high wage, the couple is eventually allowed to open their own school, marry and have a child. The narrative closes as they succeed in making a little fortune and decide to settle in the English countryside.

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The Professor