Friday, May 10, 2013

The Professor, Charlotte Bronte

The ProfessorThe ProfessorThe 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?

The Professor was Charlotte Bronte's first novel. The Professor " is a story about the life of the resilient William Crimsworth. An English orphan raised by coldly aristocratic uncles, he rejects a life as a clergyman to work in his brother's mill in Yorkshire. Treated abominably in his tedious clerkship, Crimsworth escapes to Belgium and begins teaching in a boys' school. There he eventually meets the headmistress of a neighboring girls' school, Zoraide Reuter, as well as one of the teachers in the girls' school, Francis Henri. Narrated from a convincing male perspective, Bronte exercised her skill as a writer in telling a tale based on her own experiences as a student in Brussels, challenging many of the assumptions of Victorian society in the process. Crimsworth matures, finds a fulfilling profession, and discovers love in this significant commencement to Charlotte Bronte's literary career."

I still love Jane Eyre, but I did enjoy The Professor and its writing and story. I did really like the language in it; continuously reading it becomes rather tedious, but in a fairly short novel like this, it was fun to read. Also, I couldn't help wondering how one would diagram sentences like the ones in The Professor and other older novels. At any rate, I really enjoyed the writing.

There is a lot of French in The Professor and one thing that was really annoying in the edition that I read (on right) was that there weren't any footnotes telling the reader what the French meant! The company just assumed that you either know French, don't care, or are motivated enough to look it up. I do care, but not enough to look up the French most of the time. I did use our friend Google Translate in a few instances. Most of the time I could surmise what was being said, but it was confusing sometimes. There's not lots of French, but it's definitely a significant part of the story. So I would not recommend reading the Arcturus Classics edition. It was the only one available at my local bookstore, though. Still, Penguin is a good way to go, even if they do sometimes include too many footnotes.

Back to the actual content of the book, which I really enjoyed. Though not understanding the French definitely detracted from my enjoyment and understanding of the book, I still really did like it. As I mentioned, it had the potential to get tedious, but it didn't in my opinion. I enjoyed the characters, and they way they had subtle conversations with one another. I liked how Frances Henri was introduced.

If you like Jane Eyre or the Bronte sisters in general, this is definitely a good novel to read, especially since these sisters produced so few works. I also have The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

Read The Professor:
  • if you like Charlotte Bronte
  • if you like English literature
208 pages.
Very Good! I would recommend this book!

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