Charlotte Bronte’s, “The Professor.”

Charlotte Bronte’s, “The Professor” is a distasteful novel. In truth, it just might be the most unpleasant and objectionable novel I have read from such a distinguished and brilliant writer. The book reeks of anti-Catholic sentiment, British nationalism, it disparages other nations such as France, Germany, Italy, and Russia. And yet what is most striking is its anti-female sentiment that runs throughout this book like a tidal wave. Considering Ms. Bronte’s gender, it is hard to fathom.

William Crimsworth, the main character, narrator, and British exile, teaches at a French bordering school for girls, along with teaching at a boys school. In describing the girls, who are mainly Catholic, you would think that all girls from the ages of fifteen to the day they die are unworthy, selfish, and despicable creatures. Mr Crimsworth, considers himself a God loving Protestant, a moralist, and a man of superior intellect. In short, he is an obnoxious and rude character who this reader had absolutely no sympathy for and wishes he never has to encounter such a main character so deplorable, and self righteous, ever again.

In respect to authors and their works, I always try to put them in perspective to the time they are living and writing in. This was Ms. Bronte’s first book and it was repeatedly rejected by publishers. It was not until after she died that this novel was published. The Victorian ideals put forward in this book are truly off the wall and thankfully in her later novels this subject is handled in a most discreet and brilliant way and the struggle and abuse of women in Victorian days is highlighted and its cruelty revealed in such great works as “Jane Eyre” and “Villette.”

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