Whilst on my holidays in Yorkshire I took a trip to Wetherby. In Wetherby they have The Discount Bookstore, which sells books at a heavily discounted price, up to 80% off apparently.
I bought this book there, for the extortionate price of £1.99 (shocking, I know). I’ve never read anything by the Bronte family but one if my friends is a massive fan (her irritated rant when we found a 50 shades version of Jane Ayre was hilarious, although she made some excellent points about originality or lack thereof) and thought I’d give this novel a go.
The Professor was Charlotte Bronte’s first complete novel but never published in her lifetime, much to her disappointment. It is written in the voice of a young man, William Crimsworth, who, orphaned at birth and brought up by his father’s family (and distant brother) until his maternal uncles pay for him to go to Eton, is seeking to make his own way in the world. First he tries trade, but finds the life of a clerk under his brother’s eye doesn’t suit him at all. In the advice of a friend he goes to Brussels and becomes a teacher. He marries another teacher, after some difficulties, they become comfortable after ten years of hard work, and then move back to England.
Apparently, writing as a man was a very daring thing to do; her publishers were reluctant to even look at it. The character of William Crimsworth allowed Charlotte the space to discuss emotions that ladies did not admit to possesing: passion, lust, ambition.
I’m not a huge fan of the style of writing. It’s a problem I have with most Victorian novels, not just the one; some points are overlaboured and repetitive, characters are very stereotypical at times.
I can see why Charlotte Bronte is considered a great author, but I don’t think I’ll be reading any more Bronte soon.
On to the next book!