The Professor (Penguin Classics)

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9780140863925: The Professor (Penguin Classics)

In Charlotte Bronte's first novel, William Crimsworth, an orphan, goes to Brussels to seek his fortune and takes a job teaching at a boarding school for young ladies. There he begins a flirtation with the headmistress, Zoraide Reuter. When he later meets and falls in love with the young pupil-teacher Frances Henri, his courtship is thwarted by Mademoiselle Reuter's calculating jealousy.

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From the Inside Flap:

The Professor was the first novel that Charlotte Brontë completed. Rejected by the publisher who took on the work of her sisters in 1846--Anne's Agnes Grey and Emily's Wuthering Heights--it remained unpublished until 1857, two years after Charlotte Brontë's death. Like Villette (1853), The Professor is based on her experiences as a language student in Brussels in 1842. Told from the point of view of William Crimsworth, the only male narrator that she used, the work formulated a new aesthetic that questioned many of the presuppositions of Victorian society. Brontë's hero escapes from a humiliating clerkship in a Yorkshire mill to find work as a teacher in Belgium, where he falls in love with an impoverished student-teacher, who is perhaps the author's most realistic feminist heroine. The Professor endures today as both a harbinger of Brontë's later novels and a compelling read in its own right.
    "The middle and latter portion of The Professor is as good as I can write," proclaimed Brontë. "It contains more pith, more substance, more reality, in my judgment, than much of Jane Eyre."


The Modern Library has played a significant role in American cultural life for the better part of a century. The series was founded in 1917 by the publishers Boni and Liveright and eight years later acquired by Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer. It provided the foun-dation for their next publishing venture, Random House. The Modern Library has been a staple of the American book trade, providing readers with affordable hard-bound editions of important works of liter-ature and thought. For the Modern Library's seventy-fifth anniversary, Random House redesigned the series, restoring as its emblem the running torchbearer created by Lucian Bernhard in 1925 and refurbishing jackets, bindings, and type, as well as inau-gurating a new program of selecting titles. The Modern Library continues to provide the world's best books, at the best prices.

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"We read Charlotte Bronte not for exquisite observation of character, not for comedy, not for a philosophic view of life, but for her poetry. Probably that is so with all writers who have, as she has, an overpowering personality, so that . . . they only have to open the door to make themselves felt. There is in them some untamed ferocity perpetually at war with the accepted order of things."

--Virginia Woolf

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