Thursday, August 20, 2009

Book Review: Charlotte Brontë's The Professor

Charlotte Brontë's novel The Professor begins as William Crimsworth's letter to an old school friend, then the letter conceit is dropped, and the novel continues in first-person to the general reader. Crimsworth writes in retrospect. Without being an unreliable narrator, he keeps back a few scenes after others have been accomplished, but this does not detract from the story of his journey from put-upon clerk to teacher at his own school.
Though the narrator is male, themes similar to Brontë's other novels appear--self-reliance, women's roles, and the value of intellect. This book does not have the detective story-intensity of Jane Eyre or Villette, nor the political tone of Shirley, but a quiet, steadfastness that provides its own interest. It is a pity it was not published during Brontë's lifetime, as she had wanted.

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