‘She was not handsome, she was not rich, she was not even accomplished, yet she was my life’s treasure; I must then be a man of peculiar discernment’
Working as a Professor in M Pelet’s establishment in Brussels, William Crimsworth meets the fascinating Directrice of the neighbouring school, Mlle Zoräide Reuter and, recognizing her as an intellectual equal, becomes powerfully attracted to her. Despite her betrothal to M Pelet, Mlle Reuter will not release her hold over William, and she tries to stand in the way of his finding love elsewhere. But new possibilities open up to him and he is not to be so easily deterred. Published two years after the author’s death, The Professor draws on Charlotte Brontë’s own professional and personal experiences as a teacher in Brussels. Like Jane Eyre and Villette it is the intimate first-person account of a life that brings extremes of despair and joy.
In her introduction, Heather Glen examines the character of William in the context of love of wealth and the importance of moral and social propriety, and considers him as the model of a self-made man.