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5.0 out of 5 starsThe predecessor to Jane Eyre!
Reviewed in the United States on September 16, 2018
As a lifelong devotee of the Bronte's it was so satisfying to read the novel that Charlotte Bronte wrote before Jane Eyre. You could trace the threads of plot that would be developed in the later book and see her writing style when it was at an earlier point in her development. I just wish the translations of French passages were included in the book as footnotes. It's been many years since my high school French and though I could still follow some of the text I would have enjoyed it much more with complete translations. Nowadays it's hard to remember that there was a time when authors assumed all "educated" readers would speak/read French. The story explores some themes we see in later novels and also shows us a Charlotte Bronte not quite as sophisticated as the later work.
If you don't speak French, don't bother with this book. A few of the characters speak French to each other and much of the story is "lost" if you don't know that language. I had to have google the words to understand what was going on and that got tiresome very fast!
This edition of the book reads like a poor translation back into English from some other language. At first I thought it was an amusing (in the way that instructions for a new appliance can elicit bemusement) characterization by Bronte but the first person speaker is an Englishman so that made no sense. It quickly becomes tedious. If there had been a “look inside” button I never would have bought this edition. One of the pleasures of reading Bronte is her beautiful use of language. Do yourself a favor and get another version: Amazon sells another Kindle version that is fine.
Reviewed in the United States on February 11, 2013
The story line in this book was good and interesting, but the author writes as though all her readers speak French. I have read other books where they make entries in the dialog in another language, however after doing that they explain what was just said in that language. In The Professor, there are paragraphs and paragraphs of French dialog with no explanation as to what was said. In some instances she did explain some of the smaller sentences that were written in French which was completely acceptable reading. In one part of the book, there is almost a page and a half of French dialog, and since I don't speak or read French, I found it quite boring, and almost lost me as a reader. I do speak Spanish and since French is similar to Spanish, I was able to ascertain the meaning of some of the dialog. I think if a reader knows no other language, other than English, they would find this way of writing very unacceptable. I rated this book a three because of the above listed reasons.
Reviewed in the United States on September 25, 2019
Way too verbose & redundant. Simply a story with no mystery or excitement. Boring. This adaptation needs to be proofread & edited accordingly. Loads of typos & unnecessary punctuation. One positive was that I enjoyed a little refresher in French.
I loved this story. The depth of character study is unmatched. It is actually a love story. How a man finally finds the right person for him. Writing like this is not done today. There is great detail describing the Professors thoughts and actions. I recommend this book strongly.
...it's not bad. No one ever claimed this was on-par with Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights (well, Charlotte apparently did say parts of it were right up there with Jane Eyre). Unfortunately, I felt like a somnambulist trudging through this, her first novel, never engaged with what was going on. Of greatest interest were the descriptions of life in Belgium. There are some intriguing moments with the love-interest portion of the story. However, I found it hard to empathize with the protagonist, making it hard reading the deeper into the novel I got. I'd stick with Charlotte's later work and the works of her sister and only read The Professor if you're trying to read them all.
What a story and the beautiful language.The very deep account of life , the good and evil,the superb analysis of human nature. I couldn't put it down, the reality of life , how we can resist the temptations,work hard,act responsible and love.The very best in human capacity to have a peace,prosperity,joy .
3.0 out of 5 starsNot Ms Bronte's Best Novel but Certainly Worth Reading
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 2, 2020
'The Professor' was Charlotte Bronte's first full-length novel, but one that was not published during her lifetime due to it being refused by several publishers who felt that it lacked "thrilling excitement" and, as Charlotte herself noted, "Publishers in general...would have liked something more imaginative and poetical". Ms Bronte, however, was determined that her quiet bespectacled hero should be seen "to work his way through life ..[as]..real living men work theirs" and although she returned to this novel during her writing life, she was loath to make any significant changes. Based on her time teaching in Brussels (an experience she was later to return to when writing her marvellous 'Villette') 'The Professor' relates the story of William Crimsworth, who turns his back on his wealthy relations and who, after a dreadful experience working for his philistine of an older half-brother, leaves England to become a teacher in Brussels. There William meets the unassuming and seemingly meek Frances Henri, a young Anglo-Swiss woman who teaches lacework to the girls at the school where William is employed, but who also becomes a pupil of his in order to improve her English. Flirted with by Mlle Reuter, the manipulative and duplicitous headmistress who wants William's attention to herself, William finds himself in a difficult position when he begins to find the quieter charms of Frances more to his taste, and when the jealous Mlle Reuter takes her revenge on her younger and much poorer rival, William has to decide what he really wants and how he will achieve it.
Although this novel does not have, as commented above, the excitement of 'Jane Eyre' and is not in the same class as the author's 'Shirley' or her wonderful 'Villette', it was certainly worth reading despite my feeling that the male voice of William Crimsworth was not entirely convincing and finding the latter part of the narrative to be less interesting than the early and middle part of the story. The more intriguing of the characters were, I felt, the female protagonists: Mlle Reuter with her scheming and manipulative behaviour and, particularly, Frances Henri, who was not as meek and unassuming as she first appeared and who, although gentle and modest, was also proud and keen to prove her independence - and I feel she would have been an even more interesting character if we had learned more of her past life. A novel which looks at the balance of power: that between William and his older brother, that between William and Mlle Reuter and also that between our hero and Frances Henri, this story certainly held my interest and was definitely worth reading but, in comparison with Ms Bronte’s later and more assured writing, is one that although I’m glad I read it, I can’t see me reading and rereading it several times as I have the author’s other novels.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 28, 2017
I enjoyed the story a lot, although the main character was pretty unlikable for a lot of the time. My main issue though is that there's a lot of sections where conversations are written in French, with no translation of any kind given in the narrative. My basic school-learned French gave me enough of an idea of what was being said, but I did feel like I needed a French-English dictionary quite often!
This is a well written book and Charlotte Bronte's first attempt at a novel. It is involved in the affairs of William Crimsworth as he finds his way in life. The budding romance with Frances, his student, is quite charming. His discoveries that people can be very dishonest, false and even cruel are a bit painful to follow. In this first novel, the pensionnat or boarding school first appears. There is a deal of religious philosophizing and description which becomes quite tedious at times. I did enjoy the read however.
i very much enjoyed this novel and can't understand why it has only 3 stars when it is of superb literary character. Very charlotte bronte, reminded me of vilette, with most of the novel set away from england - cue lots of french, which unless you are fluent means alot of time flicking back to the notes section. However the plot line is charming, in the introduction charlotte is said to have stated that she refused to give her protagonist an easy time, that he would have to earn his money and his wife..and that he does. It is essentially a love story from the male perspective - which is a lovely change from the austin swooning/ heart racing/ carrying on's of some novels i found it charming