The Professor, published posthumously in 1857, is a study for Jane Eyre or Shirley, displaying effects of the same force, the same characteristic keenness of perception, the same rough, bold, coarse truthfulness of expression, the same compressed style, offence of dialogue and preference for forbidden topics.
With a introductory letter, fifteen pounds, and a watch, William Crimsworth starts for Brussels. Arrived in Brussels, we are introduced to Monsieur Pelet, a schoolmaster in the Rue Royale, the prototype of M. Paul in Villette, who engages the hero as Professor of English and Latin at a thousand francs a year. Monsieur Pelet or Mademoiselle Reuter predominating by turns in endeavors to enlist the heart of the Professor and the interest of the reader. An Anglo-Swiss pupil-teacher, Frances Evans Henri, carries the day, and is dismissed in consequence…
Charlotte Brontë (21 April 1816 – 31 March 1855) was born in the old parsonage at Thornton, in the West Riding of Yorkshire. She was the daughter of a clergyman, who, in 1820, moved with his family to Haworth. In 1845 literary life in Haworth commenced in earnest. Jane Eyre was published in October 1847, followed by Shirley in 1849 and Villette in 1853. The Professor, written before Jane Eyre, was rejected by many publishing houses, and published posthumously in 1857.
The Living Age, 1857 — It would have been a great mistake to suppress The Professor. Notwithstanding the partial use of its materials in the far more artistic tale of Villette, there is much new insight in it, much extremely characteristic genius, and one character, moreover, of fresher, lighter, and more airy grace than any of the somewhat grim series of daguerreotypes which we have been accustomed to see spring so suddenly into living but forbidding outline on the sombre and metallic surface of Miss Brontë's imagination.
Saturday Review, 1857 — We think the friends of Charlotte Brontë have shown sound judgment in publishing The Professor. It throws a strong light on many of the characteristic turns of her thought, on her most cherished feelings, and on the position she assumed towards her neighbours and acquaintances. It opens a new chapter in the curious psychological study afforded by the history of this generous, passionate recluse. It shows the first germs of conception, which afterwards expanded and ripened into the great creations of her imagination.
The Vagabond by Adam Badeau, 1859 — The Professor, Charlotte’s first work, and yet her last, coming to us with a peculiar interest since we have studied the character of its writer; a book which read by the light the biography throws across its pages is full of as strange significance as any in the language.