"The Professor", by Charlotte Bronte, was the author's first novel but it was not published until after her death (and perhaps she refashioned it to some degree later in her novel "Villette"). It is the tale of William Crimsworth, a man without parents and forsaken by his brother, who is forced to make his own way in the world. He decides to try his hand at teaching and travels to Brussels to teach English at an all-boys' school.
Once at the school in Brussels, he immediately begins a successful, if not profitable, teaching career. Soon enough he finds himself teaching four classes per week at the neighboring school for girls, and also finds himself falling for the headmistress Mlle. Reuter. Inexperienced with women, he is susceptible to and deceived by her whiles and charms until love enters his life in the form of a fellow teacher-pupil Frances Henri. As is to be expected, despite the abuse Crimsworth suffered from his brother, and having nothing of his own, he manages to work his way into wealth and is able to marry the woman he has fallen in love with.
At the beginning of "The Professor", Crimsworth confesses that is narrative his not exciting and he holds true to his word, especially since he can be a rather irksome narrator. While not a novel to shake the foundations of literature, "The Professor" offers insights into who Charlotte Bronte would become as a writer. Her characters, a few who are one-dimensional, are mainly well-sketched and drawn out; and despite her claim to the lack of excitement in her narrator's story, his tale unfolds briskly and with few unexpected revelations. Having been a governess herself, (the novel is based on her own experiences), Bronte combines asides about the state of education and the relationship that exists between teacher and pupil. Some of these insights hold true for today as well, making "The Professor" an undated and well-written account of man's struggle for success and happiness.
**Two things I disliked about the Wordsworth Classics edition. This version was rampant with typos throughout the entire novel; the same mistakes were repeated numerous times. I was also maddened by the fact that entire conversations in French were not translated, and therefore not understood, especially during the climax of the story.