The Professor

This was Charlotte Brontë’s first real attempt at professional writing. However, the novel was not published during her lifetime. It was finally published in 1857, but was never highly regarded by readers or critics. Charlotte’s attempt to write from a male perspective has been criticized as being flawed.

Charlotte
’s time in Brussels had given her a wealth of memories. Her experiences at the Pensionnat and her unrequited love for Monsieur Heger were still fresh in her mind when she started writing The Professor.

She could draw from these memories and put them to creative use. They gave her the inspiration for a story set in Brussels. Whereas in Villette she disguises place names (Belgium, Brussels, names of streets, etc.) in her first literary work she remained closer to the actual places.

Plot summary

 

Villette

This was Charlotte Brontë’s last novel, published in 1853. After an unspecified family disaster, protagonist Lucy Snowe travels to the fictional city of Villette to teach at an all-girls school where she is unwillingly pulled into both adventure and romance. However, the novel is celebrated not so much for its plot as in its acute tracing of Lucy’s psychology, particularly Bronte’s use of Gothic doubling to represent externally what her protagonist is suffering internally.

Plot summary