Shirley and The Professor

Publisher: Everyman's Library

These two classic novels, together with Brontë's well-known Jane Eyre and Villette, comprise a magnificent oeuvre, each one a singular achievement of characterization, human understanding, and narrative elegance and drama.

is the story of a complicated friendship between two very different women: shy and socially constrained Caroline, the poor niece of a tyrannical clergyman; and the independent heiress Shirley, who has both the resources and the spirit to defy convention. The romantic entanglements of the two women with a local mill owner and his penniless brother pit the claims of passion against the boundaries of class and society.

The Professor
—the first novel Brontë completed, the last to be published—is both a disturbing love story and the coming-of-age tale of a self-made man. At its center is William Crimsworth, who has come to Brussels to work as an instructor in a school for girls. When he becomes entangled with Zoräide Reuter, a charismatic and brilliantly intellectual woman, the fervor of her feelings threatens both her own engagement and William's chance of finding true love.

(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)




The Professor and Shirley have always suffered from being the stable-mates of Jane Eyre and Villette. In its time Jane Eyre’s realism and honesty meant it was widely regarded as a ‘dangerous book’, while Villette...

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“We read Charlotte Bronte not for exquisite observation of character, not for comedy, not for a philosophic view of life, but for her poetry. Probably that is so with all writers who have, as she has, an overpowering personality, so that . . . they only have to open the door to make themselves felt. There is in them some untamed ferocity perpetually at war with the accepted order of things.” —Virginia Woolf