Charlotte Brontë and Defensive Conduct: The Author and the Body at Risk

By Janet Gezari | Go to book overview

2. The Master"s Hand: Vindictiveness and Vindication in The Professor

Self-vindication is immediately an issue in Brontë's first novel. She wrote the preface published with The Professor after the publication of Shirley, when she hoped Smith, Elder would agree to bring The Professor out. It begins with the author's hand and the pen that it wields, "worn down a good deal in a practice of some years.... I had not indeed published anything before I commenced 'The Professor'--but in many a crude effort destroyed almost as soon as composed I had got over any such taste as I might once have had for the ornamented and redundant in composition-- and had come to prefer what was plain and homely." The preface tells the story of The Professor's rejection because publishers "would have liked something more imaginative and poetical," and this vindication of Brontë's authority as novelist is related to Brontë's vindication of her hero:

I said to myself that my hero should work his way through life as I had seen real living men work theirs--that he should never get a shilling he had not earned--that no sudden turns should lift him in a moment to wealth and high station--that whatever small competency he might gain should be won by the sweat of his brow-that before he could find so much as an arbour to sit down in--he should master at least half the ascent of the hill of Difficulty--that he should not even marry a beautiful nor a rich wife, nor a lady of rank--As Adam's Son he should share Adam's doom--Labour throughout life and a mixed and moderate cup of enjoyment. (3-4.)

The preface is deceptively silent about the novel's central romance, the relation of master and pupil, and about Frances Henri, the pupil who becomes William Crimsworth's wife. She is not merely the object of her master's desire; her "ascent of the hill of Difficulty" mirrors his, and the desire that flashes between them is the sign of their shared ambition to rise in a hostile world.

In this chapter, I argue that The Professor's ample experience of rejection and what almost all readers have recognized as its unattractiveness have less to do with the mortification of romance and sensibility that

-30-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Charlotte Brontë and Defensive Conduct: The Author and the Body at Risk
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 208

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.