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Charlotte Brontë: The Imagination in History$
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Heather Glen

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199272556

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199272556.001.0001

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‘Calculated abruptness’: The Professor

‘Calculated abruptness’: The Professor

(p.33) CHAPTER TWO ‘Calculated abruptness’: The Professor
Charlotte Brontë: The Imagination in History

Heather Glen

Oxford University Press

The Professor was written alongside Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey, as one of ‘three distinct and unconnected tales’ with which the erstwhile Genii of Glass Town hoped to enter the early Victorian literary market-place. It is a narrative of self-help which displays a sharp awareness of the literary fashions of its day. The Professor is more ironic and considerably more sophisticated than has often been supposed. The circumstances of its publication — after Charlotte Brontë's death, and in the wake of Mrs Gaskell's Life — meant that it was from the first overshadowed by its author's more successful later novels, and read as a veiled account of the trials of its author's life. Intrinsic to the novel's conception, it seems, was an objectification of its teller and an alertness to fictional form. Its awkwardness and ‘abruptness’ is ‘calculated’; not evidence of authorial uncertainty, but indicative of the author's critical distance from the narrative she presents.

Keywords:   The Professor, Genii of Glass Town, Victorian, Charlotte Brontë, novel, Life, abruptness, self-help

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