The Professor by Charlotte Bronte
This novel, written in 1845-6 before "Jane Eyre", is described as challenging contemporary expectations by its brevity, realism and insistence of a working career before and after marriage for both its hero and heroine. The hero escapes from an uncongenial clerkship within the walls of a Yorkshire mill to find work as a teacher in Belgium. Bronte traces his entanglement with the attractive "older woman", Zoraide Reuter, whose later cruel manoeuvres are designed to seperate him from the young, penniless girl who is both a teacher and a pupil in her school. The action begins against a background of the fight for better factory conditions in the 1830s, and finishes in the early 1840s with the spread of liberal ideas which would lead to the continental revolutions of 1848. This edition is based on the author's fair copy manuscript instead of on the corrupt text of the posthumous first edition of 1857. Also included here is "Emma", Charlotte Bronte's last, unfinished attempt to write a novel after "Villette", in a text printed from the manuscript instead of from the less reliable "Cornhill Magazine"-version of 1860.