In The Professor, one of Charlotte Bronte’s earliest novels, which despite many revisions wasn’t published until two years after her death, a Yorkshire mill clerk describes fleeing to Brussels where he takes up employment as an English teacher. He falls briefly under the spell of the older Directoress but ultimately builds a fruitful marriage with one of his pupils. The density of descriptive passages make this a difficult but rewarding read, its loose structure pre-figuring the post-modern. Bronte had in mind the buck the trends of that era’s novelists by providing a realistic approach to characterisation and narrative, which was too new for potential publishers who all rejected it outright. What they missed is how the novel captures the sheer fecklessness of the male heart, seeking acres of meaning in a girl’s otherwise innocuous glances and how we might think we’re in control, but we’re really not.