A Professorial Nation: The Pedagogical Gardens of William Crimsworth, Jane Eyre, and Lucy Snowe


Elise Green

Publication Date

January 2014

Document Type



English Language and Literature


Dr. Prior was a reader on the committee for this thesis.


Charlotte Brontë was not an intentional pedagogue, but nevertheless, her works reflect the dynamics of an educational ideology that depends on the natural environment. In Brontë's works, including The Professor, Jane Eyre, and Villette, safe learning environments are most commonly found in gardens, providing spaces--literally and metaphorically--dedicated to individual growth. These spaces are not isolated, however, as they are located in bustling towns such as Villette and schoolyards like those of Jane Eyre. Likewise, the individual does not grow in isolation; rather, development is a process that is fostered by an individual's interaction with his or her environment. In essence, the individual grows to understand the garden, and upon this achievement, the individual experiences maximum cultivation. Such thought is the foundation of Brontë's educational philosophy. While the metaphorical garden provides structure for individual development, it also steers Brontë in her discovery of the self; she recognizes that human nature is different for everyone, and as such, this difference should not be a hindrance to personal growth.