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A claustrophobic novel

Bronte died believing this book was a failure. And outlived all his children! Both Bronte sisters had the capacity to create archetypes—to imprint upon the culture seminal patterns that endure to the present time.

Wuthering Heights

Madness and genius in the blood, indeed. I read it over every year or so, sometimes twice in a row. I study it; I watch all the film versions. I just love it, the way it works, its strange cruelty and enchantment. She has the charm of a wayward, schizophrenic girl, but she has little to give, since she is self-absorbed, haughty, destructive.

In a novel by Charlotte or Anne, Cathy would be a shallow beauty, analyzed and despaired of by a reasonable, clever and deprived heroine. She would be fit only for the subplot.

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There is also an unromantic driven egotism in the characters, a lack of moral longings, odd in the work of a daughter of a clergyman. There is nothing quite like this novel with its rage and ragings, its discontent and angry restlessness. The peculiarity of it lies in the harshness of the characters. Cathy is as hard, careless, and destructive as Heathcliff. She too has a sadistic nature.

The love the two feel for each other is a longing for an impossible completion. Consolations do not appear; nothing in the domestic or even in the sexual life seems to the point in this book.

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We do not, in her biography, even look for a lover as we do with Emily Dickinson because it is impossible to join her with a man, with a secret, aching passion for a young curate or a schoolmaster. There is a spare, inviolate center, a harder resignation amounting finally to withdrawal.

I have tried several times to read Wuthering Heights but it just strikes me as silly, so I always quit it. I somehow made it to adulthood without ever reading Wuthering Heights , but then I found out that several of my women friends considered Heathcliff their all-time favorite romantic hero. So I read about three-quarters of it as a grown-up, and immediately developed some serious concerns about the mental health of my friends. It was given to me at a prize ceremony for being good in writing.


I read the book in September, which is rainy season in the Caribbean. I was lying on my bed in my bedroom, and for me it was an enchantment. I saw it at the cinema after that, by chance—the version with Laurence Olivier.

Why Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights is a cult classic

It revived memories of my adolescence, so I read it again and discovered it had a meaning beyond the actual meaning, beyond the meanings the author wanted to give. It was a story you could transplant into any society. So I decided I was going to rewrite it. But it was at least another five years for me before I really started.

Because my husband, who is English, was shocked when I was telling him my vague intention. So I took another five years to decide—and when I could not help it, I started to write. It is such a masterpiece, such a beloved work in England. What is she doing to the text? How can she dare touch that text?! It seems to me the greatest homage that I pay is to her artistry.

A feminist icon

And it is another way of telling people that you should not draw barriers between colors, ideas, et-cetera. But why an English novel? Why not a French one? Hers, then, is the rarest of all powers. She could free life from its dependence on facts, with few touches indicate the spirit of a face so that it needs no body; by speaking of the moor make the wind blow and the thunder roar. The title of the novel comes from the Yorkshire manor on the moors of the story.

The narrative centres on the all-encompassing, passionate, but ultimately doomed love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, and how this unresolved passion eventually destroys them and the people around them. Catherine Earnshaw, Heathcliff, and the windswept moors that are the setting of their mythic love are as immediately stirring to the reader of today as they have been for every generation of readers since the novel was first published in With an introduction by Katherine Frank.

Born in , she shared the parsonage of the town of Haworth, Yorkshire, with her older sister, Charlotte; her brother, Branwell; her younger sister, Anne; and… More about Emily Bronte. Literary Fiction Romance Audiobooks. Buy the Audiobook Download: Apple Audible downpour eMusic audiobooks. About Wuthering Heights Perhaps the most haunting and tormented love story ever written, Wuthering Heights is the tale of the troubled orphan Heathcliff and his doomed love for Catherine Earnshaw.

About Wuthering Heights The title of the novel comes from the Yorkshire manor on the moors of the story. Also in Vintage Classics. It is not heavenly in its transcendence, but decidedly earthly. But surely you and everybody have a notion that there is, or should be, an existence of yours beyond you.

What were the use of my creation if I were entirely contained here? I all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be.

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  • The story proper begins with Lockwood, a stranger to the rugged moorlands, a gentleman accustomed to urban life and its polite civilisations. If the experience of reading Wuthering Heights feels like a suspension in a state of waking nightmare, what a richly-hued vision of the fantastical it is. Pets in Victorian paintings — Egham, Surrey.

    The history of pets and family life — Egham, Surrey. Available editions United Kingdom. Sophie Alexandra Frazer , University of Sydney. In our series, Guide to the classics, experts explain key works of literature. The Bronte sisters painted by their brother Branwell: A claustrophobic novel It is a distinctly claustrophobic novel: The Conversation is a non-profit.