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Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
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Wuthering Heights (original 1847; edition 2007)

by Emily Brontë

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33,66050220 (3.91)4 / 1513
Member:jcbrunner
Title:Wuthering Heights
Authors:Emily Brontë (Author)
Info:Penguin Classics (2007), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library, Literature, Read
Rating:***1/2
Tags:United Kingdom, Yorkshire, Emily Bronte, 19th century, literature, novel, Heathcliff

Work details

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (1847)

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    Eustrabirbeonne: Lord David Cecil's classification for the characters in "Wuthering Heights" - children of calm and children of storm - may be applied to Herbjorg Wassmo's book, and especially the eponymous heroine. What a child of storm we find in the tall, dark, savage, sensual, ruthless figure of Dina!… (more)
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(see all 31 recommendations)

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Showing 1-5 of 470 (next | show all)
A few months ago I re-read Wuthering Heights. I had read it before, many years ago, as an impressionable teenager but couldn't remember much about it as most of my impressions from reading the book had been edged out of my memory by Kate Bush's song and Monty Python's most excellent re-telling of the story in semaphore.

Anyway, having re-read this, I have no idea how I could have ever perceived the story of Heathcliff and Catherine as a romance haunted by obsession.

All I am left with now is an impression of a story marked by a passion for violence, bitterness, and obsession with revenge.

"If it be, he deserves flaying alive for not running to welcome me, and for screaming as if I were a goblin. Unnatural cub, come hither! I’ll teach thee to impose on a good-hearted, deluded father. Now, don’t you think the lad would be handsomer cropped? It makes a dog fiercer, and I love something fierce —get me a scissors— something fierce and trim! Besides, it’s infernal affectation—devilish conceit it is, to cherish our ears—we’re asses enough without them. Hush, child, hush! Well then, it is my darling! wisht, dry thy eyes— there’s a joy; kiss me. What! it won’t? Kiss me, Hareton! Damn thee, kiss me! By God, as if I would rear such a monster! As sure as I’m living, I’ll break the brat’s neck.’ Poor Hareton was squalling and kicking in his father’s arms with all his might, and redoubled his yells when he carried him up-stairs and lifted him over the banister. I cried out that he would frighten the child into fits, and ran to rescue him. As I reached them, Hindley leant forward on the rails to listen to a noise below; almost forgetting what he had in his hands. ‘Who is that?’ he asked, hearing some one approaching the stairs’-foot. I leant forward also, for the purpose of signing to Heathcliff, whose step I recognised, not to come further; and, at the instant when my eye quitted Hareton, he gave a sudden spring, delivered himself from the careless grasp that held him, and fell." ( )
  BrokenTune | Aug 21, 2016 |
Wuthering Heights blurs the line between passion and obsession in recounting the story of Heathcliff and Catherine's unfulfilled love for each other.

This book is over 150 years old and the writing is difficult to understand. The Barnes and Noble Classics edition has a section of end notes that defines the archaic terms and translates the vernacular used by some of the characters. I recommend it. ( )
  wandaly | Jun 30, 2016 |
I'm gad I waited to read this. The love story woven throughout was much easier for me to identify with in my 20's. A beautifully written flashback story. There is an especial attention paid to the elaborate details. ( )
  niquetteb | Jun 23, 2016 |
[she] was amazed at the blackness of spirit that could brood on and cover revenge for years, and deliberately prosecute its plans without a visitation of remorse." (pg. 196).

Just a few chapters into Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights, I was surprised at just how wide of the mark my preconceptions of the novel were. I had expected a sort of tragic love story in the bitter and windswept moors, focusing on the doomed romance between Heathcliff and Catherine (indeed, it seemed to me to be what the book is often marketed as). But not only does their 'romance', if it could be called such, only cover the first half of the novel (the second deals with the romance of their children, Linton and Cathy), but this is not a 'romance' story in our common understanding of the term. It deals with the hatred and jealousies which are the dark mirror of the emotion of love; it is a novel about revenge and about the vile extremes to which the bitter emotions of lovers can be aroused.

Because of this, I found it hard to truly sympathise with the characters. Heathcliff is pitiless. I empathised with his hurt at Catherine's rejection (he is of lower birth, and overhears her conversation with a housemaid in which she says it would 'degrade' her to marry him) but his later actions, years after this, are massively disproportionate to his initial humiliation. His cruelties go beyond cantankerousness and bitterness to become pure malice and sadism. And he is unredeemed, even by the end. Catherine is little better, wanting to have her cake and eat it too. She accepts a marriage to Edgar, but at the same time is puzzled when it is suggested Heathcliff might be upset at this. A more dysfunctional love affair you could scarcely imagine. In fact, I would even go so far as to suggest Catherine and Heathcliff's love affair in Wuthering Heights is not really a love affair: it seemed clear to me that, in the modern parlance, Catherine 'friend-zones' Heathcliff, knowing his feelings for her but being unfeeling and selfish herself, and expecting him to just accept unreservedly that she is marrying one of his richer, social 'betters'.

The bitterness and malice increases as the novel progresses; in fact, it becomes practically relentless. In one respect, it was exhilarating that my assumptions were undercut and that I never truly knew what would happen next, but it did make it a bit harder to engage with. I know you don't necessarily have to personally identify with any characters in order to understand a book – it is a bit of a crutch, if we're honest – but I would have liked at least one character I could root for. Even the 'good' ones, like Edgar and Nelly, recognise the danger posed by the likes of Heathcliff but are too passive about it, and consequently become powerless. This makes it even harder to bear when Linton and the younger Cathy come under his thumb.

Leaving aside my emotional response, which can be best described as 'conflicted' (in a good way), I do have one or two other points to make. First, I don't think the ghost/horror angle worked that well. It doesn't form a significant part of the novel, which largely focuses on earthly elements, but the few unchallenged accounts of hauntings and the allusions to Heathcliff being a demon will probably jar the modern reader. I suppose we just have to remember that belief in the supernatural was largely accepted at the time the book was written, and so such things would probably seem unremarkable (in a narrative sense) to Brontë.

A second minor point I would like to make to prospective readers would be that the dialogue of Joseph, a persistent character, is rendered in strong Yorkshire dialect. I'm no stranger to reading in dialect, having read the likes of Mark Twain and Rudyard Kipling, but I really struggled to decipher what Joseph was saying most of the time. Consequently, I'd recommend one of the later edited editions which I have heard change his mutterings back into normal English (I read the Oxford World's Classics which is based on the first edition).

Above all, if there's one thing I'd like to impress on readers it is this: Wuthering Heights is not a love story in the traditional sense. It is a revenge story. It is the failings and humiliations of love which generate and feed the desire for revenge, but it's a revenge story nonetheless. And it is not an easy read, largely lacking the humour and self-consciousness of other 'period' classics like Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. This one requires perseverance and an open mind. On that note, I'd like to end with a quote from Charlotte Brontë, Emily's sister, who wrote an introductory note which is included at the end of my Oxford edition of Wuthering Heights. Appraising her sister's novel, Charlotte wrote, "If she [i.e. the reader] demands beauty to inspire her, she must bring it inborn: these moors are too stern to yield any product so delicate." You have to work at enjoying the book, but if you do keep at it, you will respond to it." ( )
  MikeFutcher | Jun 3, 2016 |
Review: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bonte.

An outstanding book for all to read. I loved the way the story was written and all the effects and adventure it gave the reader. It was intense, vibrating and crafted by elements of two generations coming together scornfully between the families with only one story to tell. It’s a novel about an evil detachment about love, obsession and revenge. It’s like, “who’s going to get the best of whom”.

The story contains a great deal of darkness and some cruelty. Love is offered but not without dramatic reactions to the story while the romances are nearly incestuous in tone. The main focus of the story is a rather twisted love story element that develops between Catherine and Healthcliff. Most of the book is written about Healthcliff’s attempts to destroy the lives of anyone and everyone who mistreated him or got in the way of his relationship with Catherine. His need for revenge does not lessen as the story moves on and Healthcliff continues to take his revenge to the next generation with Catherine’s daughter and his son…..

I enjoyed the old style language and the gothic feeling I felt whenever there was any kind of environmental descriptions. The story was set amid the wild and stormy Yorkshire moors. This is as far as I will go in reviewing this novel because I want to make sure I leave it as a well written classic. Absolutely a great recommendation.
( )
  Juan-banjo | May 31, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 470 (next | show all)
"wild, confused; disjointed and improbable"
added by GYKM | editExaminer
 
"In Wuthering Heights the reader is shocked, disgusted, almost sickened by details of cruelty, inhumanity, and the most diabolical hate and vengeance" ... "[it is] impossible to lay it aside afterwards and say nothing about it".
added by GYKM | editDouglas Jerrold's Weekly Newspaper
 
"How a human being could have attempted such a book as the present without committing suicide before he had finished a dozen chapters, is a mystery. It is a compound of vulgar depravity and unnatural horrors."
added by GYKM | editGraham's Lady Magazine
 
"We know nothing in the whole range of our fictitious literature which presents such shocking pictures of the worst forms of humanity."
added by GYKM | editAtlas
 
a "disagreeable story" ... the Bells "seem to affect painful and exceptional subjects"
added by GYKM | editAthenaeum, H. F. Chorley
 

» Add other authors (165 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brontë, Emilyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Becker, May LambertonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Booker, NellIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Daiches, DavidEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eichenberg, FritzIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Exell, FredCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Flosnik, AnneNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Forster, PeterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Henderson, PhilipEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jack, IanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kitchen, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lane, MargaretIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Merkin, DaphneIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nicoll, HelenProducersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peters, DonadaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Routledge, PatriciaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Small, HelenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stoneman, PatsyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, CandaceEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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1801—I have just returned from a visit to my landlord—the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with.
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...he shall never know how I love him; and that, not because he's handsome, Nelly, but because he's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same, and Linton's is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire.
...my great thought in living is himself. If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and, if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger. I should not seem a part of it. My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods. Time will change it, I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees - my love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath - a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff- he's always, always in my mind- not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself - but, as my own being -...
...for what is not connected with her to me? and what does not recall her? I cannot look down to this floor, but her features are shaped in the flags! In every cloud, in every tree - filling the air at night, and caught by glimpses in every object, by day I am surrounded with her image! The most ordinary faces of men, and women - my own features - mock me with a resemblance. The entire world is a dreadful collection of memoranda that she did exist, and that I have lost her!
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This is the complete, unabridged work - Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë.  Please combine this ONLY with edition which are the complete, unabridged work.  Please do not combine this work with works about Wuthering Heights, abridged versions, adaptations, or (according to convention) the Norton Critical Editions.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553212583, Mass Market Paperback)

"My greatest thought in living is Heathcliff. If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be... Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He's always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure... but as my own being." Wuthering Heights is the only novel of Emily Bronte, who died a year after its publication, at the age of thirty. A brooding Yorkshire tale of a love that is stronger than death, it is also a fierce vision of metaphysical passion, in which heaven and hell, nature and society, are powerfully juxtaposed. Unique, mystical, with a timeless appeal, it has become a classic of English literature.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:31 -0400)

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In 19th century Yorkshire, the passionate attachment between a headstrong young girl and a foundling boy brought up by her father causes disaster for them and many others, even in the next generation.

(summary from another edition)

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