Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

wuthering heightsREAD FOR BOOKCLUB

Chosen by Nadine

A brooding tale of passion and revenge set in the Yorkshire moors

♥ “Emily Brontë’s 1847 novel details the arrival at Wuthering Heights of a man named Heathcliffe and the close bond he forms with his benefactor’s daughter, Catherine Earnshaw. Class status divides them, and a saga of frustrated yearning and destruction follows, culminating in Catherine refusing to marry Heathcliff after her brother’s meddling. Heathcliffe departs the property only to return years later both educated and wealthy.

“A second generation of family dramas and love interests abound, all the time with both Heathcliffe and the married Catherine at the periphery interferring with events.

“The novel did not become well-known or liked until after the author’s death, with critics complaining of its excess of passion, coarseness and ambiguity, even: ‘in a great measure unintelligible, and-where intelligible-repulsive‘.

“More critical analysis of the book since has caused many to conclude it is a work of genius, spanning both Gothic and Romantic genres and posing the important question: “Who and what is Heathcliffe?” asking the reader to consider the effect Heathcliff has on those around him. Recurring sexual symbolism, a complex narrative structure and a defiance of rigid categories portray characters as either saints and sinners, yet their cruelty and selfishness does not prevent them from being likeable – very un-Victorian.

“Breaking away from these traditional genre markers is perhaps what has given the book long-lasting appeal. An exciting plot; the moody moorland setting and the originality of the characters were all precursors for a modern style of penmanship. The ending (no spoiler) was once called the ‘most powerful and daring climax in English Literature’.

“The expectation of a Victorian narrative to find something more indepth and contemporary in nature meant all the freerangers connected instantly with Wuthering Heights. The mysteriousness of Heathcliffe captured us and the unpredictability of the plot also kept us on our toes. It’s clear this is an important part of literary history and everyone should read it!”

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Published 1847
Thomas Cautley Newby
214 pages

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