- PUBLISHING DATE: 30th March 2011 (Original publishing date: December 1847)
- PUBLISHER: Penguin Classics
- FORMAT: E-Book (Kindle Edition)
- GENRE: Fiction, Classics, Romance, Literature, Gothic, Historical Fiction, 19th Century Literature, Novel
- ASIN: B004UJAOLM
- RATING: 4/5
Emily Brontë’s only novel, a work of tremendous and far-reaching influence, the Penguin Classics edition of Wuthering Heights is the definitive edition of the text, edited with an introduction by Pauline Nestor. Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange, situated on the bleak Yorkshire moors, is forced to seek shelter one night at Wuthering Heights, the home of his landlord. There he discovers the history of the tempestuous events that took place years before; of the intense relationship between the gypsy foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw; and how Catherine, forced to choose between passionate, tortured Heathcliff and gentle, well-bred Edgar Linton, surrendered to the expectations of her class. As Heathcliff’s bitterness and vengeance at his betrayal is visited upon the next generation, their innocent heirs must struggle to escape the legacy of the past.
As beautiful as the writing is in this book, there isn’t much I can say that makes me want to read it for a third or fourth time. I think the dramatisation of this book for both television and film has numbed us from the truth of Heathcliff’s character, and even that of Catherine Earnshaw. Their souls may be the same, and they may very well be soulmates in life and death but, their brutality and selfishness on reading felt like salt water in my mouth.
Catherine Earnshaw used to be a woman I admired because of her ability to stay true to herself despite how much Nelly Dean and others beseech her to be calm and genteel at all times. Now, however, I am seeing her for the first time for who she really is whether by design of Emily Bronte or because, I understand the story better than in my teens but she is a woman I have grown to despise. In my opinion, she is petty, childish and fickle in her attentions. Her spoilt attitude irks me to no end. If she can’t have Edgar she must have Heathcliff but if he does not want her, she must have Edgar and if she cannot have either, she shuts herself away and throws massive temper tantrums to the point where even their doctor deems it necessary for Catherine Earnshaw/Catherine Linton to have her own way.
These characters have made me so angry over the days that I’ve been reading this that I cannot find much in way of praise. It does make me wonder just what occurred in Emily Bronte’s life to make her write such a disturbing and awe-inspiring novel? Did she endure her own Heathcliff in life that made her determined to write this tale? I don’t know the answers to my questions but it does make me question her subject matter.
Bronte’s use of dialect for Joseph was exceptionally clever, I’ll give her that. Her upbringing in Yorkshire obviously helped her construct Joseph and was probably based off a real-life individual who lived in and around her family’s home. The dialect is so strong that Joseph’s religious speeches were difficult to deconstruct and understand.
A great novel indeed but is no longer a favourite. Definitely, one that should be read as Bronte’s description of the moors and country are vivid on the page and in the mind.