Ben's Reviews > Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
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May 14, 2010

did not like it
bookshelves: read-in-2010
Read from July 07 to 11, 2010

I stopped at page 42. I couldn't stand the writing. Not only was it difficult to decipher -- call me dumb if you must -- but sentences, even paragraphs, that could have been summed-up with a few words were expounded upon pompously for pages. This is a shame, because I love dark love stories -- and that, along with what I had heard about this novel's strong character development, and its generally strong reputation -- made me think I'd love it.

But I can't take anymore of the prose, and I'm too bored with ADD, and too distracted with lack of patience to continue.

Just can't do it....

MeeeYuck.
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02/06/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-50 of 77) (77 new)


Kat Kennedy ^^ Love that reaction!


Michelle This is one of my favorite books of all time.


Nicole Such a dark love story.


Nicole One star!!!! What!


message 5: by David (new)

David I love it. Benji gives the Victorian/Edwardian Anglophiles a good what-for! Go, Benji! Go, go, go, Benji! It's your birfday!


karen hahah he is giving it one star, but voting for other people's five-star reviews to, what, soften us for when he does write the review?? i will not be softened!!


message 7: by David (new)

David Next, Benji: Tear through the rest of the Austen oeuvre and rake that scone-noshin' bitch over the coals! YES!


message 8: by Ben (last edited Jul 12, 2010 06:40AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Ben I'm still going to read Austen's Persuasion soon. Unless its writing is in a style similar to this....is that the case?

(My only other experience with Victorian literature that I can recall was with Pride and Prejudice, and I listened to it, and it was years ago. I gave it 3-stars.)


message 9: by Ben (new) - rated it 1 star

Ben Do Dickens novels count as Victorian? I read A Tale of Two Cities in high school and thought it was okay; picked up Great Expectations recently and had to put it down; and now I'm listening to Oliver, and its...okay -- probably 2 or 3 stars, and I'm not so sure I'd be able to read it instead of listen to it.


message 10: by Ben (last edited Jul 12, 2010 06:55AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Ben I think I may be okay with Victorian stuff -- like Dickens, if he counts -- if it isn't as extreme as this. Then again, I don't really "like" Dickens or his style.

This was so freakin' extreme. Was it considered readable at the time?


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

This was so freakin' extreme. Was it considered readable at the time?

It is really extreme, and I think it is pretty readable compared to some gothic novels - I chucked Mysteries of Udolpho pretty fast, although Elizabeth managed to make it through, and now I'm all tantalized by what I might be missing.

Srsly, Ben, at about page 50 the dog-fights start and then everything goes really nuts. You get away from the narrator guy talking about himself too, which is good, because he's boring.

P.S. Dickens arghghghgh.


message 12: by Ben (last edited Jul 12, 2010 07:15AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Ben Elizabeth wrote: "Ben wrote: "This was so freakin' extreme. Was it considered readable at the time?"

It was considered radical, possibly heretical, and seriously subversive. They were convinced no woman could have ..."


That creates a more clear picture for me -- thank you. Do you think Bronte was even capable of writing well in a more normalized fashion? Was she hiding behind this fancy (and to me, unenjoyable, difficult) prose?


message 13: by J (new) - rated it 5 stars

J Ben wrote: "Do Dickens novels count as Victorian?

Yes.

Was it considered readable at the time?

Yes.

Ceridwen's right; the beginning narrator is kind of dull. He's just there to show you how remote the moors are and how creepy Heathcliff can be. He's just there to set a frightfully Gothic scene.


message 14: by Ben (new) - rated it 1 star

Ben J wrote: Ceridwen's right; the beginning narrator is kind of dull. He's just there to show you how remote the moors are and how creepy Heathcliff can be. He's just there to set a frightfully Gothic scene.

Well, I hate him for speaking to me that way and wasting my time. You can thank him for my stoppage in reading.


Tyler The success of Wuthering Heights is hugely dependent on the writing, which doesn't vary much from the start. So if you don't like it by page 42, it won't get better and you're right to stop, regardless of the plot and regardless of whether it's a classic or not.

For comparison, you might read a few pages of The Monk and see if that also leaves you cold. If so, there's something defective about that whole period in "dark" literature. If not, it's the author who's at fault.


karen wh is an amazing amazing book, but to me it takes a little while to get going. it's a five star book, but even though i love2 it, i do not love the beginning bits.

too bad for you!


Paquita Maria Sanchez First thing's first...to your amazing avatar, I must retort:

Photobucket

And now to your review...
The time that I spent reading this book, my skin was crawling. Not in the sense that the book was scary or intimidating or any of that. Oh no, this was more like "ggrrrrrrrr I HATE EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE STUPID PEOPLE AND EVERY STUPID THING THEY STUPIDLY DO THE STUPID STUPIDS!" Yeah, almost as irritating as this giant, painful sunburn that my pale skin got yesterday from spending 3 hours in the southern sun with no sunblock. As I champed my way through a book consisting of not one single likable character to latch on to, I continuously felt like every cell in my body was on self-destruct mode and was electrocuting itself FROM inside myself. And then I finished it...and realized that was exactly what I loved about it. It pissed me off SO MUCH. It completely achieved what it seemed to set out to do...get your goat, illustrate the failings of the heart, and show you just how shitty people really can be, how fickle. I begrudgingly gave it five stars because it just seemed to be done so well. That is not an effective literary analysis, I know. Nor is it everything that the book stands for, but it is what I took from it and still have with me a year later. It's one of those things like Requiem For A Dream or Dogville where you fully appreciate it as much as it hurt to watch, you are glad when you finish it, and you consider it highly possible that you never, EVER want or need to see it again. In the end I hated it, which is why I loved it. It made me feel bitter and tainted...and I feel lucky when something completely fictional manages to do that, as I can be a bit detached from time to time. Oh, and Heathcliff is a magnificent bastard/villain.


message 18: by David (new)

David This is my favorite Benjiism of all time (thus far):

Well, I hate him for speaking to me that way and wasting my time.


Sparrow . . . and those aren't even the good Dickens.


karen bleak house is my favorite.


Sparrow karen wrote: "bleak house is my favorite."

But I'll say it again: have you read Our Mutual Friend? Bleak House was my favorite until I read that one. I hate to give it too much build up, but I think it is off the charts. I just sent my extra copy to Elizabeth, or I'd offer it.


karen i own it (thank you lost) maybe that will be my big post-proust book.


message 23: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell Elizabeth wrote: "It was considered radical, possibly heretical, and seriously subversive. They were convinced no woman could have written it"

Well, the subject matter was, yeah, and the Bronte sisters were all called 'coarse' (which pained Charlotte no end) but in terms of prose style I don't think it's terribly different from, say, Great Expectations or North & South. In fact WH is a lot terser than either Dickens or Gaskell and she doesn't go in much for natural description, which is kind of amazing once you go through the novel looking for it, because she's so linked with the outdoors. (Compare the bravura opening of Bleak House with WH - we never get anything that involved and descriptive from Bronte.) It sounds to me like Ben just might not like the high Victorian style.

I also disagree that WH is a kind of Gothic Romantic outpouring - it has those elements, yeah, but it also has a really rigorous time scheme that C.P. Sanger was the first to point out (http://www.wuthering-heights.co.uk/sa..., altho that site rearranges the essay some). Chitham makes a pretty good case that Anne and Emily both wrote with almanacs in front of them, so all that wild emotion has a pretty solid foundation in a rational structure.


message 24: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell karen wrote: "bleak house is my favorite."

Me too!


message 25: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell Meredith wrote: ". . . and those aren't even the good Dickens."

Bleak House and GE? Seriously? Those are my two top favourites (Oliver's okay - certainly readable, but not great).


Sparrow Way to go Lost! It takes a while to get through, like any Dickens (at least for me), but I think it's fun basically the whole time.


Sparrow Moira wrote: "Bleak House and GE? Seriously? Those are my two top favourites (Oliver's okay - certainly readable, but not great)."

No not Bleak House and GE! Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, and Oliver Twist. TTC and OT are two I love, but they're not nearly as good as Bleak House and OMF. I really can't stand GE. I honestly think it's bad.


message 28: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell Elizabeth wrote: "But she's coming out of a very real tradition of the gothic romance novel and she may have produced the best of the lot."

Actually the Brontes aren't truly gothic novel writers....nearly all of the 'supernatural' elements in their novels have natural explanations (the nun in Villette is a big example). There's the telepathy in Jane Eyre but I think in WH it's never ever clear whether the writer truly thinks there's ghosts or not. In one of the nonfiction Bronte books I read this year there was a fascinating essay on how destabilizing WH is - especially in terms of whether or not there's an actual afterlife, if Heathcliff and Catherine are truly separated, if the ghost Lockwood dreams of is real, &c. That's very far removed from The Monk or Varney the Vampire or Poe.


Sparrow I think it's also kind of a mistake to compare Austen, the Brontes, and Dickens, who were all writing about 50 years apart from each other. Dickens had to have read the other two, right? Not that I think one of them is better than the other. I love all three.


message 30: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell Meredith wrote: "I really can't stand GE. I honestly think it's bad. "

WHUT


Sparrow Moira wrote: "Meredith wrote: "I really can't stand GE. I honestly think it's bad. "

WHUT"


This is going to make you even more mad: I like the movie.


message 32: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell Meredith wrote: "I think it's also kind of a mistake to compare Austen, the Brontes, and Dickens, who were all writing about 50 years apart from each other."

....No....Charlotte was born four years after Dickens (he outlived her by twenty years). Austen died the year before Dickens was born.

A lot of Charlotte's (male) contemporaries (G.H. Lewes, her publisher) admired Austen and thought she should write less Romantic stuff, and she read P&P and I think Emma and didn't like them at all. Charlotte didn't like Dickens much - her great literary hero was Thackeray.


message 33: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell Meredith wrote: "This is going to make you even more mad: I like the movie."

....haaaaaaaaaaaa now you're just messing with me.


Sparrow Moira wrote: "....No....Charlotte was born four years after Dickens (he outlived her by twenty years). Austen died the year before Dickens was born."

Oh, you're so right. I wonder who I was looking up that was the end of the century. Totally thought it was Dickens.


message 35: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell Elizabeth wrote: "you can't say Charlotte isn't suggesting a ghost in WH"

Well, I can, since that's Emily. ;-)


Sparrow Moira wrote: "Elizabeth wrote: "you can't say Charlotte isn't suggesting a ghost in WH"

Well, I can, since that's Emily. ;-)"


ooooooo SNAP! You are all over this 19th century crap, Moi! Taking us to task!


message 37: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell Meredith wrote: "ooooooo SNAP! You are all over this 19th century crap, Moi! Taking us to task! "

I knew that worthless undergraduate minor in Victorian Literature would someday come in handy on the internet!


Sparrow Moira wrote: "I knew that worthless undergraduate minor in Victorian Literature would someday come in handy on t..."

There should be a royalty check in there somewhere for you from the collective Victorian dynasty. You're looking out for the family.


message 39: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell Elizabeth wrote: "Sigh. I'm not arguing with you until after hours. Carry on."

....Sorry, I meant to be funny....


Sparrow Moira wrote: "Elizabeth wrote: "Sigh. I'm not arguing with you until after hours. Carry on."

....Sorry, I meant to be funny...."


We luvs ya (more than we love being right, even, I think it's safe to say). ;) You carry on rocking the Victorian lit info.


message 41: by [deleted user] (new)

Woh! Ben! Forget the not finishing of WH. I can understand that. I mean, I read it and didn't hate it, but can't say I loved it either. But not finishing GE, that's what got my attention. That surprises me knowing some of the works that you do like.


message 42: by Aerin (new)

Aerin I hate this book too, and I always feel like I should be ashamed of that, but... I'm not. Not really.

I had to read it in high school, and some part of me keeps saying that if I read it now, as an older wiser person and not reading under duress, I would appreciate it more. But I doubt it. All the characters were so completely despicable, and nothing EVER happens.


Misha Aerin, having read this book at the age of 34, I feel I can comfortable say if you hated it in high school, you'll hate it now. The people don't become any less despicable. There were things I could appreciate about the book artistically, but it is not a book I liked. I don't understand why people think WH is a great love story.


karen well, it is a love story, just not a sanitized gentle love story. jealousy and obsession are parts of "love", too, just not your pretty-love-story love.


message 45: by Randy (new)

Randy Ben, ben, ben...you poor, wretched, brave man...I wouldn't touch the Bronte sisters with a 10 foot pole. Emma Thompson couldn't even prevent me from gagging at the thought of such horseshit. Spit it out man...clean your mouth thoroughly with some Bushmills or Jameson and move on! The horror, the horror...


message 46: by Ben (last edited Jul 12, 2010 11:58AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Ben See, Karen, I love tales of jealousy and obsession and existential angst and internal pain -- especially if rotten things happen. I really do. I think that's a main reason I was so frustrated with this -- because I had heard so much (and hell, even Virginia Woolf, one of my favorite writers in the world, praised it) -- and it sounded very inline with my tastes. But I just can't get past the writing. And I really do see a difference between this and Dickens (who, by the way, I gave up on even listening to a few hours ago during my lunch break). I can tolerate Dickens' style -- I don't prefer it, but I tolerate it. I know I would have kept with this longer had I not found the writing so insufferable.

And Randy has provided my favorite comment so far.


karen in my opinion, the beginning is kind of murky, but once the actual story, not the bookend bits, begins, it is beautiful. i always gloss over the beginning in my mind.

maybe you would like windward heights - a retelling set in warmer climes by a more lyrical writer.


karen but i am drunk right now - ha!


message 49: by Ben (new) - rated it 1 star

Ben I live in Florida: I'm sick of the heat. Watcha been drinkin'?


karen i decided i was sick of the heat myself so i bought tons of girly drinks. i have finished a 6 pack of cranberry lime smirnoff and soon i will work on the black cherry lemonade mike's.

it is too hot to eat, right?

but in all sobriety, wh is one of my favorite books ever.


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