Lazarus P Badpenny Esq's Reviews > Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
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Dec 04, 13

bookshelves: death, england, hopeless-romantics, nature, penguin-classics, pre-twentieth-century, 2-kewl-4-skewl, stories, littlekrakowton-litchat-chit-chat, 2010, 1001-before-i-die, enl219_genre_prose_fiction, u_grad_set_text
Recommended for: window-pains
Read from May 08 to 23, 2010 — I own a copy, read count: 3

Way-back-a-while the emerging middle classes, rich with the self-loathing that comes from having too much time on their hands and the attendant guilt of enjoying comforts earnt sitting on their arses at the expense of a labouring poor, decided that the novel should evolve into an instrument for injecting their jaded existences with a case of the restorative collywobbles. Thanks to which the world ended up saddled with the lesser Bronte's invidious intellectual equivalent of a rape fantasy and ever since girls - and a good few boys - of a certain disposition {although rarely the consumptive one they would have wished for} have had a roll-call of role-models, the bad-boys and ghost-girls, with which to populate their self-abuse. Tiresome for the rest of us.
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Reading Progress

12/08/2009 page 8
05/28/2010 page 21
6.23% "they's good books eneugh if ye'll read 'em; sit ye dahn, and think uh yer souls!" 1 comment
06/02/2010 page 95
28.19% "...and it ended when circumstances caused each to feel that the one's interest was not chief consideration in the other's thoughts."
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Comments (showing 1-14 of 14) (14 new)

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Bettie☯ It all makes sense if one reads it from the du Marier perspective, being that Bram wrote the greater part of Wuthering. Looking at it that way it becomes a hypnotic story.

message 2: by Bettie☯ (last edited May 10, 2010 10:37AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bettie☯ The Infernal World of Branwell Bronte is a dry but compulsive read if for no other reason than to get a grip on Daphne's very own ocd symptoms. WH is, in Daphne's eyes, an example of writing collusion between brother and sister in furtherance of their childhood stories.

Its differing POVs can draw you in......

Bettie☯ Moxysox wrote: "Inter-library loan. Then I'll know everything! He-he-he-he-he-he etc.

Thanx for the fax abart da berk!


I am thinking about creating a 'doo-lally' shelf for items such as this!

Bettie☯ too full of themselves

That's a clever observation, young Moxysox. I have noticed that they can be construed as plot spoilers too.

*shrugs* - Hey Ho and on we go.

Life is fun.

Cemre You know Heathcliff was dirt poor, right? Also, only person who was (possibily) raped in this book was Isabella and heck it wasn't romanticized.

Cemre Is there a case of a rapist defending himself by citing Wuthering Heights ? The girls who are dreaming about Heathcliff are generally the ones who have never read this book. Sometimes people think that they've read a classic novel whereas in reality they haven't and Wuthering Heights seems to be one of the main targets of that unfortunate effect.

message 7: by Lazarus (last edited Dec 22, 2014 03:27AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lazarus P Badpenny Esq Cemre wrote: "You know Heathcliff was dirt poor, right? Also, only person who was (possibily) raped in this book was Isabella and heck it wasn't romanticized."

You have a point - but Heathcliff didn't write this book, a Brontë did. Language may speak only of itself and all stories are really autobiographies. They are also cultural products in the sense Raymond Williams suggested. Brontë cannot know poverty, only the prejudices of her class towards the poor and their situation (read: Irish/Black/itinerent/malefaction/evil etc). Heathcliff is like all products of bourgeois objectification - he 'exists' not in himself but only for his effects. His is a selfish, and self-obsessed creation.

And if Isabella's abuse wasn't 'romanticized' it was certainly Romanticized. The violence of life is not questioned - there is no dissident reading in Brontë - but rather it is shown to be as naturalized as the weather. It exists for our entertainment (just as it was written originally to entertain the siblings). And whether a woman is the subject of domestic violence is reduced to the question of if she has met the 'right' man. The women are denied agency and everything is resolved with a marriage.

Cemre But Isabella ran away, and she raised her child. I don't think there's anybody who have read this book and wanted to be Isabella. Violance is questioned, that's why Heathcliff gave up at the end. Everything was caused by child abuse at first place. If the agency of Bronte was overlooked for the sake of Romanticism, that might have something to do with her gender, don't you think ?

Also, isn't WH about Cathy's betrayal of her ownself ? Her marriage was her death. Her love with Heathcliff was a love of equals, it can even be said that she was the dominant one. That's why her choice to marry the golden boy was wrong.
Cathy Jr. married yes, but she also taught the man she married how to read.

The opression of poor and female is emphasized : Heathcliff hasn't got a surname, women have plenty, which equals none. If the book has been dumbed down by popular media, it's hardly Bronte's problem, the book doesn't romanticize (or Romanticize for that matter) anything. We can argue about the book's minor flaws but it's definetely a non-conformist novel, religion is questioned, and Heathcliff is one of the most well written "Other"s, a monster, but we root for him. He's certainly a much more honest creation than any working class character of Dickens. The rich characters are constantly mistaken for servants. Urban gentleman Lockwood and his Victorian ideals are mocked.

Also keep in mind that Emily had Irish ancestery (her father changed their surname) and she was an unmarried woman. She was a bourgeois ( like most novel writers) but she's hardly the writer to be attacked for it. The fact that Heathcliff was objectified (he was, to an extent, but it must be noted the one who objectifies him is also a servant) seems unimportant, considering the fact that most other writers didn't even bother to have poor people in their novels. Emily's is the main character.

Cemre Compare Heathcliff with Bertha Mason for example, don't you think he's an improvement ?

Cemre The thing is, for it to be a "rape fantasy", there has to be a rape, and it must give the reader pleasure. This isn't the case here. At best we're disgusted, at worst, we're indifferent.

Cemre Isabella's subplot can be read as a warning : Don't romanticize Heathcliff ! Heathcliff even says that he is not a hero of a romance. Your argument is a contradiction of itself! You say that Isabella was abused because she hasn't 'met' (hasn't 'chosen' would be more accurate) the right man, you then say that Heathcliff is romanticized and it's bad and harmful.

Also "lesser Bronte" ? Please Jane Eyre has all of the flaws you've mentioned, only bigger.

Note : I don't know who has a sadistic pleasure while reading Wuthering Heights, but I'm sure it isn't a sexual one, since it's a pretty asexual novel. (Marital rape is only implied.)

Cemre Lastly

1- There are much better representetives of the thing you hate : Conventional, conformist, classist, racist, sexist Victorian novel. Even if it can be argued that WH is such a book (which ı don't agree) it's far FAR from being the worst one.

2- You say that there isn't dissident reading in Bronte. How did you decide ? If it's the case, is it a bad thing ? Author being neutral ?

Cemre Seriously, how did you come to the conclusion that this is a rape fantasy ?

Cemre You seem to think that this novel is cherished by some self abusive stupid children. You say that it is "tiresome for the rest of us". Can you explain that "rest of us"? Wuthering Heights is a well respected novel that is liked by academia, and it's a part of the canon, with very few protest. Of course a work being well respected may not mean anything qualitywise, but I'm confused on exactly who you're referring to with "rest of us".

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