Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte, 1847
Welcome to a brand new type of post. When I review classic literature for this blog, I often feel the need to write “but, that’s just my opinion.” I know that while I think Robert Burns descended from heaven and Herman Melville is duller than an anvil, other people have different and equally valid opinions. My friends Sahra and Simone talk about Wuthering Heights a lot. They’re Wuthering Heights fangirls. I wanted to include their thoughts on the book, so we sat down and chatted about it. I recorded and transcribed the conversation. Let me know if you like this type of post. We three ladies have a lot to say about literature. We could just keep on talking.
This post is very long. Click the link below to read the entire post and see all the pictures. The pictures are a collaborative effort too. Simone and her husband Ike visited the Bronte home on their honeymoon and took some amazing pictures on the romantic moors. Moors!
Sydney’s comments are bold.
Sahra’s comments are in italics.
Simone’s comments are in the regular font.
What was first about this book? Why was it so popular immediately?
It actually had a mixed critical reception. It’s much more loved now than it was during its time, because people were shocked by. . .
It was sexual.
It made a big splash. It was controversial and controversial kind of equals popular, because everyone was talking about it. I remember when we went to the house, they had displays of the reviews from that time, saying that it would corrupt young women’s minds.
Did she write under a male penname?
The Bronte’s all did. The question of whether they would all be as popular today if they hadn’t written under male pseudonyms, we can never know.
There are a lot of books by Victorians authors that were embraced by Victorians as being examples of who they wanted to be as a society. Dickens, for example, had evil characters, but overall his work is a reflection of the morality of his times. But, I think that Emily Bronte certainly was not embraced in that way. People did not want to hear about the cruel behavior and twisted psychology of her characters. That was very forbidden.
Can you think of books written before this that have anti-heroes?
Byron. Not novels, so much.
Certainly not many, and probably not any female authors.
(Although, now I am thinking that Charlotte Temple certainly qualifies as an anti-hero.)
Byron sort of started that dark, twisted hero deal. And I can see Byronic influence in Wuthering Heights.
Would you consider Heathcliff to be a Byronic hero?
I think he qualifies as Byronic, because he has a dark past. I don’t know though, because the Byronic hero tries to do the right thing, but is overcome by his dark mysterious past and his psychological issues and Heathcliff is trying really hard to do the wrong thing and mess up people’s lives.