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groo16
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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Book (spoilers, ok)

I am new to discussing books online- I just registered. I had to make a comment because I had noticed that Wuthering Heights was the topic of discussion, which is one of my favorite two books of all time. I took an entire semester course on the Bronte's in undergrad - all three were fabulous writers and entirely unique. I am glad to read that newer trends (Twlight) are infused with classic references, which have inspired newer generations to fall in love with timeless masterpieces!
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MaryE935
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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Book (spoilers, ok)

Hi Connie- 

 

Although Stephenie Meyer references the classic books, I never bought the idea that she based the Twilight books on them.  The plots and characters do not coincide.  However, it is wonderful that she mentions the books, so that young readers can at least be exposed to these important works of literature, and hopefully will read them too. 

 

Personally, Darcy is so far superior of a character to Edward Cullen-  Darcy seems like a real, believable person, who has strengths and weaknesses like all of us.  And his match with Elizabeth is healthy and supportive.

 

But Edward as Heathcliff, maybe... especially considering what happens to Bella in Breaking Dawn- Bella was basically destroyed by her love for Edward, in a death in childbirth, and then is reborn as a vampire- could be similar to how Heathcliff and Catherine are rumored to be ghosts together. 

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Akayed
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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Book (spoilers, ok)

I agree, it as if Bronte took the notion of courtly (sp?) love, and perverted it. The modern sentiments regarding idealized love no longer hold with the idealized love of the time period. Probably why I find the book so amusing in a twisted way. Even Nelly Dean, young Catherine and Hareton have all had periods where they are wallowing in their flaws.
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Peeps
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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Book (spoilers, ok)

[ Edited ]

Moxy wrote:

I find this novel to be about self-destructiveness, the moral tale of what happens when people behave selfishly, obsessively, and are essentially narcisists (sp?), even if in the name of love.  Despite the idea that these two loved each other, I no longer find it romantic when two people are miserable and pursue a revenge so cruel that it persists for decades and seemingly in perpetuity and grinds that love into utter destruction.  Heathcliffe's life became based on anger, and mostly his raging jealousy at not fitting in to a society, and one purpose only:  to exact his revenge on an entire family simply because he was judged not fit for that society (family).  To me the family is representative of the society, and that era, that society was oriented towards status and classicism.  One pretty much, if born into a particular status, would always be referenced to that status, despite one's actions to improve one's lot in life.  I am aware that when assessing a novel, one must work from the perspective of context, including era of writing. 

 

Wuthering Heights, as a love story, in my mind is descriptive of a bygone era, no matter how beautifully written.  In my mind, this novel is mostly lost on today's more modern sentiments of what love looks like and how to treat each other in the name of love.  What I mean is that this idea of tormented love, this kind of passion--as some might label it (I don't; I just think it's ugly)--the justification that I am cruel to you because I love you, is lost on this era of humanity, certainly in the US.  We've done much to educate men and women about abuse. 

 

In the author's era, it seems to me, it was a standard to describe love in this context:  of wild abandon, passion, breaking the rules ... because in that time the rigidity of society, and the pressure to conform, and women's position in society, and the position of a poor abandoned child in that society, were all too real.  To read a story of two people, of different classes, breaking the bonds of this society,and in love, was very compelling.  The problem I have here is the vicousness of the actions, on both sides, Catherine and Heathcliffe.  I agree with the person who commented that in today's time, Heathcliffe would be seen as a sociopath.  Looks normal; walks normal; can function in society in general in a sense of normalcy; but is motivated in ways, not normal, obsessively so.

 

On the other hand, a lot of love is precisely like this.  It begans sparkling and exciting, and beyond the rules of one's society somehow.  And it spirals down, often enough, into chaos and a crushing ending.  We have plenty of divorces to prove this point -- and not too few that are stories of people trying to crush each other somehow -- financially, legally, through one's children.  So perhaps this morality tale still stands?  Maybe, just maybe the morale point is that if one love's too much, too passionately, too something somehow, it's doomed.  Maybe it's a cautionary tale of working with the head a bit.

 

I like to contradict myself sometimes in the name of thinking out loud.  I personally had a lot of trouble with this story.  I found myself quite angry at times, because many of the actions were completely unjustified, and the part that was the love pretty much was lost on me after a bit.  I only saw cruelty, hatred, viciousness, anger, abuse, and finally violence.

 

 

 

 


Very interesting. I agree with a lot of what you say, and yet, would say that Wuthering Heights ends up being the exact opposite of a morality tale. I think one of the reasons the book endures is the imagination and feral energy that seems to pervade it. There is a wildness to the characters that is reflected in the landscape, and the savagery of Heathcliff and Catherine attain an almost sublime state as a result.

 

Also, I would add that before the age of psychoanalysis, there wasn't necessarily a way for people to really understand their own desires, especially the improper ones. Emily Bronte, like Bram Stoker, her sister, Mary Shelley, the list goes one--all seem to be guided by a subconscious directive in their writings. All are unsettling in their own ways about romantic relationships and carnal cravings. 

 

Morality is perhaps the guiding principle for Bronte's work, but in the case of Wuthering Heights, I would argue that Bronte achieves a truth in her character depictions than transcends morality, and is perhaps one of the reasons why it is such a provocative piece. After all, people always have much more to say about Heathcliff and Catherine than Hareton and Catherine II. 

 

BTW, love is still very much painted in terms of outlawed behaviours. There's a great piece in the NYT that explores the link between sex and violence that I found sheds a lot of light on the topic: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/25/magazine/25desire-t.html?scp=10&sq=sex&st=cse

 

 

Message Edited by Peeps on 01-29-2009 09:30 PM
http://www.tectonic-uplift.com/deepthiw
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GothicVampire613
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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Book (spoilers, ok)

[ Edited ]

[[I've often thought that all those young (and some not so young) Twilight fans would also love Wuthering Heights, don't you?  There's a lot of Heathcliff in Edward Cullen, I think, and Heathcliff and Catherine's relationship had to have been at least one strong influence on Edward's and Bella's. ]]

                                                               ~ConnieK

 

 

 

 

Yes, i have also read the Twilight series & i loved it as well. I do think that since it was mentioned in twilight, even if for a small amount, then young people or teenagers[[such as me]] are interested in Wuthering Heights. I also thought the plot and the strong chracters were really interesting..

Message Edited by GothicVampire613 on 01-30-2009 11:31 AM
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TAM525
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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Book (spoilers, ok)

My boyfriend, who is not into literature, watched Wuthering Heights with me and loved it.  After the first part, he said he really liked Heathcliff.  Not far into the second part, he said he could not stand Heathcliff.  It was fun watching it with someone who had never even heard of Wuthering Heights.  He was very confused at the beginning...not quite sure what was going on.  I think I would have been pretty confused if I did not know the story line. 
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ConnieAnnKirk
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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Book (spoilers, ok)


groo16 wrote:
I am new to discussing books online- I just registered. I had to make a comment because I had noticed that Wuthering Heights was the topic of discussion, which is one of my favorite two books of all time. I took an entire semester course on the Bronte's in undergrad - all three were fabulous writers and entirely unique. I am glad to read that newer trends (Twlight) are infused with classic references, which have inspired newer generations to fall in love with timeless masterpieces!

Welcome, groo!  Glad to hear WH brought you in!

~ConnieAnnKirk




[CAK's books , website.]
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ConnieAnnKirk
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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Book (spoilers, ok)


MaryE935 wrote:

Hi Connie- 

 

Although Stephenie Meyer references the classic books, I never bought the idea that she based the Twilight books on them.  The plots and characters do not coincide.  However, it is wonderful that she mentions the books, so that young readers can at least be exposed to these important works of literature, and hopefully will read them too. 

 

Personally, Darcy is so far superior of a character to Edward Cullen-  Darcy seems like a real, believable person, who has strengths and weaknesses like all of us.  And his match with Elizabeth is healthy and supportive.

 

But Edward as Heathcliff, maybe... especially considering what happens to Bella in Breaking Dawn- Bella was basically destroyed by her love for Edward, in a death in childbirth, and then is reborn as a vampire- could be similar to how Heathcliff and Catherine are rumored to be ghosts together. 


 

Hi, Mary--Oh, I don't think Meyer meant that she "based" her books on these classics at all.  I think she was just thinking of aspects of character and plot that echo their way through her books, some perhaps a little more intentionally on her part than others.  Sort of like ghosts or shadows from her reading, eh?  :smileywink:  It is interesting that young readers are responding so strongly to the 'gothic' quality of the Twilight books.
~ConnieAnnKirk




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ConnieAnnKirk
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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Book (spoilers, ok)


TAM525 wrote:
My boyfriend, who is not into literature, watched Wuthering Heights with me and loved it.  After the first part, he said he really liked Heathcliff.  Not far into the second part, he said he could not stand Heathcliff.  It was fun watching it with someone who had never even heard of Wuthering Heights.  He was very confused at the beginning...not quite sure what was going on.  I think I would have been pretty confused if I did not know the story line. 

 

Interesting, Tam!  I know our discussion with the screenwriter, Pete Bowker, showed that he seemed to have young viewers in mind when he wrote his adaptation--sounds like his script worked for that purpose!  :smileywink:
~ConnieAnnKirk




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scheft
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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Book (spoilers, ok)

I am just finishing Wuthering Heights for the second time, having previously read it many years ago. I found that I enjoyed the book much more at this point in my life, much more so than at the age of thirteen. When I first read this book I was completely unimpressed and bored by it. I found the both of the main characters to be far to selfish and completely focused on only themselves and their needs both for revenge in Heathcliffs case and Heathcliffs love and devotion in Catherines. With age comes perspective and I came to Wuthering Height with a totally diiferent mind set upon rereading. While the characters remainded as I remembered, I was able to find more sympathy for their faults than before. Heathcliff became much more of a sympathic figure to me, due to his harsh treatment by Hindley and hot and cold treament by Catherine. Heathcliff's personality was totally formed by both his life before he came into the Earnshaw householdl and his treatment afterwards. He was always treated as if he didn't belong or wasn't good enough to belong in the Earnshaw house, even by Catherine who claimed to love him. In the end, I wanted Heathcliff to get what he wanted, because he suffered so much to get it. Catherine for me was a harder character to engage with emotionally. I felt that Catherine was someone who wanted it both ways. She wanted the respectablity that came with marriage to Edgar Linton while still keeping Heatcilffs love. She was far more selfish in her inability to decide between the two men which made her unable to truely love Edgar while being equally incapable of releasing Heathcliff to find someone else to love. This indecision ulitmately lead to the downfall of Isabella who was courted out of spite rather than any affection on Heathcliffs part. Isabella who truely loved Heathcilff at the outset only to be totally disalluionsed by him and her totally abandonment by her brother. As for Cathy the younger, Linton, and Hareton, I totally saw the mirror relationship between Cathy and Hareton and Catherine and Heathcliff with the former getting to enjoy the life that the latter could not. I found it rather interesting that Linton while being rasied exclusively by his mother and her family, turned out to be much more like his father who he never knew until adulthood. Overall I enjoyed the book much more than I was intending and will more than likely read it again in the future.
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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Book (spoilers, ok)


scheft wrote, in part:


I am just finishing Wuthering Heights for the second time, having previously read it many years ago. I found that I enjoyed the book much more at this point in my life, much more so than at the age of thirteen....


Hi, scheft--I'm often struck by this very same thing with so many works of literature.  I see something different in a novel or a play or a poem, etc. in different parts of my life.  I think this is one of the joys of reading classics over one's lifetime.  It also clearly has to be, in my mind at least, one definition of what makes a classic--a work that keeps giving! 

 

It's interesting to me to think that the words on the page of these books have not changed at all in all those years--but I have!  :smileywink:

~ConnieAnnKirk




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ACDCGIRL
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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Book (spoilers, ok)

I'm a freshman and I just finished reading Wuthering Heights, such a novel! It's one of my favorites now, I love Cathy's character most of all perhaps. And Heathcliff is so very passionate! I love the depth of it and especially the point of view from the housekeeper.
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Everyman
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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Book (spoilers, ok)

Welcome!  I'm delighted to see that you're already enjoying the classic novels -- there is such a store of wonderful reading ahead of you.  Please do feel free to keep sharing your viewpoints here -- it's most interesting to see how different generations read these books.  I think most of us whose hair is grey with years [cf. Byron's Byron's Prisoiner of Chillon] have seen our view of books change from the way we read them as young folks like yourself, but it will be particularly interesting to see whether today's young read them with some of the same thoughts that the WWII generation did.  So do jump in and share your ideas with us!


ACDCGIRL wrote:
I'm a freshman and I just finished reading Wuthering Heights, such a novel! It's one of my favorites now, I love Cathy's character most of all perhaps. And Heathcliff is so very passionate! I love the depth of it and especially the point of view from the housekeeper.

 

 

_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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ConnieAnnKirk
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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Book (spoilers, ok)


ACDCGIRL wrote:
I'm a freshman and I just finished reading Wuthering Heights, such a novel! It's one of my favorites now, I love Cathy's character most of all perhaps. And Heathcliff is so very passionate! I love the depth of it and especially the point of view from the housekeeper.

 

Welcome, ACDCGIRL!  I'm so glad you enjoyed Wuthering Heights.  It's a perfect novel to read first when you're young, I think.  Young adults really "get" this novel!
~ConnieAnnKirk




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ACDCGIRL
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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Book (spoilers, ok)

I agree, Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice are my two favorites so far. I'm going to try and read Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey in the immediate future.

ACDCGIRL

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NevermoreBC
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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Book (spoilers, ok)

Since I read and saw two film adaptations several times, it is without suprise that I love this text.  Heathcliff is the dark, brooding anti-hero and though the tale can be romantic, it is thickly laced with enough gothic undertones that constantly reminds the reader to "take heart and not smike at any part of it."

I recommended one of the more recent adaptations. The Wuthering Heights film adaptation in the 1990s with Ralph Fiennes is a brillant adaptation.  I used it to present the tone of the novel to students in a senior-level English course and they connected with it. Nothing compares to the text, but it is a successful interpretation that includes both generations. 

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evilapprentice
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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Book (spoilers, ok)

Wuthering Heights is one of my absolute favorite books of all time.  It's one of those that I kind of keep going back to when I don't know what else to read.  I don't even know what it is about the book that I love so much. I just do.

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shmengee
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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Book (spoilers, ok)

I love classics and I am a young adult but I really disliked Wuthering Heights.  I thought it was terrible and I cannot understand why people like it so much.  It was weird and unhappy and a little confusing because there were two people with the same name.

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ACDCGIRL
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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Book (spoilers, ok)

Dear Shmengee,

 

I think tragedies like Wuthering Heights require masochistic personalities to read and enjoy it. What attracts me to it personally is the wonderful agony on either side, how stubborn both of them are because they won't admit their faults, and the blisfully simple solution that they ignore. It's is sad, weird, definitely confusing and unhappy, but in a way the pain of it makes it. Only the English could write such a sad, soggy book.

Merry Christmas!

Sincerely,

ACDC Girl 

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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Book (spoilers, ok)


ACDCGIRL wrote:

Dear Shmengee,

 

I think tragedies like Wuthering Heights require masochistic personalities to read and enjoy it. What attracts me to it personally is the wonderful agony on either side, how stubborn both of them are because they won't admit their faults, and the blisfully simple solution that they ignore. It's is sad, weird, definitely confusing and unhappy, but in a way the pain of it makes it. Only the English could write such a sad, soggy book.

Merry Christmas!

Sincerely,

ACDC Girl 


 

Oh, I don't think you have to be masochistic to enjoy Wuthering Heights; you can just appreciate the gothic romantic genre, or any number of other aspects of the novel.  When a novel speaks to you, and it makes you want to read it over and over, I think that's cool.  And, ACDC, we have at least one English member of the club here in Classics, so I think she will take exception to your characterization of her country-folks writing books the way you portray them!  Let's please avoid painting readers and writers with such broad brushes!  The world is a bigger place than most of us think and full of a richness and variety we will never all get our heads around!  Thanks!  :smileywink:

~ConnieAnnKirk




[CAK's books , website.]