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Re: Victorian Inheritance Laws (Spoilers)

Wonderful post, Pepper, even though it still leaves things somewhat unresolved.

The bottom line I get from what you quoted concerning the specific issue of whether Hareton and Cathy now own Thrushcross Grange is that neither Rahman a nor Sanger are able to identify the legal principle which would allow such a result, but that they aren't willing definitively to rule it out.

I'm not surprised that others have investigated the issue, which weakens the argument that Bronte and her editors must have been right because there wasn't an outcry at the time (and as the passage you quoted points out, Orley Farm had at least one totally wrong principle, and there are other places where Trollope makes legal errors, so authors and editors do allow legal errors to slip into published works).

What does surprise me is that none of us can find a definitive answer. One would think that it would be pretty clear under the law in effect at Heathcliff's death as to where his property would pass by the then current law of intestacy. But I suspect we would have to invoke a scholar of 17th century English law to get a clear answer.

Does this seem a fair summary of what you read?

Peppermill wrote:

Everyman wrote:
I doubt that having gotten to the end of the book anybody but a pedant like I would have cared about the inheritance issue. After all, this isn't Harry Potter with fans looking for every little inconsistency.

There's probably an Emily Bronte website out there with experts who could address the issue. Perhaps you could use your internet research skills to find an appropriate person to ask?


No, you are far from the only pedant on this subject re. WH.

I had hoped this would get resolved and I wouldn't have to try to piece together this post, which I don't know how to do. But, anyway, a few pieces.

I believe this is the web site Choisya located:
http://www.ucl.ac.uk/laws/jurisprudence/jurisprudence-review/content/jr_rahman_2000.pdf

However, I'm not certain Rahman isn't a bit disingenuous in her quotation from the Sanger article -- to me she implies that all the property will go to the crown by quoting from Sanger's phrase, "He has no relations, so that his real property will escheat, and his personal property will go to the Crown as bona vacantia" (p 32 in Rahman). On the other hand, Sanger's original essay is not clear to me on exactly how the real property could have ended up in the hands of Cathy and Hareton -- at least as I am able to read it. But, he does suggest that there are several possibilities.

I haven't been able to locate Sanger's essay on-line and the part that deals with the law is three dense pages in Norton's Third Critical Edition of WH (William M. Sale, Jr. --late of Cornell University & Richard J. Dunn -- University of Washington). If Dunn is still at UofW, perhaps he could get you a copy of Sanger's essay.

Here is part of what Sanger writes:

"Heathcliff schemed to get all the property of both the Earnshaws and the Lintons. How did he do it? Emily Bronte clearly had a considerable knowledge of the law. We know the source of George Eliot's use of a base fee for the plot of Felix Holt. We do not know the source of Jane Austen's unerring grasp of the law of real property, but she lived among people who had settled estates and could easily have obtained it. But how Emily Bronte acquired her knowledge I cannot guess. There is also this difficulty. Wuthering Heights was written in the eighteen-forties. It was published in 1847. But the period of the tale is from 1771 to 1803. The Inheritance Act of 1834, the Wills Act of 1837, and, I think, the Game Act of 1831, had changed the law. Did Emily Bronte apply the law at the time she wrote or that at the period of the tale? In one case, as we shall see, she used the earlier law.

"Novelists sometimes make their plots depend on the law and use legal terms. But they frequently make mistakes and sometimes are absurd as Trollope is in Orley Farm. What is remarkable about Wuthering Heights is that the ten or twelve legal references are, I think, sufficient to enable us to ascertain the various legal processes by which Heathcliff obtained the property. It is not a simple matter. There was a fundamental difference between the law of land (real property) and that of money and goods (personal property)."

2 pages relating to both Heathcliff obtaining and then the disposition of the property after his death follow. Sanger concludes:

"There is, so far as I know, no other novel in the world which it is possible to subject to an analysis of the kind I have tried to make. This in itself makes the book very unusual....

"However dull and technical the above details may be, they do, I believe, throw a light on the character of Emily Bronte and her book. German romances can hardly have been the source of her knowledge of English law. A great critic has spoken of the passionate chastity of the book; but the extreme care in realising the ages of the characters at the time of each incident which is described seems to me a more unusual characteristic of a novel. It demonstrates the vividness of the author's imagination."

(More of Sanger's work was directed toward analyzing her chronologies than her legal knowledge -- however, it took A. Stuart Daley to unravel Emily's use of two almanacs for the mapping of days of the week and positions of the moon, rather than the actual dates for the years in question. (ala, the days before Internet and computers))

I know this is as clear as mud, and if need be, we'll try to figure out a way next week to get you the other two pages of Sanger, but if you are interested in pursuing, please try to find either an alternate critic or the article itself. As best I can tell, (Charles Percy) Sanger presented his paper in the 1920's. It was read to the Heretics, a society at Cambridge University.

(I would also suspect that many modern novels could withstand the type of scrutiny Sanger calls "unusual." )

Message Edited by Peppermill on 08-31-2007 12:26 AM

Message Edited by Peppermill on 08-31-2007 12:27 AM


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Re: Victorian Inheritance Laws (Spoilers)



Choisya wrote:
Under these legal conditions I suspect that people were very reluctant to challenge a Will and that many were maladministered, as may have been the case with Heathcliff's lawyer, who, in any case, seemed somewhat incompetent.

But of course we aren't dealing with a will here.

And I'm not sure that H's lawyer was incompetent so much as he was, let's say, ethically challenged. He was pretty competent about following Heathcliff's instructions not to get to, was it Edgar's?, bedside in time. And he was competent enough, apparently, to help Heathcliff get ownership of both WH and the Grange, and to know his rights vis-a-vis Cathy.
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Re: Victorian Inheritance Laws (Spoilers)

I did wonder at the ability of women to inherit property at that time. Could Catherine's marriage to Hareton have solidified her claim?

But very simply I enjoy the poetic justice of Catherine and Hareton inheriting the Grange and the Heights after Heathcliff's vengeful rampage. Carved on the lintel above the door of WH is "Hareton Earnshaw 1500". The Earnshaws and the Lintons have survived to reclaim their land, peace, happiness - and more importantly, control of their lives.
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Re: Victorian Inheritance Laws (Spoilers)

[ Edited ]
Yes the elapse of time will undoubtedly come into it as it does with other of our laws where the dead are concerned and at that time there were changes as to whether women could inherit. The Caroline Norton case had changed public opinion. The law also dealt differently with spinsters who had more rights to inherit than married women. Perhaps we are to assume in WH that Cathy inherited whilst she was still single?

http://www.umd.umich.edu/casl/hum/eng/classes/434/geweb/PROPERTY.htm

Yes, as scholars are still arguing over it I doubt that we will unravel it here in our paltry four weeks, even with Everyman on the case:smileyvery-happy:.






Peppermill wrote:

Choisya wrote:
However, I'm not certain Rahman isn't a bit disingenuous in her quotation from the Sanger article -- to me she implies that all the property will go to the crown by quoting from Sanger's phrase, "He has no relations, so that his real property will escheat, and his personal property will go to the Crown as bona vacantia" (p 32 in Rahman).

Yes, as I have posted elsewhere property was not easily relinquished to the Crown and there are countless incidences of long drawn out legal cases to establish who could inherit....

Choisya -- Sanger's arguments on the ability to retain the land, at least as I read them, seem to be based as much on how the rents had been managed by Heathcliff and hence the resources that would have been required to reclaim the properties as on inheritance law per se. But there are also apparently issues of elapsed time necessary for what I would call "clear title", but again, I am out of my domain here. Somewhere I have also seen an article showing the conditions under which Cathy would become entitled to inherit -- conditions that I believe that article implied she met after the death of Heathcliff. But that one may be already returned to the library. Anyway, the subject does seem to be the scholar's dream of relevant arcane possibilities to unravel.



Message Edited by Choisya on 08-31-2007 01:11 PM
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Re: Victorian Inheritance Laws (Spoilers)

[ Edited ]
But of course we aren't dealing with a will here.

No, sorry, that was sloppy of me. I meant people were reluctant to enter into legal wrangles of proving/disproving who was entitled to inherit, Will or no Will, because of the delays at Chancery. Heathcliff got WH legally as a result of Hindley's ceding it to him to pay his gambling debts and the Grange he legally inherited after Edgar's death through marrying Isabella as husband's then got their wives' fortunes? The part of the book where Edgar was going to change his will so as to prevent Heathcliff getting Catherine's fortune shows that women were able to inherit:-

'[Edgar Linton] divined that one of his enemy's purposes was to secure the personal property, as well as the estate, to his son: or rather himself; yet why he did not wait till his decease was a puzzle to my master, because ignorant how nearly he and his nephew would quit the world together. However, he felt that his will had better be altered: instead of leaving Catherine's fortune at her own disposal, he determined to put it in the hands of trustees for her use during life, and for her children, if she had any, after her. By that means, it could not fall to Mr. Heathcliff should Linton die.' (Chapter 28.)

But, of course, the lawyer's unethical delaying tactics prevented that alteration.







Everyman wrote:


Choisya wrote:
Under these legal conditions I suspect that people were very reluctant to challenge a Will and that many were maladministered, as may have been the case with Heathcliff's lawyer, who, in any case, seemed somewhat incompetent.

But of course we aren't dealing with a will here.

And I'm not sure that H's lawyer was incompetent so much as he was, let's say, ethically challenged. He was pretty competent about following Heathcliff's instructions not to get to, was it Edgar's?, bedside in time. And he was competent enough, apparently, to help Heathcliff get ownership of both WH and the Grange, and to know his rights vis-a-vis Cathy.



Message Edited by Choisya on 08-31-2007 02:24 PM
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Re: Victorian Inheritance Laws (Spoilers)

[ Edited ]
Yes, I am surprised that editors did not pick up on such errors - they obviously weren't as used to 'Letters to the Times (and Observer) as we are today:smileyhappy:.

I think it is clear that the Law at that time, as now, would make Heathcliff's relatives the inheritors but the question seems to revolve around whether they could be found because of the vagueness of his origins:

From Chapter 4: '[Mr Earnshaw] tried to explain the matter; but he was really half dead with fatigue, and all that I could make out, amongst her scolding, was a tale of his seeing it starving, and houseless, and as good as dumb, in the streets of Liverpool, where he picked it up and inquired for its owner. Not a soul knew to whom it belonged, he said; and his money and time being both limited, he thought it better to take it home with him at once, than run into vain expenses there: because he was determined he would not leave it as he found it He was seemingly picked up on the road by Mr Earnshaw and his origins remained unknown.'

In these circumstances it was highly unlikely that any Victorian lawyer could prove who Heathcliff was, let alone whether he had any living relatives. So Emily leaves us to assume that either enquiries were not made because everyone knew how 'unknown' Heathcliff's origins were or that some enquiries were perfunctorily made which yielded no information as to relatives. Was this a case for the Crown to inherit or did the fact that Cathy had been born and bred at Thrushcross Grange and that Edgar Linton was her father weigh more heavily with the law at the time? It would seem that the latter is the case which Emily wishes us to believe. This would also fit in with her 'feminist' approach to the novel as discussed in other articles.




Everyman wrote:
Wonderful post, Pepper, even though it still leaves things somewhat unresolved.

The bottom line I get from what you quoted concerning the specific issue of whether Hareton and Cathy now own Thrushcross Grange is that neither Rahman a nor Sanger are able to identify the legal principle which would allow such a result, but that they aren't willing definitively to rule it out.

I'm not surprised that others have investigated the issue, which weakens the argument that Bronte and her editors must have been right because there wasn't an outcry at the time (and as the passage you quoted points out, Orley Farm had at least one totally wrong principle, and there are other places where Trollope makes legal errors, so authors and editors do allow legal errors to slip into published works).

What does surprise me is that none of us can find a definitive answer. One would think that it would be pretty clear under the law in effect at Heathcliff's death as to where his property would pass by the then current law of intestacy. But I suspect we would have to invoke a scholar of 17th century English law to get a clear answer.

Does this seem a fair summary of what you read?

Peppermill wrote:

Everyman wrote:
I doubt that having gotten to the end of the book anybody but a pedant like I would have cared about the inheritance issue. After all, this isn't Harry Potter with fans looking for every little inconsistency.

There's probably an Emily Bronte website out there with experts who could address the issue. Perhaps you could use your internet research skills to find an appropriate person to ask?


No, you are far from the only pedant on this subject re. WH.

I had hoped this would get resolved and I wouldn't have to try to piece together this post, which I don't know how to do. But, anyway, a few pieces.

I believe this is the web site Choisya located:
http://www.ucl.ac.uk/laws/jurisprudence/jurisprudence-review/content/jr_rahman_2000.pdf

However, I'm not certain Rahman isn't a bit disingenuous in her quotation from the Sanger article -- to me she implies that all the property will go to the crown by quoting from Sanger's phrase, "He has no relations, so that his real property will escheat, and his personal property will go to the Crown as bona vacantia" (p 32 in Rahman). On the other hand, Sanger's original essay is not clear to me on exactly how the real property could have ended up in the hands of Cathy and Hareton -- at least as I am able to read it. But, he does suggest that there are several possibilities.

I haven't been able to locate Sanger's essay on-line and the part that deals with the law is three dense pages in Norton's Third Critical Edition of WH (William M. Sale, Jr. --late of Cornell University & Richard J. Dunn -- University of Washington). If Dunn is still at UofW, perhaps he could get you a copy of Sanger's essay.

Here is part of what Sanger writes:

"Heathcliff schemed to get all the property of both the Earnshaws and the Lintons. How did he do it? Emily Bronte clearly had a considerable knowledge of the law. We know the source of George Eliot's use of a base fee for the plot of Felix Holt. We do not know the source of Jane Austen's unerring grasp of the law of real property, but she lived among people who had settled estates and could easily have obtained it. But how Emily Bronte acquired her knowledge I cannot guess. There is also this difficulty. Wuthering Heights was written in the eighteen-forties. It was published in 1847. But the period of the tale is from 1771 to 1803. The Inheritance Act of 1834, the Wills Act of 1837, and, I think, the Game Act of 1831, had changed the law. Did Emily Bronte apply the law at the time she wrote or that at the period of the tale? In one case, as we shall see, she used the earlier law.

"Novelists sometimes make their plots depend on the law and use legal terms. But they frequently make mistakes and sometimes are absurd as Trollope is in Orley Farm. What is remarkable about Wuthering Heights is that the ten or twelve legal references are, I think, sufficient to enable us to ascertain the various legal processes by which Heathcliff obtained the property. It is not a simple matter. There was a fundamental difference between the law of land (real property) and that of money and goods (personal property)."

2 pages relating to both Heathcliff obtaining and then the disposition of the property after his death follow. Sanger concludes:

"There is, so far as I know, no other novel in the world which it is possible to subject to an analysis of the kind I have tried to make. This in itself makes the book very unusual....

"However dull and technical the above details may be, they do, I believe, throw a light on the character of Emily Bronte and her book. German romances can hardly have been the source of her knowledge of English law. A great critic has spoken of the passionate chastity of the book; but the extreme care in realising the ages of the characters at the time of each incident which is described seems to me a more unusual characteristic of a novel. It demonstrates the vividness of the author's imagination."

(More of Sanger's work was directed toward analyzing her chronologies than her legal knowledge -- however, it took A. Stuart Daley to unravel Emily's use of two almanacs for the mapping of days of the week and positions of the moon, rather than the actual dates for the years in question. (ala, the days before Internet and computers))

I know this is as clear as mud, and if need be, we'll try to figure out a way next week to get you the other two pages of Sanger, but if you are interested in pursuing, please try to find either an alternate critic or the article itself. As best I can tell, (Charles Percy) Sanger presented his paper in the 1920's. It was read to the Heretics, a society at Cambridge University.

(I would also suspect that many modern novels could withstand the type of scrutiny Sanger calls "unusual." )

Message Edited by Choisya on 08-31-2007 02:03 PM
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Re: Victorian Inheritance Laws (Spoilers)

Do we know for sure that there was no will? As there is no discussion about the inheritance are we sure that H did not call for his lawyer at the last minute the way Linton wanted to?



Everyman wrote:


Choisya wrote:
Under these legal conditions I suspect that people were very reluctant to challenge a Will and that many were maladministered, as may have been the case with Heathcliff's lawyer, who, in any case, seemed somewhat incompetent.

But of course we aren't dealing with a will here.

And I'm not sure that H's lawyer was incompetent so much as he was, let's say, ethically challenged. He was pretty competent about following Heathcliff's instructions not to get to, was it Edgar's?, bedside in time. And he was competent enough, apparently, to help Heathcliff get ownership of both WH and the Grange, and to know his rights vis-a-vis Cathy.


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Re: Victorian Inheritance Laws (Spoilers)

Book 2, Chapter 20:

""When day breaks I'll send for Green," he said. "I wish to
make some legal inquiries of him while I can bestow a thought on those matters, and while I can act calmly. I have not written my will yet, and how to leave my property I cannot determine. I wish I could annihilate it from the face of the earth."

and, later in the chapter,

" "It is not my fault that I cannot eat or rest," he replied. "I assure you it is through no settled designs. I'll do both as soon as I possibly can. But you might as well bid a man struggling in the water rest within arm's length of the shore! I must reach it first, and then I'll rest. Well, never mind Mr. Green."

So while Emily doesn't say explicitly that he never made the will, it seems pretty clear from the context that he never did, and one is never mentioned.

Wildflower wrote:
Do we know for sure that there was no will? As there is no discussion about the inheritance are we sure that H did not call for his lawyer at the last minute the way Linton wanted to?



Everyman wrote:


Choisya wrote:
Under these legal conditions I suspect that people were very reluctant to challenge a Will and that many were maladministered, as may have been the case with Heathcliff's lawyer, who, in any case, seemed somewhat incompetent.

But of course we aren't dealing with a will here.

And I'm not sure that H's lawyer was incompetent so much as he was, let's say, ethically challenged. He was pretty competent about following Heathcliff's instructions not to get to, was it Edgar's?, bedside in time. And he was competent enough, apparently, to help Heathcliff get ownership of both WH and the Grange, and to know his rights vis-a-vis Cathy.





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Re: Victorian Inheritance Laws (Spoilers)

[ Edited ]
And yet in Chapter 20 he says this:

'Yes, Nell,' he added, when they had departed, 'my son is prospective owner of your place, and I should not wish him to die till I was certain of being his successor. Besides, he's MINE, and I want the triumph of seeing MY descendant fairly lord of their estates; my child hiring their children to till their fathers' lands for wages. That is the sole consideration which can make me endure the whelp:'

If he was so determined for Linton to inherit surely he would have made a Will?

And in Chapter 34 (from which you quote here) Joseph 'fell on his knees, and raised his hands, and returned thanks that the lawful master and ancient stock [the Earnshaws] were restored to their rights.' Is this an indication of a Will or knowlege that the inheritance laws would favour Hareton/Cathy?




Everyman wrote:
Book 2, Chapter 20:

""When day breaks I'll send for Green," he said. "I wish to
make some legal inquiries of him while I can bestow a thought on those matters, and while I can act calmly. I have not written my will yet, and how to leave my property I cannot determine. I wish I could annihilate it from the face of the earth."

and, later in the chapter,

" "It is not my fault that I cannot eat or rest," he replied. "I assure you it is through no settled designs. I'll do both as soon as I possibly can. But you might as well bid a man struggling in the water rest within arm's length of the shore! I must reach it first, and then I'll rest. Well, never mind Mr. Green."

So while Emily doesn't say explicitly that he never made the will, it seems pretty clear from the context that he never did, and one is never mentioned.

Wildflower wrote:
Do we know for sure that there was no will? As there is no discussion about the inheritance are we sure that H did not call for his lawyer at the last minute the way Linton wanted to?



Everyman wrote:


Choisya wrote:
Under these legal conditions I suspect that people were very reluctant to challenge a Will and that many were maladministered, as may have been the case with Heathcliff's lawyer, who, in any case, seemed somewhat incompetent.

But of course we aren't dealing with a will here.

And I'm not sure that H's lawyer was incompetent so much as he was, let's say, ethically challenged. He was pretty competent about following Heathcliff's instructions not to get to, was it Edgar's?, bedside in time. And he was competent enough, apparently, to help Heathcliff get ownership of both WH and the Grange, and to know his rights vis-a-vis Cathy.









Message Edited by Choisya on 09-01-2007 01:08 AM
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Re: Victorian Inheritance Laws (Spoilers)


Choisya wrote:
And yet in Chapter 20 he says this:

'Yes, Nell,' he added, when they had departed, 'my son is prospective owner of your place, and I should not wish him to die till I was certain of being his successor. Besides, he's MINE, and I want the triumph of seeing MY descendant fairly lord of their estates; my child hiring their children to till their fathers' lands for wages. That is the sole consideration which can make me endure the whelp:'

If he was so determined for Linton to inherit surely he would have made a Will?

He wouldn't need to. As long as his son survived him, he would automatically take under intestacy. No need for a will.
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Re: Victorian Inheritance Laws (Spoilers)

[ Edited ]
Everyman wrote (re Heathcliff making a Will):
He wouldn't need to. As long as his son survived him, he would automatically take under intestacy. No need for a will.

But his son was ailing from the minute he came to WH, so he would have felt the need to make a Will. That is why he abducted young Cathy to marry Linton, so that he would still have control and 'the triumph of seeing MY descendant fairly lord of their estates' etc.' even if only through his grandchildren. This is the exchange with Cathy in Chapter 33 about her fortune and land:-

The latter [Hareton] was speechless; his cousin [Cathy] replied - 'You shouldn't grudge a few yards of earth for me to ornament, when you have taken all my land!'

'Your land, insolent slut! You never had any,' said Heathcliff.

'And my money,' she continued; returning his angry glare, and meantime biting a piece of crust, the remnant of her breakfast.

'Silence!' he exclaimed. 'Get done, and begone!'

'And Hareton's land, and his money,' pursued the reckless thing. 'Hareton and I are friends now; and I shall tell him all about you!'

The master seemed confounded a moment: he grew pale, and rose up, eyeing her all the while, with an expression of mortal hate.

'If you strike me, Hareton will strike you,' she said; 'so you may as well sit down.'

'If Hareton does not turn you out of the room, I'll strike him to hell,' thundered Heathcliff. 'Damnable witch! dare you pretend to rouse him against me? Off with her! Do you hear? Fling her into the kitchen! I'll kill her, Ellen Dean, if you let her come into my sight again!'

Later, when he has realised that young Cathy is so very much like her mother, he begins to have regrets and again mentions to Nelly what his intentions had been regarding the houses:-

'It is a poor conclusion, is it not?' he observed, having brooded awhile on the scene he had just witnessed: 'an absurd termination to my violent exertions? I get levers and mattocks to demolish the two houses, and train myself to be capable of working like Hercules, and when everything is ready and in my power, I find the will to lift a slate off either roof has vanished! My old enemies have not beaten me; now would be the precise time to revenge myself on their representatives: I could do it; and none could hinder me. But where is the use? I don't care for striking: I can't take the trouble to raise my hand! That sounds as if I had been labouring the whole time only to exhibit a fine trait of magnanimity. It is far from being the case: I have lost the faculty of enjoying their destruction, and I am too idle to destroy for nothing.

'Nelly, there is a strange change approaching; I'm in its shadow at present.....

The 'strange change' presages his visits to the grave and subsequent death soon after this exchange. I see the 'levers and mattocks' being legal arrangements regarding the houses, a Will etc. Although it is nowhere stated, it seems to me that a Will was very much on his mind and was necessary to his evil machinations. On the other hand, it could be seen that saying 'I find the will to lift a slate off either roof has vanished...can't take the trouble to raise my hand!' means he has given up on the Will and is leaving it all to fate (which is what Emily might have intended).

But we will never know for sure:smileyhappy:.





Everyman wrote:

Choisya wrote:
And yet in Chapter 20 he says this:

'Yes, Nell,' he added, when they had departed, 'my son is prospective owner of your place, and I should not wish him to die till I was certain of being his successor. Besides, he's MINE, and I want the triumph of seeing MY descendant fairly lord of their estates; my child hiring their children to till their fathers' lands for wages. That is the sole consideration which can make me endure the whelp:'

If he was so determined for Linton to inherit surely he would have made a Will?

He wouldn't need to. As long as his son survived him, he would automatically take under intestacy. No need for a will.



Message Edited by Choisya on 09-01-2007 05:04 PM
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Re: Victorian Inheritance Laws (Spoilers)



Choisya wrote:
Everyman wrote (re Heathcliff making a Will):
He wouldn't need to. As long as his son survived him, he would automatically take under intestacy. No need for a will.

But his son was ailing from the minute he came to WH, so he would have felt the need to make a Will.


You've shifted the ground here. The quote you cited that I was responding to was :

Choisya wrote:
And yet in Chapter 20 he says this:

'Yes, Nell,' he added, when they had departed, 'my son is prospective owner of your place, and I should not wish him to die till I was certain of being his successor. Besides, he's MINE, and I want the triumph of seeing MY descendant fairly lord of their estates; my child hiring their children to till their fathers' lands for wages. That is the sole consideration which can make me endure the whelp:

In that passage, which is what my post related to, he is clearly not expecting Linton to die before him. For the purpose of leaving the property to Linton, he wouldn't need a will. That was my point, and it was correct. If you want to raise a different point, fine, but don't make it look as though my point were incorrect because you choose to shift the ground. That's not responsible discussion.
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Choisya
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Re: Victorian Inheritance Laws (Spoilers)

[ Edited ]
I am discussing his attitude towards Will making in general and the references to inheritance in general and that he would have realised he needed to make a Will as soon as he realised how very sickly his son was. But no matter, we will never know whether he made a Will or not and unless we get hold of an English lawyer schooled in the inheritance laws of the time we will never know whether Cathy and Hareton should have inherited the Grange or not. Better scholars than you or I have been puzzling about this since the book was written so we are not likely to resolve it here. I am leaving the moors and travelling to Africa:smileyhappy:.




Everyman wrote:


Choisya wrote:
Everyman wrote (re Heathcliff making a Will):
He wouldn't need to. As long as his son survived him, he would automatically take under intestacy. No need for a will.

But his son was ailing from the minute he came to WH, so he would have felt the need to make a Will.


You've shifted the ground here. The quote you cited that I was responding to was :

Choisya wrote:
And yet in Chapter 20 he says this:

'Yes, Nell,' he added, when they had departed, 'my son is prospective owner of your place, and I should not wish him to die till I was certain of being his successor. Besides, he's MINE, and I want the triumph of seeing MY descendant fairly lord of their estates; my child hiring their children to till their fathers' lands for wages. That is the sole consideration which can make me endure the whelp:

In that passage, which is what my post related to, he is clearly not expecting Linton to die before him. For the purpose of leaving the property to Linton, he wouldn't need a will. That was my point, and it was correct. If you want to raise a different point, fine, but don't make it look as though my point were incorrect because you choose to shift the ground. That's not responsible discussion.



Message Edited by Choisya on 09-02-2007 03:07 AM

Message Edited by Choisya on 09-02-2007 03:10 AM
jd
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jd
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Re: Victorian Inheritance Laws (Spoilers)



Choisya wrote:
I am discussing his attitude towards Will making in general and the references to inheritance in general and that he would have realised he needed to make a Will as soon as he realised how very sickly his son was. But no matter, we will never know whether he made a Will or not and unless we get hold of an English lawyer schooled in the inheritance laws of the time we will never know whether Cathy and Hareton should have inherited the Grange or not. Better scholars than you or I have been puzzling about this since the book was written so we are not likely to resolve it here. I am leaving the moors and travelling to Africa:smileyhappy:.




Everyman wrote:


Choisya wrote:
Everyman wrote (re Heathcliff making a Will):
He wouldn't need to. As long as his son survived him, he would automatically take under intestacy. No need for a will.

But his son was ailing from the minute he came to WH, so he would have felt the need to make a Will.


You've shifted the ground here. The quote you cited that I was responding to was :

Choisya wrote:
And yet in Chapter 20 he says this:

'Yes, Nell,' he added, when they had departed, 'my son is prospective owner of your place, and I should not wish him to die till I was certain of being his successor. Besides, he's MINE, and I want the triumph of seeing MY descendant fairly lord of their estates; my child hiring their children to till their fathers' lands for wages. That is the sole consideration which can make me endure the whelp:

In that passage, which is what my post related to, he is clearly not expecting Linton to die before him. For the purpose of leaving the property to Linton, he wouldn't need a will. That was my point, and it was correct. If you want to raise a different point, fine, but don't make it look as though my point were incorrect because you choose to shift the ground. That's not responsible discussion.



Message Edited by Choisya on 09-02-2007 03:07 AM

Message Edited by Choisya on 09-02-2007 03:10 AM




I should not wish him to die until I was certain of being his successor - I am confused, does that not mean he heathcliff wanted to be sure to inherit the land from the son who got the land by marrying little c??? I give up... I am going to Africa as well - jd C- have a great vacation in Italy and watch out for homemade monsters - jd
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Peppermill
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Re: WUTHERING HEIGHTS: Chapter XXVII - XXXIV and the novel as a whole

[ Edited ]
Has anyone here read: Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman, ostensibly a rewrite of or at least influenced by Wuthering Heights?

If so, comments?

Also, I have just finished Orhan Pamuk's Snow and it seems to me that he uses some of the same repeated enveloping/framing techniques as Bronte as well as exploring the boundaries between love and hatred in a bleak but beautiful landscape/setting. I haven't gone looking for the reviews yet, but wonder if anyone here has seen evidence that he was influenced by Emily.

Message Edited by Peppermill on 09-17-2007 02:25 PM
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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JesseBC
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Re: WUTHERING HEIGHTS: The novel as a whole & its author: Now this IS Gothic!

I see your point, but I think the logic could be dangerous if applied too rigidly.

For one thing, where is it written that the human imagination is constrained by such simple cause-and-effect? We never assume that actors who play evil characters must have an evil streak within themselves. It's tacitly understood that they're just able to imagine and pretend.

Similarly, it requires taking the text at a simplistic face value. Assuming that Emily Bronte was somehow emotionally warped because she dreamed up Heathcliff is like assuming Vladamir Nabokov was a child molester because he could dream up Humbert Humbert, when the point of Lolita was only tangentially about child abuse the same way Wuthering Heights is only tangentially about the dynamics of love relationships. There's so much more to both stories which such conclusions overlook.

We may be able to see reflections of the author within her work (and doing so probably enhances the experience of the novel most of the time), but taking it too literally risks missing the point of the story and maligning its author unfairly.






jd wrote:
I reread the forward and I am wondering if everymans concern should be emily and not H. - she pulled most of this darkness from her inner self and not from too much socializing with her neighbors. From what I have learned about her short life she was not very happy and was perhaps anorexic or worse and these feelings that she assigned to other characters were probably her own. I think I am glad that she was able to 'vent' these feelings in her writing. I am also really glad the Stephen King has the ability to write and vent his thoughts in a productive way, otherwise he would be locked away - jd (thinking out loud)


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Choisya
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Re: WUTHERING HEIGHTS: The novel as a whole & its author: Now this IS Gothic!

Excellent points JesseBC:smileyhappy:.




JesseBC wrote:
I see your point, but I think the logic could be dangerous if applied too rigidly.

For one thing, where is it written that the human imagination is constrained by such simple cause-and-effect? We never assume that actors who play evil characters must have an evil streak within themselves. It's tacitly understood that they're just able to imagine and pretend.

Similarly, it requires taking the text at a simplistic face value. Assuming that Emily Bronte was somehow emotionally warped because she dreamed up Heathcliff is like assuming Vladamir Nabokov was a child molester because he could dream up Humbert Humbert, when the point of Lolita was only tangentially about child abuse the same way Wuthering Heights is only tangentially about the dynamics of love relationships. There's so much more to both stories which such conclusions overlook.

We may be able to see reflections of the author within her work (and doing so probably enhances the experience of the novel most of the time), but taking it too literally risks missing the point of the story and maligning its author unfairly.






jd wrote:
I reread the forward and I am wondering if everymans concern should be emily and not H. - she pulled most of this darkness from her inner self and not from too much socializing with her neighbors. From what I have learned about her short life she was not very happy and was perhaps anorexic or worse and these feelings that she assigned to other characters were probably her own. I think I am glad that she was able to 'vent' these feelings in her writing. I am also really glad the Stephen King has the ability to write and vent his thoughts in a productive way, otherwise he would be locked away - jd (thinking out loud)





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janalee40
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Re: WUTHERING HEIGHTS: The novel as a whole & its author: Now this IS Gothic!

"I think I am glad that she was able to 'vent' these feelings in her writing. I am also really glad the Stephen King has the ability to write and vent his thoughts in a productive way"

 

JD,

 

I do agree that having the ability to create such desturbing, malicious, and sinister characters can spur a reader to make the assumption or judgement that the author must be somewhat mentally ill. However, I am also inclined to postulate that the author may not be crazy, but rather a great storyteller with a vivid imagination. It is my belief that what seperates a good writer from a great writer is the writers ability to access the darkest and brightest natures of the individual soul as well as the souls of others. To be a writer is to be an observer. Sometimes observing can be wickedly sinister or brilliantly divine. It is a great authors duty to be able to illustrate and portray the nastiest of the nasty and loveliest of the lovely.

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Everyman
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Re: WUTHERING HEIGHTS: The novel as a whole & its author: Now this IS Gothic!

For those interested, the Classics group here is going to discuss Wuthering Heights in connectoin with the PBS Masterpiece Classics presentation of it which is scheduled to air on January 18 and 25. 

 

You can check the schedule of works in this program here,  and find out more about the discussion plans in this thread.

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Adelle
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Re: WUTHERING HEIGHTS: The novel as a whole & its author: Now this IS Gothic!

   

I wondered, when I read the book, whether Ellen and Heathcliff might have been bastard children of Mr. Earnshaw.   

I realize that old Mr. Earnshaw’s wife was still living when Ellen was born, but there are those curious bits:  Ch 4: Ellen (; 6 years older than Catherine) got used to playing with the Earnshaw children at Wuthering Heights.  Servant’s children don’t usually play with the master’s children. 

Old Mr. Earnshaw, perhaps just a kind man, perhaps something more, promised to bring Ellen pears and apples back from Liverpool. 

Could it just possibly be that Mrs. Earnshaw reacted so strongly against Heathcliff’s being brought into the home (“ready to fling it out of doors”) because she suspected that Ellen may have been Mr. Earnshaw’s child, and suspected that Heathcliff may have been as well?  (“He took to Heathcliff strangely.”) 

Old Mr. Earnshaw would “slip a shilling into my hand as a Christmas box” and call her a cant lass.  Ellen Dean better educated, speaks better than your average servant:  “I have read more than you would fancy, Mr. Lockwood.  You could not open a book in this library that I have not looked into, and get something out of also” etc. 

For several months, Catherine refused to talk with Ellen “save in the relation as a mere servant.”  Ellen Dean more than once refers to the servants, “the servants leaving…” NOT the other servants leaving…  “I had been his [Hindley’s] foster sister.”