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Professor Deirdre Coleman, a specialist in 18th and 19th-century literature at the University of Melbourne, considers Wuthering Heights a quintessential classic.Hazlitt interviews the writer David Adams Richards:
“It’s one of the greatest novels ever written. It’s incredibly gothic and thrilling to read,” she says.
“There’s so much sadism and cruelty amongst the characters. It makes the reader wonder what kind of woman Emily Brontë was to have dreamed up this very unladylike story.”
Indeed, Wuthering Heights is about a thwarted romance that sits unsettlingly close to incest, where an adoptive brother and sister fall wildly and darkly in love. The implications of this taboo love ripple through subsequent generations.
There are vampiric elements as well, a nod towards necrophilia, and all the darkest recesses of the human mind emerge. This is Gothic literature at its most graphic.
“It’s an extraordinarily violent novel for a woman to write. The earliest reviews were full of complaints about how coarse and shocking the novel was to read,” Professor Coleman says.
However, the novel has been embraced by the academy and is now seen as something of a teenage girl’s rite of passage. It’s an educational and literary milestone.
There is a lonely and fierce quality to the writing that fits the spirit and ardent sensibility of youthful romance. This vision can forgive and even adore Heathcliff’s brutish and vicious tendencies.
“If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger,” are among the more memorable words of the book’s heroine.
Her love for Heathcliff, and his for her, has something primal and savage about it.
“Heathcliff exerts an unending fascination for the reader, precisely because he has no origins. He’s an orphan boy, rescued from the slums of Liverpool. He’s starving, he has no identity, no one owns him. Given the many references to his dark complexion, and the novel’s preoccupation with slavery, it is possible that he’s a West-Indian mulatto,” Professor Coleman says.
Although adopted by the wealthy Earnshaw family and thus catapaulted into a different life, he remains an interloper and outsider. His dark presence represents the threat of the stranger, and it is his aim to revenge himself on all those who have injured him. As a hero he is a very ambiguous figure, and this ambiguity makes Wuthering Heights a difficult novel to fathom. There’s nothing black or white, or straightforward in this fictional world.
Why does this dark and complex novel exert such a powerful hold over its readers? Why has the story been re-told and re-imagined in so many different ways, from television, plays, film and opera to Kate Bush’s ethereal song Wuthering Heights?
Professor Coleman suggests the enduring power of Wuthering Heights stems from its mythic qualities. It is an epic story of a divided kingdom, and the pain these divisions inflict across the generations. In the end the two warring houses are reconciled, but the resolution still feels uneasy, unsettling. (Laura Soderlind)
My early reviews, and I hold this up to the badge of honor, were as bad as Emily Brontë’s reviews. And sometimes the same things were said. These people are so brutal and live in such a backward area, why should we bother with them? Well that was the same said about Catherine and Heathcliff. Those reviews had nothing to do with the book, it had to do with the naiveté of the reviewer. And at the time, the naiveté of the reviewer allowed for a good deal of misinformation about what I was doing as the writer. (Craig Davison)Los Angeles Times reviews the documentary Stravinsky in Hollywood:
Stravinsky's first encounters with Hollywood weren't promising. Like so many other artists, he fled Europe with an eye toward the pictures. He took meetings. He wrote some trial music for a few films, including the 1943 "Jane Eyre," staring Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine and with a screenplay by Stravinsky's friend Aldous Huxley.Military Times reviews American Spartan: The Promise, the Mission, and the Betrayal of Special Forces Major Jim Gant by Ann Scott Tyson and William Morrow
But unwilling to relinquish an iota of musical control, Stravinsky never ultimately worked in Hollywood, eventually recycling his film efforts into other scores. Capalbo revealingly splices the bits that became a symphonic "Ode" into the scene where Jane meets Rochester, showing Stravinsky's music doing the seemingly impossible — upstaging Welles. (Mark Swed)
Because this is Tyson’s story, too, you might not think the author is an objective observer of Af-Gant-istan. She lives with Gant in Mangwel village. Takes a “direct hit” in a Humvee. Becomes figure “X in his operational plans.” Wonders if she is “too close to the craziness.” And borrowing a line from “Jane Eyre”: Reader, she marries him. (J. Ford Huffman)The Brontë Bell Chapel has been nominated to a Yorkshire Rose Place of Worship Award. On the Facebook Wall we read:
The Judges were impressed with our efforts and we have been nominated for a special award for Places of worship. Really pleased we have worked so hard over the years.A letter on The Barbados Advocate quotes Charlotte Brontë; Cabine Cultural talks about the Cinemateca de São Paulo schedule for July and August which includes screenings of Wuthering Heights 1939 (July 18, July 26, August 3). Honolulu Media & Culture Examiner reviews Jane Eyre 1944 and on skidoo we found this new one of Jane Eyre 2006. Niebiańskie Pióro (in Polish) reviews Wuthering Heights. Mary Rizza explores how Jane Eyre is the original domestic noir novel. Kate Shrewsday has found a Jane Eyre tomb in Salisbury.