Monday, July 28, 2014

Not a Sweeping Romance

BlogCritics talks about the Pulp! The Classics collection:
For example, I have, in my life, been in possession of two copies of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. The first was a small paperback, with a cover akin to that of a romance novel, while the blurb on the back lauded it as a sweeping romantic tale. Despite the fact that the story of Wuthering Heights depicts an unhealthy, codependent relationship much more than an actual romance, and that the point of the book is, arguably, precisely that it’s not romantic, in 2007 readers of The Guardian voted Wuthering Heights the greatest love story ever told. That says a lot about how Emily Brontë’s story is regarded, and suggests that that cover was an accurate reflection of the prevailing cultural assumption that Wuthering Heights is, indeed, a romance.
The other copy of the book I’ve owned is a Norton Critical Edition, which is graced by a rather bland photograph of the moors while vaunting its academic editor and its belonging to a collection of critical editions that feature multiple works of criticism. It suggests another way in which we view the novel today: as a classic, worthy of footnotes and college essays, a work of “high culture” rather than popular culture.
Neither cover is entirely correct. Neither cover is entirely incorrect. Certainly there is some romance in Wuthering Heights, however dark and doomed, and certainly it’s deserving of being a literary classic. But it is not a tale of sweeping romance to be celebrated, or inspired by. (...)
Thus, both Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights, both in this collection, wouldn’t have been too well respected in their days. Wuthering Heights was published by Emily Brontë under a pseudonym, because a nice young lady writing a novel would mean a lot of bad press for the family name, and also because books by men were taken more seriously. It received some pretty terrible reviews upon publication. (Anastasia Klimchynskaya)
Pearl Thevanayagam is happy to live in Bradford according to The Guardian (Sri Lanka):
The entrance to my apartment is cobbled stones reminiscent of Thomas Hardy, Brontë Sisters and Lowry paintings which depict the good old England as I remember from the books and picture post cards during my school days. My apartment has walls built of Yorkshire stones and solid oak beams and the block was built in 1883.
The Telegraph remembers the origins of Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights:
Despite her esoteric reputation, Bush had grown up as much obsessed by film and TV as novels or Pre-Raphaelite art. Her first single, 1978’s Wuthering Heights, was originally inspired not by reading the book but by watching the 1967 BBC adaptation of Brontë’s tortured romance, starring Ian McShane as Heathcliff. (Bernardette McNulty)
The Independent (Ireland) talks about (drinking) literary ladies:
Author of Wide Sargasso Sea, half-Creole Jean Rhys moved to London from the Caribbean to study drama at 16. She found the city inhospitable and the people cruel. When her British father died, she craved the safety that might come with a good man and marriage. But she picked men badly, with three marriages, an abortion and an estranged child; she lived on the brink of destitution. Alcohol became her way of dealing with the mess. Rhys' biographer wrote that her past tormented her, her writing tormented her and "she had to drink to write and she had to drink to live." (Deirdre Conroy)

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