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New Yorker Festival Signings
5pm: the Folio Society presents Patti Smith signing Wuthering Heights
Location: 52 Prince St
New York, New York
Introduced by Patti Smith
Illustrated by Rovina Cai
Wuthering Heights defies easy classification and stands alone as a uniquely powerful novel that transcends genres. Patti Smith, the singer-songwriter and poet, has written a new, lyrical introduction to this edition, in which she sums up Emily Brontë’s complex gifts.
|Illustration by Rovina Cai|
Through the endless winter of 1847 the Brontë sisters paced, sparred and provoked one another. They had written since childhood; a form of comradely self-entertainment, inventing scandalous histories, warring countries, dueling kings – their own game of thrones. At the ink-stained table, scarred in the center with a candle-burn the size of a small hand, each conceived of her heroine – drawing from the sap of their particular situations. Anne offered her own double with the gentle, empathetic Agnes Grey. In an act of proud defiance, Charlotte created the small, plain and beloved Jane Eyre. Agnes Grey and Jane Eyre each would be obliged to overcome numerous trials before securing constant and fulfilling love-on-earth by book’s end.
And what hath Emily wrought? No such earned splendor. She drew from her restive pulse and unleashed the unquiet apparition of Catherine Earnshaw, whose pale fingers reached from the grave as if to paralyze the breath of her soul’s predestined mate. Those who are not passionate are pallid, and those languishing from passion develop a color of their own – that of death. Charlotte and Anne’s protagonists sought redemption, equilibrium. Emily courted no such outcomes. She created a heroine spawned from interesting winds, reflecting her own emotional range, from inner waywardness to the deep restraint of self-deprivation. Emily was like a small volcano, dormant yet restlessly bubbling, and erupting through the words and actions of her chosen characters. She sternly adhered to her own sense of morality from which she would not waver, not even to appease her extremely vexed sisters. Snipping the chains of convention,Wuthering Heights was declared uniquely powerful, yet so savage and morally repellent that it was to plunge Ellis Bell, like it or not, into the public forum.