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The first time I read Wuthering Heights, I hated it. Hated it. I was in high school, and I was just beginning what would be a life-long love affair with 19th-century literature. I had barreled through all of Austen’s novels and Jane Eyre, and I sat down with Wuthering Heights, expecting to be amazed, and instead, found myself feeling a weird combination of boredom and fury. It wasn’t until I got to graduate school that the novel “clicked” for me—I started reading it for a class, thinking, “Ugh, not this again,” and then somewhere around page 100 found myself engrossed and wondering where the hell this amazing, bizarre book had been all my life. My love has only grown upon subsequent re-readings: Wuthering Heights is one of the strangest, most beautiful, most ludicrous, and most narratively complex novels I’ve ever read, and I can’t get enough of it. Who are these insane characters and why do they feel the need to say every thought they have the second they have it? Why do they all insist on marrying each other? Why does Mr. Lockwood keep nosing about their lives? Why don’t they ever go anywhere??A.V. Club recommends watching the 2011 adaptation of the novel by Andrea Arnold.
If you’re a fan of Wuthering Heights—or, like me, you hated it at first and are now wondering whether you should try again—read on for some things you might not have known or noticed the first time through: (Lara Rutherford-Morrison)
The Victorians had a case of “the morbs,” what with their melancholy portraits of the dead and their exquisite mourning jewelry, and Emily Brontë’s novel Wuthering Heights is a perfect example of the darkest aspects of the Victorian era. Literature fiends still debate whether Jane Austen or Brontë reigns supreme over the English canon, and it’s easy to see how the lines are drawn, between Austen’s manners and dreamy Mr. Darcy and Brontë’s grim, muddy moors and heartbreak. Even Emily’s sister Charlotte was a tad on the lighter side; although Mr. Rochester is no gem, in the end, Jane Eyre still confides to us, “Reader, I married him,” as if at a slumber party. [...]Bath Chronicle reviews the Brontë Season at The Rondo Theatre by Butterfly Psyche Theatre.
As for the Brontës, the heroes have been played by such brutes as Orson Welles and Laurence Olivier; even putting Michael Fassbender in a Victorian nightie didn’t take the edge off of Cary Fukunaga’s exquisite adaptation of Jane Eyre, which coincidentally came out a few months before Andrea Arnold’s brutally beautiful Wuthering Heights premiered at Toronto in 2011.
Arnold’s adaptation is almost a three-dimensional experience, and purposefully unbalances the viewer with handheld cinematography that’s often nauseating in its intimacy. Director of photography and frequent Arnold collaborator Robbie Ryan plays with motion and space, sometimes peeping through keyholes and around doors secretively, or moving breathtakingly close to the characters’ faces. It’s not so much that we watch young Heathcliff (Solomon Glave) and Cathy (Shannon Beer) ride a horse together, but that we are Heathcliff, and we feel and see and hear Cathy’s hair blowing in our face. Arnold filters the story through Heathcliff’s watchful gaze, and its environment reflects the casual cruelty and violence that permeates his world. [...]
To the viewer, the moors where Heathcliff and Cathy grow up as are inhospitable, if not downright brutal, as the Essex estate of Fish Tank, where sudden bursts of violence and the uglier parts of desire are part of everyday life. Howson and Kaya Scodelario (as adult Cathy) make a formidable on-screen pair, although not an enviable one; their love affair is not just tortured but downright sadistic. By the end of the 128 minutes, it seems that they deserve each other, to the death. To Arnold’s credit, she somehow makes even their dreadfulness sublime. Like the best Goths (and goths), the filmmaker finds beauty in destructive love and despair. (Jenni Miller)
Wuthering Heights by Emily BronteAccording to the ever-so-subtle Daily Mail, 'a tamed beast is the ultimate female fantasy' and apparently,
This passionate and destructive relationship that transcends death is a true gothic success and makes for great theatre. The fine directing from Ian McGlynn captures the wit and fun of childhood antics, switching in a breath to the passionate love of two tortured souls. This is a fine piece of drama the casting is spot on, both performances complement each other well and talent is in abundance.
The sparse staging is well used, ensuring the focus is always on the story and the characters. The uncluttered production allows the text to flow sweeping the audience along to the inevitable tragic ending.
This is an excellent production and it is understandable how this tour has been so well received across the region. I cannot imagine it will be long before it's out on the road again, certainly one to look out for.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Adapted by Dougie Blaxland
Alison Campbell plays the title role with great style and control. The adaptation into a one act monologue gives the story a sharp focus. Switching in and out of the various characters allows for a change of pace and some comic moments in this otherwise intense script. Campbell achieves this with great ease, engaging the audience from the outset with great effect.
The simple staging enables a fluidity of time and space and as with so many productions of this nature, less is indeed more. This is a powerful tale, told with passion; the style of the novel is captured in the script allowing this classic love story to transcend time and inspire new generations. (Petra Schofield)
The Brontës were especially adept at producing them. Emily’s Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights was the classic Byronic fantasy — solitary, wild and mysterious.The Federalist has one of those recurring articles on how young people aren't reading the classics anymore and so on.
His appeal lies in the reader’s knowledge that he has been cruelly treated, and that his love for Cathy is absolute. He’s a powerful, loyal man with a flaw, and we want to console his broken heart.
Charlotte Brontë’s Mr Rochester has the same dark, brooding countenance and dominant personality, but there’s decency in him, too.
He’s tormented by his sense of duty — he cares for his little French ward and the mad wife in the attic while falling in love with Jane Eyre.
He risks his life in the fire at Thornfield to save his servants and attempt to save his wife, who committed suicide by jumping from the roof.
He is damaged, too, when he loses his sight in the blaze, and the story ends where Jane tells us: ‘Reader, I married him.’ (Jenni Murray)
In 2013, a company called Renaissance Learning discovered, through a study of what kids were reading through their Accelerated Reader program, that most books kids chose to read were well below their grade level. Their educational research director, Eric Stickney, said, “The complexity of texts students are being assigned to read has declined by about three grade levels over the past 100 years. A century ago, students were being assigned books with the complexity of around the ninth- or 10th-grade level. But in 2012, the average was around the sixth-grade level.” Even in the 1980s, high-school students were reading Sophocles, Shakespeare, Dickens, George Bernard Shaw, Emily Brontë, and Edith Wharton. (Nicole Russell)According to MSN's Lifestyle the Brontës were three of history's greatest cat ladies.
The famous Brontë sisters not only shared a love of writing, but also a love of cats. Felines are featured in many of the sisters’ writings, including Agnes Grey and Wuthering Heights, as well as in the personal diaries of Anne and Charlotte. Emily Bronte even wrote a French essay entitled “Le Chat” (“The Cat”), in which she defends cats against those who argue that they are selfish and cruel, asserting that the disposition of cats is quite similar to that of humans and even arguing that the self-reliance of cats is better than the hypocrisy of humanity. (Kalli Damschen)El Mundo (Spain) tries to explain the basics of Reddit where, apparently, you can find out why Charlotte Brontë 'hated' Jane Austen. Dan Viêt (Vietnam) explains the basics of the Brontës. The Halifax Courier has an article on the new BBC series on the Pennine Way. Writespace, Writetime has a post with an intriguing title: What to Learn about Writing from Jane Eyre and The Hunger Games. The Book Wars compares Jane Eyre and April Lindner's Jane; mostarrdenly has a lovely gif collage with clips of Jane Eyre 2011. The OUP's blog has a quiz on Wuthering Heights.