Wuthering Heights

With the rise and rise of Kate Bush it’s time to look at Bronte’s classic once more.

Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights was published under the pseudonym Ellis Bell in 1847 because women don’t write books, only they do. Heathcliffe is the hero, or should I say anti-hero. He’s got a hint of gypsy in him, a man’s man that marries Isabella Linton to spite his childhood sweetheart Catherine Earnshaw (hints of incest here) hangs Isabella’s dog from a gatepost to show what kind of man she’s marrying and beats his head against the branch of a tree when Catherine dies. Catherine’s death occurs almost exactly half way through the book. The Grange is four miles from Wuthering Heights but it might as well be the moon. Edgar Linton is bloodless and bland. His sister Isabella’s son Linton, Heathcliffe’s neglected son, is described as a pretty boy but is so insipid and weak he makes Lemsip seem like a cure for cancer. Heathcliffe however contrives that Linton will marry Catherine and Edgar’s daughter, Cathy,  and he will inherit the Grange. Cathy is sixteen, but to today’s reader seems more like a wilful nine-year old. and Linton acts like a four-year-old brat. Women are objects to be married, locked up beaten and scorned. Heathcliffe’s great love for Catherine is to be mirrored in Cathy’s sick love for Linton. All of this is told in flashback by Nelly a housekeeper in both households to a guest at the Grange, Mr Lockwood. Heathcliffe for all his dastardly deeds and plotting, of course, never did more than snatch a kiss from his beloved Catherine Earnshaw. He might be a bit of rough, but sex with a Moor on the moors would have been a bit too much for a Victorian audience. He wants Catherine to haunt him. Ho-hum.

selling myself: http://unbound.co.uk/books/lily-poole

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