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Wuthering Heights is a surprisingly modern novel given that its authorship predates our modern understanding of psychology. Like many modern novels, Ms. Bronte has also explored the darker side of human passions and psyches more thoroughly than the sunnier side. Heathcliff will remind you of classic characters whose lives were twisted by fate like Captain Ahab in Moby Dick, Erik in Phantom of the Opera, Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, and the mysterious prisoner in The Man in the Iron Mask.

If there were ever two star-crossed lovers who have captured the world's imagination since Romeo and Juliet, they must be Catherine and Heathcliff. Yet, unlike, many such pairs, their unhappiness is heavily influenced by themselves.

As you contemplate their story, you are constantly drawn to the thought, "what if" thus and such had occurred differently? That's part of the great power of the story because it has so many unexpected twistings and turnings. A reader's expectations from a love story are turned upside down, sideways and diagonal from where those expectations normally rest. As a result, you'll probably decide this isn't a love story after all . . . but a tragedy. Taken from that perspective, you'll find yourself hearing echoes of Lady Macbeth and King Lear as you contemplate what occurs when the natural order is disturbed. Few English authors since Shakespeare have captured that sense of what can happen when the universe is disarranged.

What's great about this story? It's pretty simple: Emotional intensity in the writing; deeply memorable characters; doomed lovers; and a haunting glimpse at unshakeable obsession.

What's not so great? The story development itself is pretty awkward. Much of the story is told in flashback which steals power and immediacy from the narration. If ever a story cried out for being told in the first person (by Heathcliff, Catherine, Edgar Linton, Hareton and young Catherine), it's Wuthering Heights. The transitions from one key moment to another are often very abrupt. Sometimes it is 150 pages later before you get the full sense of what Emily Bronte meant to convey in some of those transitions.

What's less than great? The characters aren't nearly as appealing as those you'll usually find in a novel dealing with these issues. In that sense, the novel is more realistic than fictional . . . which helps create some of its immense power. It's probably a worthwhile price to pay.

Whatever you think of Wuthering Heights, you owe it to yourself to read one of the most moving tales that has ever been written. Pick a time when you're feeling reasonably happy to start the book. Otherwise, you may find your mood to be more than a little darkened for a few days.
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on January 10, 2008
What a great experience to finally reread this classic as an adult. Emily Bronte depicts a very gothic and depressing story of two star-crossed (but not terribly likeable) lovers, Cathy & Heathcliff, and the love between them that transcended the grave. Added to that a wonderful depiction of the dark English moors and the local characters with their strange dialects. This was also told in a very unusual style, like a tale within a tale within a tale, adding more layers and perspectives to the story.

How unfortunate that one's upbringing can so affect a person that their grief and bitterness turn what could have been a fine young man into such a hateful and vengeful person as Heathcliff became. And fortunate that Cathy's daughter and Hareton could overcome their dark upbringing to bring a happier light onto the dark moors of England.

I did not read this version of the book, but the Selected Works of the Bronte Sisters, which did not have all the footnotes. I think I enjoyed that better as I wasn't constantly distracted by looking to the back for the notes and just allowed myself to become engrossed with the story. It's one book you have to read at least twice in your life -- of course in school as required reading and then again as an adult to add that perspective of age and experience in life so that one can more fully appreciate a such a classic tale.
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on April 25, 2004
Wuthering Heights is on of the greatest classics in literature and one I had never read until recently. I found this story of obsessive and destructive relationships very compelling and difficult to put down. It's a romance but by no means is it a happy one. Things don't go well for these people.
Wuthering Heights is the story of two families the Earnshaws and Lintons, who really should never had gotten together. It's the romance between Heathcliff and Catherine that underlies the whole book. Heathcliff is defiantly the ultimate anti-hero, he's obsessive, abusive and just plain evil, but still you feel yourself drawn into his dark world and hoping that redemption comes to him. He seems beyond it however and his destructive behaviour forms the basis of this gothic tale.
Emily Bronte's skills as a writer are amazing, her language is poetic and deep and the story is truly unique. My only criticism is concerning the way she wrote dialogue for the character Joseph, it's often illegible and I found it most difficult understanding what he was saying. That aside I really enjoyed this book and recommend it wholeheartedly as a study of human nature as it is without the influence of a Divine being.
Thanks for reading my review and enjoy this book.
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on August 26, 2003
Not to be hyperbolic, but Wuthering Heights is one of the most well known and critically acclaimed novels in the English language, and there is precious little that I can add to the volumes already written on it. It is the story of two British households inhabiting the wilds of the Yorkshire moors, and illuminates the destructive undercurrents that come to uproot and ultimately destroy both clans. At the center of the tale stand the headstrong Catherine Earnshaw and the brooding Heathcliff, one of the most celebrated romantic pairings in world literature. Treated abominably in his youth at the hands of both households and having lost his love to another man, Heathcliff descends into a horrifying abyss of brutality and revenge still harrowing to encounter nearly two centuries after publication. Although the novel progresses at a leisurely pace compared to modern works, it presents the most complete and thrilling portrait of passion ever set forth in the English language. Passion is not a synonym for love in Wuthering Heights-it is an unbridled conflagration consuming all rationality and rendering its victims ravenous beasts, terrifying and magnificent in their hunger. When Catherine declares that her soul will roam the moors forever after her death, even the most confirmed atheist will find himself believing her- passion is such a billowing force in Wuthering Heights that the human body is convincingly rendered a prison of something altogether greater. At the same time, the primordial forces the book presents never become exhausting, contained as they are within a highly unique narrative framework channeling them through characters secondary to the main line of action. For those patient and courageous enough to immerse themselves in its richly textured reality, Wuthering Heights presents a world boarding on the mythic, and it comes highly recommended to the imaginative reader.
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on August 20, 2003
The book is written wonderfully, you may call it gothic romance, but the book's really got a style and genre of its own. Now, I only say this for GREAT romance novels, like the Brontes. The language greatly affects the way the story is expressed. It is told in a subtle and bumpy manner, going way ahead of the reader, its many pauses for the narrator gives the reader time to think the thing over, like the guest. Basically, the style and format is a fascinating one, it truly does intrigue the reader to a certain level. Now, it is hard to say if Heathcliff is the kind of man a girl would want( not that I'm a girl ), he is, if you want someone who truly loves you, he's not if you don't want someone to go CRAZY over you. It is--I think--clever of Emily Bronte, to leave this question for readers to consider as they sit comfortably in their beds reading this romance. But if you read it carefully, you will see that the narrator does not form a very high opinion of Heathcliff, yet the latter did deserve the revenge he got. Now, here we have another controversial point for us readers. Thus the novel is a quick one, without all the slow( at least very slow )descriptions and it forms different points of interest as it moves along just pulling the reader in. As the reader gets to the end he/she will feel a shocking yet not surprising end. The ending is a satisfactory one after chapters after chapters of points pointing toward the end. After all, the end is a slope for the way the novel is going. All in all, the book is satisfactory, and something that will--in a way--haunt the reader in later times. It is a masterpiece with all those interesting formats which I will never forget.
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on February 27, 2004
I am absolutly stunned. Why do I like this book so much? How did I manage to finish it? I am a 21 year old man living in a modern city and I somehow related to this book. I have nothing in common with the characters or the author or the story or the setting. I had to read this book for college but dropped out before reading it. Several months later I picked it up and gave it a try. I'm not sorry I did. Thinking about it now I start to realize what is so good about the book: it's author's compassion for humanity. All characters in this novel suffer a great deal (partly because of their own stubbornness) but retain their essential humanity: they still need to be loved. And while reading it you can feel the author's longing to be loved herself. So this is what made me read through the book: it speaks directly to your heart in a way you can not ignore.
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on June 4, 2007
One of the most endearing, original and innovative novels to ever exist, "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte exposes the rawness of a passionate love that transcends time, life and even death. Emily designs her main character with such intricate layers that Heathcliff melts into both his juxtaposed roles of romantic hero and villain, whose venomous hate inspired by the concept of lost love, sends him in a downward spiral of vengeance. Such oxymorons are embedded into all dominating themes of this novel: artificiality and authenticity, love and hate, nature and culture. Her novel delves deep into the social conflicts, prejudice and discrimination that existed in the Victorian Era. It criticizes the art of cultivation for suffocating the human spirit and tainting the purity of a love that could not exist in our physical world. A novel of furious passion, Wuthering Heights defines the battle within each human being as the choice between humanity and society. Wuthering Heights manages to shatter all existing archetypes of conventional Victorian literature and truly defines the fallibilities, beauty, and strength of the human heart.
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on September 21, 2003
I picked this book up again some 35 years after reading it in high school, and what I found was quite different from what I remembered. Our "cultural" memory of this great English novel is that it is a story of romantic, wild passion, and unrequited love. No doubt our preconceptions are heavily influenced by the famous film made many years ago. The reality is quite different. Catherine is a rather vain and willful girl who rejects Heathcliff because of differences in their class and upbringing. Heathcliff is full of hatred and resentment despite the great kindness shown him by his master in adopting him literally off the street. There is nothing romantic about the relationship between these two--they hurt each other constantly despite their almost spiritual bond. After Catherine's death, which occurs only halfway through the book, things turn bleaker still, as Heathcliff wreaks revenge on all around him. The wild, harsh countryside and climate, beautifully evoked by Bronte, echo the violent emotions that drive the lives of the characters. How cruel these people are to each other--how hard is Heathcliff's heart that he hates Catherine's daughter most of all. I confess that I found the unrelieved bleakness hard to take at times, and the redemptive conclusion a bit contrived, but it's a great work of English literature nonetheless--and to imagine this book was written by a young woman with virtually no experience of the world!
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on January 10, 2003
Wuthering Heights is one of oldest romance novels and stands as a classic in litterature history.
All through the book you will meet great contrasts that to a certain extent can explain the actions. Wuthering heights is the land of storm and wilderness compared to the quiet and more passive Thruscross Grange where one might think it's more appropriate for children to grow up. The Earnshaw family lives on Wuthering Heights while the Linton family is from Thruscross Grange. When those two contrasts meets with the children of these two families, the conflicts starts. Catherine and Heathcliff are drawn to eachother from the begining and their passion is powerful and destructive. There's love, hate and suffering, but written in a poetic somewhat advanced language and it's echanting how you get caught up with this book.
Sad is it that Emily Brontë died the year after its publication at the age of thirty... But with this novel and her poems, she is one of the most well known female English writers of the 18th century.
You will surely miss out on something great by not reading this book. I warmly recommend Wuthering Heights to everyone who loves to read. It is truly a unique piece of writing!
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on December 10, 2004
I was expecting something in the vein of Jane Eyre when I began to read this book. I was sorely disappointed. True, the violent love between Heathcliff and Catherine is heartwrenching; however, the most difficult part of this novel for me was that there was no character that was lovable, or sympathetic. Just when I started to think that Heathcliff was not so bad after all, he would commit another shocking deed of horrific cruelty. Catherine was just annoying. I also found the plot hard to follow, what with a third person telling the story, and then swinging back to first person narrative. If you want a really powerful, uplifting love story, read Jane Eyre, or The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery.
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