on June 18, 2016
i am finding this book a very slow read as it is written in the old English; i am using the dictionary often which is an added feature of my E-reader.Hopefully I will become more proficient by the end of this book.
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.
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.
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!
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.
When Wuthering Heights first came out, readers were shocked by the violence and the passion of its story, that is the strange romance between the mysterious Heathcliff and Catherine Earnchaw, the daughter of Mr. Earnshaw who adopted Heathcliff. The scandal was so much that Emily Bronte, when she died, thought that her book was a failure. Fortunately for her, and for its first readers, the story's reputation grew among literary circles, became an important reading for people like Virginia Wolf, and even became a movie in 1939, starring the great Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon. As such, the book's reputation has now become an important piece of art around the world, influencing important artists in their works (ex:Jane Campion's The Piano, J K Rowling's Harry Potter, etc.)
Most people tend to focus solely on the romance between Heathcliff and Catherine and they tend to think that the story is simply a love story, which is what they did with the Laurence Olivier movie. However, Wuthering Heights must be considered, at least that's what I think, as a tragedy which shows how a simple act of kindness from a good man brought forth discord, jealousy and a story of revenge whose victims, the Earnshaw and the Linton families, soon suffer the wrath of someone who never received the most decent sense of love. Not only that, Wuthering Heights shows how certain families, in distant regions positioned far from big cities, act between themselves as they bring upon each other their own laws. Having had grandparents who lived in regions resembling as much as the moors surrounding Wuthering Heights, I wasn't that much surprised by the cruelty that some of the Earnshaw and the Linton brought forth on Heathcliff.
So for me, that book, was a pleasure to read again and again.
One thing that surprised me with this book is how Emily Bronte managed to transcript the dialects of the countrymen of that region. Indeed, certain character's dialects are written according to how the characters pronounce them. Though reading it straight on for the first time, might be difficult, I suggest to those that may be rebuked by this type of dialogue transcription to read the dialogs aloud. To me it felt much more easier to understand certain conversations and have more pleasure reading that book.
As such, I recommend this book to everyone who would be interested to read a great piece of literature or to discover the original material that brought forth the movie adaptations that they love to watch and rewatch.
on October 3, 2009
On October 16th, of 1847, "Jane Eyre: An Autobiography", edited by Currier Bell (pseudonym of Charlotte Brontë) was published. It created some controversy at the time, as many believed it was written by a man. The novel was very popular when published, but critical reaction to it varied. Today, it is clearly a classic, the development of a young woman, who does not fit into the stereotype of a nineteenth century woman. She is not submissive, and she struggles to avoid being dependent on others. The original publication was in three volumes, but this Penguin Classics edition is based on the third edition of Jane Eyre, and it is the last edition which Charlotte Brontë edited and corrected.
The story covers Jane's life from her childhood until her marriage. The childhood chapters can be split into two sections, those where Jane, an orphan, was being raised by her Uncle's family, but her uncle has passed away and her aunt does not like her, but was forced to promise to take care of her. The key parts of this section are Jane's being rejected by the closest thing she has to a family, her morality, and her independence, i.e. her refusal to conform. The second part of her childhood is when she is sent to attend a charity school, called Lowood, where the pupils have to make do with substandard food and clothing. Here Jane finds one teacher who treats her, and the other students, well, Miss Maria Temple. One of the key things in this section is the difference between religion and morality, symbolized by Mr. Brocklehurst a clergyman who is mostly responsible for the appalling conditions at Lowood, and Jane and Miss Temple on the side of morality. Also key is Jane's witnessing her friend, Helen Burns, dying from a typhus epidemic, in spite of her goodness and her submission to the standards imposed by Mr. Brocklehurst and Miss Scatcherd, a teacher as cruel as Miss Temple is kind.
The story then picks up many years later, with Jane in position as a teacher at Lowood, but looking to move on. She advertises for a position as a governess and is hired by Mrs. Fairfax. She is to take care of Adèle Varens, a girl who is being taken care of by Mr. Rochester, the master of Thornfield Manor where Mrs. Fairfax is the housekeeper. This section has a lot to do with class, as well as morality. There is the difficulty of Jane falling in love with someone of a different class. There is also the looking down on Jane as being of a lower class, by Mr. Rochester's peers. The morality questions are here to, in the comparison of the higher classes verses that of the lower class. Even Mr. Rochester's behavior is in question, in the events leading up to Jane leaving. Jane also finds out that she does have family left, and when it appears that she is to have everything, she sends a letter to her father's brother. It is this attempt to reconnect with family that causes her to lose nearly everything as it destroys what she thought she was about to have.
The next section details Jane's life after leaving Thornfield Manor. Here she loses almost everything, and is on death's door when she is on the doorstep of Moor House. The Rivers, St. John, Diana, and Mary. It is from this state of having nothing from which she recovers almost everything she could want. Here she recovers her health, she is employed again and regains much of her independence. St. John is in love with a woman, but he will not ask her because he is driven to devote his life to religion. He does find out Jane's true identity though, and this results in Jane learning she has family, and wealth that she didn't know she had. She is pressured by St. John to marry him and join him in his missionary life, but she knows that he doesn't love her. She rejects St. John, and instead goes to find her one love, Mr. Rochester. She now has wealth and family, and she learns that tragedies in Mr. Rochester's life have made what was once impossible possible.
It is a long and winding road which Jane travels in this novel. Probably best classified as a gothic romance, it deals with numerous issues and the strength of Jane's character serves as a good role model for young women, and for that matter anyone. The Penguin Classics edition is filled with supporting documentation as always. There is a wonderful introduction by Stevie Davies, along with a Chronology, suggestions for further reading, notes on the text, opinions of the press, and wonderful textual notes which enhance the reading experience and understanding of the reader.
on June 5, 2004
Is there anybody out there who hasn't heard of Heathcliff, the dark villian/hero of this high pitched and utterly committed work of madness? Oh, I love it. It was difficult for me at first. I'm a writer, but not a natural reader. But once I was into this book, once I stopped asking questions of the narrative and just entered the shadowy world of Catherine and her doomed household, I was quite literally spellbound. Bronte died believing this book was a failure. What a dreadful irony that this quiet, disciplined woman who lived out her life in a cold parsons' house with her brilliant sisters, her drunken brother and her eccentric father (The man memorized Paradise Lost: imagine. And outlived all his children!) never even had an inkling that this outpouring of her heart and soul would become a classic, overshadowing even her sister's highly successful Jane Eyre. Both Bronte sisters had the capacity to create archetypes -- to imprint upon the culture seminal patterns that endure to the present time. One last point: the father was Irish. Madness and genius in the blood, indeed. Enjoy it. I read it over every year or so, sometimes twice in a row. I study it; I watch all the film versions. I just love it, the way it works, its strange cruelty and enchantment.
on July 28, 2003
I am reading Wuthering heights in preparation for and AP English course, and am finding it to be the most tedious book I have ever read. I used to think that Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea dragged, but i was sadly mistaken. This book is a drawn out and dreary affair. I have enjoyed "classic" literature in the past but this is unworthy of being dubbed "classic". I would never reccomend this book to another living person, but maybe I'm just and "immature" reader.
on June 8, 2014
I was given this book to read as a school project but it has become so much more. Brontë toys with you, making the characters you like instantly the villain and vice versa. The frustration that comes along with reading this book adds to its intensity and is truly an unanticipated masterpiece.