Oh my! I read this years ago and came away with the impression it was a ghost story with some really messed up relationships, rather than a romance. I remember the first time I read about Cathy haunting Mr. Lockwood at the start of the novel, how her wrist is torn on the jagged window, I realised this was not going to be the classic romantic fiction everyone said it was. Reading it again, I completely agree with my first impression. How could anyone possibly think the psychopathic Heathcliff is romantic? If that is the impression you got, I recommend you do some serious work on your attachment styles.
Heathcliff says at one point: “Had I been born where laws are less strict and tastes less dainty, I should treat myself to a slow vivisection of those two, as an evening’s amusement.” ‘Those two’ being his two impoverished captives (Young Cathy and Hareton), and by this he didn’t mean a detailed character analysis. He’s violent and brutal, but so is Hindley Earnshaw, but at least he has the excuse of alcoholism. Heathcliff does his bad deeds out of pure narcissistic psychopathic delight.
Then there’s the thing where younger Cathy marries (or intends to) both of her cousins. First cousins. Oh my! Yorkshire definitely needed a bigger gene pool.
I also love how despite Heathcliff is so obnoxious, yet you still feel sorry for him at the end when he lets on how haunted he has been the whole time. I feel some grief counselling would have helped. Let it out, Heathcliff. But still he’s a psychopath.
Overall, I think the moral of the story is: Don’t eavesdrop, and if you do, make sure you hear all of it.
All this said though, I do love the book. It is dark, twisted and haunted, all the things I love in a good tale. This is dark, dark, dark, in a most delicious way.
Finally, it must be said that Emily Brontë managed to capture this world most beautifully. She was so cool writing this, getting it published and being who she was. This is raw and unfiltered. Definitely worth a read..
2 thoughts on “Book Review: Wuthering Heights Emily Brontë (1847)”
I’ve never heard anyone say this is a classic romantic tale! This is an angsty, emotional tale about two very broken and flawed people. Heathcliffe doesn’t come across as sympathetic at all. I’ve never seen a discussion around this book where people are under the impression it’s a warm and fuzzy romance with likeable character we should root for.
Interesting. I’d personslly see it as Gothic novel because of the ghosts, but it’s often also classed as Romance, Tragedy or Gothic fiction. Possibly romanticism, too.
But there are plenty under the impression that’s it’s a romance. I was telling a friend about it the other day, she asked me to describe it. A different friend butted in and described it as a romantic tale of passionate lovers wandering around the Yorkshire moors, saying how Heathcliff was dark, brooding and romantic, and how passionate Heathcliff and Cathy were. I suspect she had never really read the book and had only seen the TV or movie adsptations.
I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks it’s not romantic at all.
How you read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte? Equally brutal. I’m glad I didn’t live in that area in those times.