Brontë. Wuthering Heights. The Nightmare, Henry Fuseli, 1781. Wuthering Heights, August Holland, 1960-69. Man Writing a Letter, Gabriel . Metsu. , 1664-66. Published in 1847, Victorian readers found it difficult to accept the violent characters and harsh realities of . ID: 213592
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The Nightmare, Henry Fuseli, 1781Slide3
Wuthering Heights, August Holland, 1960-69Slide4Slide5
Man Writing a Letter, Gabriel
Published in 1847, Victorian readers found it difficult to accept the violent characters and harsh realities of Wuthering Heights. One critic wrote in 1848 that there was nothing else like it that presented ‘such shocking pictures of the worst forms of humanity.’Published initially under the pseudonym Ellis Bell, the audience also found it impossible to accept that it could’ve been written by a woman.Although a reflection of the society of the time, it endures primarily because readers can relate to the central relationship of Cathy and Heathcliff.
Two ordered pairs, two households, two generations, two pairs of childrenSome critics dismiss the second-generation characters as simply being a re-telling of the first story, yet in doing so they are dismissing the second half of the book.Second half is equal in length and arguably is not a re-telling at all, but a purposeful revision; a form of renewal and rebirth.
Poetry masquerading as prose?Slide9
Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross GrangeMale and female ‘siblings’; through each other, they recognise what the other is not or perhaps even, define themselves by it.Frame narrative is paired between Lockwood and Nelly. Within this, chapters are narrated by the other characters, via Nelly. Instead of the author/reader presiding over the action, we are almost eavesdropping throughout. The moors both link and separate the two households.
Contrasts and pairingSlide10
Good versus evilCrime and punishmentPassion versus rationalitySelfishness, division and reconciliationChaos and orderNature and cultureHealth and sicknessRebellion and conformityThe conflicting nature of love: it can destroy and rebuild.
Class mobility is fluid.Social class plays a large part in Catherine’s choice of marriage to Edgar Linton; it is perhaps her undoing.For Isabella Linton, the opposite is arguably true; she is drawn to Heathcliff’s wild mystery in spite of his lower social standing.Revenge for Heathcliff equals domination and acting ‘Master’ as he ends up owning Thrushcross and Wuthering Heights.
Social novel about class structure?Slide12
Not so easily placed as Jane Eyre with its forward heroine and the implications of the mad woman in the attic as being symptomatic of female oppression of desire.Emily Bronte herself was known as difficult and temperamental individual and her female characters are full of intensity and violent passion; arguably a ‘male’ view of female desire.However, the depiction of Cathy’s desire and the polarised gender differences in the novel continue to fascinate Feminist critics.Gilbert and Gubar’s major work ‘The Madwoman in the Attic’, picks upon Cathy’s lack of identity and the fact that she is the victim of a patriarchal society; she must punish herself to gain power. Nelly as the female narrator shapes our perceptions.
The Gothic novel derives its name from the Gothic architectural style popular in Europe between the 12th and 16th centuries. Gothic structures were suggestive of a supernatural presence.Exhibits many characteristics of the Gothic novel, which focuses on dark and mysterious events; particularly with the arrival of Heathcliff early on the story, the violent weather and exposed landscape. Novel is not overtly Gothic though as it has a grounding in reality and some sense of credibility. Arguably it evolves into its temperamental opposite; a parable of innocence and loss, and childhood's necessary defeat.
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