Wandering the Wuthering Moors

I’ve been laid low with a sprained foot. It was initially conjectured that it might be broken (the pain definitely gave no other clue!), but an X-ray revealed it was just a tad bruised. I’m calling it at least sprained to save some dignity for the injury. Anyway. So because of this unbroken foot, I’ve been staying home, presumably lounging around with a foot raised on cushions and slurping copious amounts of tea, but in reality hobbling around cleaning bathrooms, etc. I am, however, catching up on some reading. I do have an excuse, you know.

Last week I’d picked up an Oxford Classics edition of the Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte from the library. I finished it yesterday and thought I’d jot down some of my thoughts on it. I’m a voracious reader (I challenge anyone to find my living room without a library book in various stages of reading), but, admittedly, my knowledge of the classics is minimal. My views here are then pretty much intellectually uninformed. In any event, this is what I thought:

  • I’d been under the impression that this book is about the supernatural. Or, at the very least, super dark and intimidating in nature. Maybe my 21st century sensibilities are overexposed to the horrors of human emotion, but to me Heathcliff is a slightly devilish individual who happened to love Catherine obsessively. She married someone else and then proceeded to die without ever telling him that she loved him just as much, that he was her in the inevitable sense of being soulmates. And, she left behind a son and a niece who looked a lot like her. What’s a man to do under these circumstances? Of course he’s going to be haunted by what could’ve been. Of course he will be bitter and a tad crass in his dealings with others. I don’t blame him.
  • Although there are only three main families and their descendants to keep track of, it took a lot of going back to the family tree (so much so that I had a bookmark there) to keep their relationships straight. The fact that at least two characters have the same names as their ancestors, and the last names have all intermingled due to cousins marrying cousins, is quite confusing. It’s a wonder the 18th centurists were able to keep their relations straight.
  • You’ll need at least three bookmarks for this book. One on the genealogy page, one on your current page and one on the glossary at the back. I dug this; I could totally pretend I was an Eng Lit major making copious notes for an upcoming exam. Call me a loser, but this was fun 🙂
  • The 18th century dialect and manner of speaking is h.i.l.a.r.i.o.u.s! How can sentence constructions like “she fairly swooned” and “I quitted her presence directly” and “He should like to write you, if you please” not make a person chuckle? It did me, for sure. I wish we still spoke like that. Sometimes it took more than one reading of a sentence to make sense of it, but it was well worth it. This is not a novel to read with the TV on or with kids hollering in the background. Unless you only want to be seen holding a classic, not actually reading it.

The next book in my library bag is Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. I’m very much looking forward to starting it today. And yes, Emily and Charlotte Bronte were sisters. Both published books at the same time. Their youngest sister, Anne, was an author too. What a family it would have been to grow up in! I’m excited to see what Ms. Eyre brings to my plate.

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