Friday, 22 February 2013

Book 5 of 2012: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

When I first found out the list of books to be covered during my OU A230 literature course, I set out to find and read a couple of them in advance of the course starting; Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte was one of those books. At the time I read it, I hadn't read too many books from that era and I have to admit that I didn't think very much of it. I think on this second attempt I did enjoy it a little more.

Fritz Eichenberg Woodcut from Wuthering Heights
Despite taking a little longer get through on this go around, I found it an easier read. Reading it alongside the course book helped because I know one of the problems I had the first time was keeping track of who was who as well as who was actually telling the story. The course book helped me to keep things straight so I didn't get quite as bogged down and was actually able to just read it. That was something that had been worrying me about rereading this, purely because I knew I'd have to look at it in greater depth than the first time.

I'm putting my ability to remember who was who during this read-through down to the fact that the course book basically took the novel stage by stage. Although it was largely dealing with critics reviews and the context in which it was written, that still helped a huge amount. I think at one point it actually says that it's easy to get confused when you're reading it because of all the names or events that keep on getting repeated.

This time around I felt more sympathy for Edgar and his daughter Catherine; when I first read it the only one I really sympathised with was Hareton who really didn't have any chance to avoid the situation he ended up in. I still can't feel entirely sympathetic for Catherine Jr because seriously, why couldn't she just do as she was told? But I did pity her more this time for how Heathcliff used her. I'm glad that Cathy and Hareton got a happy ending together.

I think I found Heathcliff scarier this go around. I'm not sure if it's something I really picked up on a huge amount the first time, and maybe the course book helped with this because it did spend a fair bit of time talking about the supernatural and 'uncanny'. Heathcliff's death really creeped me out, partly because I was reading it at night. The thought of him and Catherine's spirits lingering around *shudder*. I suppose that makes it an effective story though.

I'm fairly certain that this one will crop up in the exam so I'll probably revisit bits of it closer to the time of that. From a point of view of the course, I'm enjoying learning about the period this was written in; I've always been interested in the Victorians and it's been interesting hearing about their opinions at the time it was first published.


  1. I haven't read this section of the course yet. I skipped ahead and have done the Conan Doyle and Stevenson chapters so I can get the TMA out of the way, but I'm definitely going back to do this.

    Good luck with TMA04.

    1. That sounds like a good idea, we don't have long between finishing the Stevenson chapter and getting the assignment done. I've not started yet but I'm hoping to get it well underway this week.

      Hope you enjoy Wuthering Heights, the chapter of the course book definitely helped me to enjoy it more.

      Good luck with the TMA too. :-)

  2. Long time since I read Wuthering Heights, and like you first time around it was a struggle of a book that you can't help feeling guilty for not liking as much as you feel you should. But its the legend of the whole thing that interests and beguiles me, from Kate Bush's wonderful recreation of the novel into song all the way through to some very interesting movie adaptations and modern updates (Sparkhouse) The last most recent movie I watched on NY Day and I think will be one of the very best films I've seen this year. Highly recommended. Think I reviewed it over on my blog actually.

    1. You know, when I was reading it, I was picturing a film or poster or something and I couldn't think where in the world it was coming from and I think it must have been your blog post. I just went back and had a look at it here and that's exactly what I was thinking of the whole time. I've not seen it, but I'm going to have to look it out I think, I can class it as revision because chances are it'll come up in the exam. ;-)

  3. It's a very good adaptation, despite some critics at the time not being able to get their heads around a black Heathcliff. They filmed it actually on the moor itself and it really captures the essence of the place and the atmosphere of the book. Definitely good revision ;)
    I love that woodcut btw


Let me know what you think. :-)