- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Penguin; 1 edition (6 March 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0141439556
- ISBN-13: 978-0141439556
- Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 2.5 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 295 g
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 85,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ FREE Delivery
+ $11.08 Delivery
Wuthering Heights Paperback – 6 Mar 2003
|New from||Used from|
|Paperback, 6 Mar 2003||
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From the Back Cover
'May you not rest, as long as I am living. You said I killed you - haunt me, then'
Caught in a snowstorm, Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange on the bleak Yorkshire moors, is forced to seek shelter at Wuthering Heights. There he discovers the history of the tempestuous events that took place years before: the intense passion between the foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw, her betrayal of him and the bitter vengeance he now wreaks on the innocent heirs of the past. Emily Brontë's novel of impossible desires, violence and transgression is a masterpiece of intense, unsettling power.
Edited with an introduction and notes by Pauline Nestor
Preface by Lucasta Miller
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Showing 1-3 of 3 reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
My antipathy for this book comes from the fact that of all the components of a story - language, plot, themes, characters, and so on - characters are usually the most important to me, and I found every character in WUTHERING HEIGHTS, without exception, to be either repugnant or ridiculous. Some of my favorite characters in literature are characters that I love to hate, but they are usually balanced by surrounding characters who are more sympathetic. WUTHERING HEIGHTS may be the first book I have ever read in which I could not bring myself to care about a single character, not even a minor one. And of course, the book is famed as the story of Cathy and Heathcliff's tempestuous, heart-rending love for each other. However, I did not see them as lovers at all, because their need for each other was so much greater than their love for each other. If it is love at all, it is an extremely selfish love, which seems to me to be a contradiction in terms. This is not a romance, this is a story of destructive obsession. In my eyes, the book's greatest redeeming features are its inspired use of language and very effective atmospheric details, but for a reader like me, these were never going to be enough to overcome its ghastly characters.
True to its era, there are many differences in style between WUTHERING HEIGHTS and modern novels, sometimes enchanting and sometimes disconcerting. Not the least of these is the story's tendency to meander and digress. Sometimes these sidetracks lead to hidden gems and sometimes they lead nowhere at all. WUTHERING HEIGHTS is comprised of stories within stories within stories. This layering has several interesting effects, such as sometimes giving a feeling of distance from the narrative, allowing room for retrospective contemplation, and building suspense.
Ellen Dean, who narrates the greater part of the story, seems a particularly unreliable narrator, almost as passionate in her own way as Cathy, although Nelly's is more akin to a passionate scorn for her employers. As a servant, Ellen appears to be sullen, impertinent, and even spiteful, which makes her neither a sympathetic nor a very trustworthy narrator. She is not the only one, though. The book has several narrators, all of whom have quite strong prejudices, which is important to keep in mind while sifting through the second- and third-hand accounts of Cathy and Heathcliff's lives. It is easy to forget that the bias of its narrators is an extra, subtle component of the story's mystery.
Mr. Lockwood's first exploration of Wuthering Heights itself reveals more about the book than it does about this house full of secrets - it certainly establishes its Gothic nature and is strongly reminiscent of that other Bronte sister classic, JANE EYRE. Indeed, its Gothic feel and the constant presence of the bleakly beautiful moor was the thing I enjoyed most about WUTHERING HEIGHTS. This sentence is a typically evocative description: "A sorrowful sight I saw: dark night coming down prematurely, and sky and hills mingled in one bitter whirl of wind and suffocating snow." The moor is more even than a character in this story, it is an all-pervading presence, infecting people - especially Heathcliff and Cathy - with its implacable wildness and even, at times, reckless savagery. There is a very real and essential connection between the wild moor and the wildness of the souls of Cathy and Heathcliff. It is some kind of primal connection that seems all but essential to their lives and their sanity and their selfhood.
This book is full of violence, not just latent or implied but casually and frequently evident. As we are introduced to Wuthering Heights during Cathy and Heathcliff's youth, we feel that we have entered a madhouse, full of the most vicious hate as well as the most violent love. It can be truly overwhelming at times. I found this passage particularly evocative: "[Heathcliff's] abode at the Heights was an oppression past explaining. I felt that God had forsaken the stray sheep there to its own wicked wanderings, and an evil beast prowled between it and the fold, waiting his time to spring and destroy." Everything about entering the pages of WUTHERING HEIGHTS is dark and forbidding, with an undercurrent of malevolence. This applies even more to the people - who are almost "uncanny" in the Freudian sense - than to the setting. As Nelly says: "We don't in general take to foreigners here ... unless they take to us first."
Cathy is quite the wildcat, and her excessive passion and pig-headedness can be wearing to say the least, even when inspired by apparently good intentions. She says of Heathcliff that: "'... he shall never know how I love him: and that ... he's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same ...'" And to me, this passage shows her obsessiveness to a chilling degree: "'My great miseries in this world have been Heathcliff's miseries, and I watched and felt each from the beginning: my great thought in living is himself. If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it.'"
Cathy is the very picture of a woman who desires to have her cake and eat it, too. Despite her protestations of love for Heathcliff, she attaches herself to the wealthy and genteel Edgar Linton, limply asserting that she is doing so partly to help Heathcliff rise in the world. It is abundantly clear that she wants Heathcliff all to herself as well. This makes her appear selfish, mean-spirited, and grasping, along with her other repugnant qualities. She quietly - or not so quietly - enjoys being the center of a love triangle. Nelly has many instructive things to say about Cathy's pride and selfishness: "... she was full of ambition, and [it] led her to develop a double character without exactly intending to deceive any one"; "... she was so proud, it became really impossible to pity her distresses ..."; "... she felt small trouble regarding any subject, save her own concerns"; "... it was nothing less than murder in her eyes for any one to presume to stand up and contradict her"; "... she seemed to allow herself such wide latitude, that I had little faith in her principles, and still less sympathy for her feelings."
Of Heathcliff we only hear at second- or third-hand from the aforementioned unreliable narrators, so that he appears doubly dark and mysterious. Heathcliff epitomizes the sentiment that "vengeance is a dish best served cold," but he also demonstrates how thoroughly it eats away the heart and blackens the soul. Whether he is justified in hating anyone is almost beside the point for me. His premeditated, willful torture of virtually everyone who is unfortunate enough to fall under his power can have no adequate justification. Even Cathy says: "'Pray, don't imagine that he conceals depths of benevolence and affection beneath a stern exterior! He's not a rough diamond - a pearl-containing oyster of a rustic: he's a fierce, pitiless, wolfish man.'" And as Edgar Linton learns through bitter experience: "'Mr. Heathcliff ... is a most diabolical man, delighting to wrong and ruin those he hates, if they give him the slightest opportunity.'"
WUTHERING HEIGHTS will always be for me the classic that I so badly wanted to like but simply could not. Perhaps I can say that the moor itself was the only "character" that really gripped me, whereas every human character repulsed me in some way - usually in some violent way. At least this book confirmed for me that characterization is absolutely central to my reading experience. If I cannot feel something for a story's characters, even beautiful writing and an evocative setting will most likely fail to move me.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
As a reader, I have to wonder what state of mind Emily Bronte was in when she wrote the turbulent tale. Published in 1847 the story was considered lurid and shocking, but a masterpiece. It is Bronte's only novel and is as relevant today as it was back then. Emily Bronte had been ill for some time and died in December of 1848.
1. Jane Eyre. The movie versions I've seen were, surprisingly, fairly true to the book (not often the case, as anyone who reads a book and then watches its movie knows). Shy governess, obnoxious-but-philosophical middle aged guy. Crazy wife in the attic. Missionaries. They hit all the high points. But Bronte's prose is well-done, and her characters are far more complex than the movies. She has a great way of building suspense, too. Even though I knew what was going to happen, I wanted to see it happen, so I kept reading. And I was satisfied when I closed the book: a good story, well-told.
2. The notes. Weiland's notes are, at the risk of sounding sycophantic, brilliant. Remember, these notes are about the writing of the book, not about the historicity or any of the other kinds of analysis you'd usually see in annotations. (My annotated "Sense and Sensibility" practically explains each curtsy as well as why dances lasted half an hour.) There's plenty of analysis, but it's all about how Bronte tells the story. For readers of Weiland's "Structuring Your Novel," it's like a Part II, showing the First Plot Point, (p118), Midpoint (p216), Third Plot Point (p325), Resolution and Epilogue. There are even pages at the back with questions (and lines for answering them or writing other notes) about structure. But wait, there's more! There are notes on perspective, voice, POV, conflict and tension, obstacles, character development, transitions, and way more than that. (I'm laundry listing here--but trust me, the notes could practically be their own book.)
I'm a writer myself, though you won't see my name in Amazon in that capacity--I ghost write. Under my own name, I'm also a freelance editor (developmental, substantive, and copy--you name it, I do it) and have been one for years. But I still read books on writing all the time. Some I love, some I tolerate, and a few I've ridiculed (after jumping up and down on their tattered remains). But this book is its own category, or perhaps it defies category. It's a writing master class, analyzing a masterpiece of English literature to make its key points. If I were a writing teacher, this would be required reading for my classroom.
One thing alone keeps the book from getting the fifth star, and it's a mechanical thing, nothing against Bronte or Weiland. They did their jobs well! But the typeface for the story is a serif font, and it's ten points at most, maybe eight. I needed to buy a +2 set of "cheaters" to read the story alone--and the notes are worse. They're a pale blue sans serif (the contrasting serif/sans serif fonts are good; the size is not and the pale color is not) that was hard to read even with the +2 cheaters. The notes are in the outer margins and take up about a third (one column) of each page. I wish they'd gone for broke and instead of giving us a six-by-nine (I'm eyeballing it, so the measurements are probably not exact), gone up a couple of sizes, just for the sake of those of us who are over 40. Then maybe they could've made the print a decent size.