on 6 April 2014
This review isn't of the novel Wuthering Heights itself, as I'm sure everyone either knows it or knows of it, and already has strong feelings about it. I simply wanted to comment on this particular edition.
As Wuthering Heights is my all-time favourite piece of literature, I have many copies of it, from a variety of publishers. Some of these copies are more reader-friendly than others. Some books, for example, have tiny letters, which makes reading a strain, even if you're wearing your glasses, and therefore renders the whole reading experience less enjoyable than it should be. Some use user-unfriendly fonts, which it is also hard to comfortably read. And in some copies, the print is all crammed too closely together, and makes you instantly wish you were reading something with the words and sentences, and paragraphs, more spaciously set-out - it looks better with more space, not so daunting, it enables you to breathe while reading.
And therefore I wanted to recommend this particular edition, because it is the best version I have come across, in terms of all the things I've mentioned above. It has nice large letters - not too large, but large enough not to be headache-inducing; the letters are printed using an attractive font; there is enough space between the words, sentences and paragraphs to give the page a nice, spacious look.
This might sound like nit-picking, but if you want to ultimize your reading experience, I believe these things really do make a big difference. At last - a copy of Wuthering Heights I can read without hunching over it with a magnifying glass.
Not to keen on the strap-line on the cover: Bella and Edward's favourite book [Twilight saga] but that's a minor quibble, and in fact, having thought about it, it's interesting to see a connection between one of the greatest classics of literature, and a series of books and films that obviously resound very deeply with modern-day readers/movie-goers.
So, I am giving this particular edition five stars, and if you want a copy of Wuthering Heights that you can read with comfort, I strongly recommend you choose this one.
on 29 November 2001
Right, where do i begin??? how did i ever live without reading this book?? i was told by some idiot that it was boring which put me off for a while, but i read it recently and was totally blown away!! It is honestly the most intense, passionate, maddening book i've ever read. It starts out strong and keeps on going, i actually had to force myself not to read it all in one night and to save some for the next day! Emily Bronte uses such powerful imagery in her prose that it just stuns you. The setting of the story in the Yorkshire moors was absolutely fitting, i doubt that if it had been set anywhere else it couldn't have possibly been half as powerful. The moors add to the air of mystery, gloom, beauty, passion,love, and tragedy. Heathcliff and Cathy are definately the most interesting and intense pair of lovers i have ever read of. Heathcliff especially provokes me, mostly because i cannot decide whether i love or hate him, and that is but one part of the genius of this book. Heathcliff is the hero/anti-hero of the book and just so utterly fascinating a character. The best ingredient of this masterpiece is the fact that the story takes place in such a secluded region, with equally interesting characters, away from the social niceties and civilities that are common in other books of this time. Therefore, the passion and tragedy of the love and hatred in this story is more strongly felt. I could honestly go on forever but i'll spare all you readers out there. All i will say is that you definately must read this book, i know that this is horribly cliche but it truly is one of the best books i have ever read in my life! You will not be sorry.
on 22 December 2008
I had seen the 1939 film with Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon (numerous times) and loved it, never failing to be moved by the love story of Heathcliff and Cathy which was portrayed so well and with such depth by Laurence Olivier in the penultimate scene (I think). The film is based on the romance of Heathcliff and Cathy but not the depth of the torment, not the bleakness of the characters, and not the destruction that their love and their circumstances results in. If you want a romantic novel, with romantic heroes, this book may not be your cup of tea. But I strongly recommend this book. It's shocking at times, as the characters can be so appalling and are so wronged, but it is gripping and well worth persevering with. I've read reviews that advise reading Jane Eyre instead (which is a wonderful book in it's own right and much more about the "romance") but I wouldn't even compare the two; they're written by sisters but are completely different novels. I'd recommend both! But open your mind to Wuthering Heights. Prepare yourself for a bit of a ride. And don't compare begin the book with expectations of classic Hollywood story-telling or romantic novels. It's neither. And it's fantastic.
on 12 April 2001
Everything about this book makes it makes it truly brilliant. The wild setting of the Yorkshire Moors, the grey and dark ambience of the Heights, the contrast of this at the Grange. Wuthering Heights is full of; love; romance; passion; revenge; and violence; covering ideas about: nature; religion; superstition; death; and the social values of the 19th Century. Criticised when it first came out because the book was written so far ahead of its time, it explores feminist ideas about the inheritance of land and money, and about marriage for social status. Possibly offensive to the original Victorian audience who would have read it, it would appeal to a modern readership subsequently, something of which, due to her premature death, Brontë would never learn of.
Brontë writes about her own experience in this book, with some characters closely relating to her own life. Her sole piece of literature shows her unique outlook on existence, and denying the reader perhaps the resolved ending they would have desired; instead we get the realistic conclusion that everyone can relate to.
Every character in this novel can portray a whole group of people. Heathcliff can represent the 'working class hero come good'. Brontë skilfully manipulates the reader into sympathising with Heathcliff, despite his appalling and violent behaviour later on. Catherine is reckless, passionate and rebellious, but maintains a clear head; she is aware of the importance of keeping a high status in the world. Brontë presents this with her marriage to Edgar Linton, denying her genuine, but concealed, feelings for Heathcliff. Even with Edgar's laissez-faire attitude to Catherine's close friendship to Heathcliff, can create the strong contrast between the two men. The reader can discover the shocking lengths that Heathcliff goes to for revenge against his former anguish, in an almost psychotic way that spans beyond death. His treatment by Catherine's brother Hindley, and his betrayal by Catherine for marrying Edgar causes him to enact a series of events including marriage without love and mistreatment of others in the most terrible way. Interestingly, Brontë allows everything to be observed by the character Nelly in an almost voyeuristic way, despite the fact she is a narrator to the story; it shows the idea of narrators being fair and trusting can occasionally be false. Every character is different, and often unconventional, represented in a certain way for a certain reason. The book successfully takes us over two generations of characters, each with different ideas, personalities and attitudes.
This book can be quite confusing at times by the use of similar names such Catherine's daughter also being named Catherine and Isabella Linton calling her son Linton. Also having to travel through two sets of narration in a non-chronological order. However, Brontë deals with all these factors marvellously and the powerful setting, intriguing characters and wide range of ideas challenged makes this book a political masterpiece of English Literature.
on 26 April 2009
Very useful book, includes a little critical opinion, used it for revision for AS english literature.
Is the updated version of the other york notes so don't buy both like i did by accident :)
Like many people this isn’t the first time I have read this, and of course won’t be my last, as this is a story that seemingly captivates so many people throughout the world. One of the most original, indeed possibly the most original story in the English language, Emily Bronte’s only novel is a pure masterpiece and a pleasure to read.
Opening in 1801 the story then goes back through the last quarter of the 18th Century, and then up to the present, finishing as it does in 1802. Set on the moors and taking in two households, Wuthering Heights, and Thrushcross Grange this story broods menace and isolation. Although the nearest village is Gimmerton this does not really appear in this tale, although some of the characters do make trips to it and further afield. Despite the expanses of the moors and two largish houses as settings for this tale, in many ways the whole story is quite claustrophobic. As Mr Lockwood takes up tenancy in Thrushcross Grange he sets out to visit his landlord, Mr Heathcliff, whom he finds rather surly and disagreeable. From Mrs Dean the housekeeper of the Grange he finds out the recent history of these two houses, and their respective owners and families.
It all begins though with the appearance of the foundling who is called Heathcliff. Taking in love, jealousy, hatred, emotional blackmail, dysfunction and vengeance this is a story that will hold you breathless, no matter how many times you read it. From what could be an interesting story full of incident and jollity, Emily Bronte instead creates something that is gothic, dark, menacing and brooding. As we see the original characters become bitter and twisted we see how their actions also have repercussions for the newborn generation, leading to a seemingly unstoppable cycle that leads straight to Hell. Can this cycle be broken, or is it doomed to perpetuate itself?
Although on first publication no one could dispute the masterful writing and passion in this book it did create quite a bit of controversy, as Emily Bronte delved deep into the roots of our psyche to create some wonderfully dark characters and situations and shining a light on what can go on behind closed doors. Something like this we take in our stride and recognise in our day and age, but it was something that was kept hidden away and bottled up in the 19th Century.
This edition does contain footnotes, but although they look as if they should be active ones due to the way they are set out, they are not, so please be warned that you cannot click on one and find the relevant information. There is also a section of suggested questions for reading groups, which I must admit I don’t know whether any groups ever use anyway.
on 14 January 2013
Wuthering Heights is the story of two families in the Yorkshire Moors and how they are all but destroyed by the evil Heathcliff, who was brought to Wuthering Heights as an orphan by old Mr. Earnshaw.
It is in many ways a paradox: It is set in a rustic and tranquil environment and in many parts dwells on a picturesque domestic environment, which I believe, would do the hearts of the best of us good.
And yet, that is in itself scarred by a regime of hideous terror and cruelty brought on by Heathcliff.
From the beginning of the book, we see in the dream of the city fop, Lockwood, how the latter violently rubs the wrist of the phantom Cathy through a broken windowpane. This sets the mood for deed after deed of cruelty and violence.
Hence the key word of the novel is paradox. Between the blissful and violent, the homely and the horrific, between the evil of Heathcliff and the goodness of Nelly Dean who muses of the former: ""Is he a ghoul or a vampire. I had read of such hideous, incarnate demons'.
His cruel treatment of Isabella and the second Catherine, is something that would revolt all descent human beings, and cause us to hate Heathcliff.
Even Shakespeare's Macbeth shows some conscience, some guilt about his evil actions, as does Lady Macbeth, but Heathcliff never. No plea, nothing at all, can cause him to show the mildest mercy.
If he had, but a shred of decency, he would have at least treated the younger Catherine with compassion as this was the daughter of the great love of his life.
Heathcliff is a usurper, who mistreats the rightful heirs to Wuthering heights and Thrushcross Grange, Hareton Earnshaw and Cathy Linton II.
The other evil folk in the novel, Heathcliff's son, the degenerate Linton Heathcliff and the spiteful manservant Joseph, are but pale shadows of the demonic Heathcliff.
The novel focuses on the intense passionate connection (for one could not call such a thing love) between Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw, and the rage of Heathcliff before and after her death, that he could not be untied with her.
Wuthering Heights was written in 1847, at a time when the rustic tranquillity and well-being of the England where Emily Bronte lived, was being shattered by the twin forces of the Industrial Revolution and mercenary profit, and the radical and amoral revolutionary ideologies which would be chartered in The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx. Perhaps one can see a parallel between the way in which the peaceful routine was being destroyed by both mercantile capitalism and by violent revolutionary socialism , and the way in which the peaceful and tranquil houses of Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights where marred by the diabolical monstrosity of Heathcliff.
A key character in the novel is the nurse Nelly Dean, a wonderful woman who shows strength and goodness, throughout in the face of all the evil and cruelty in the saga.
She is not much older than Hindley and the first Catherine and I would imagine she is about 16 years old when old Mr. Earnshaw brings Heathcliff to Wuthering Heights, and about 46 therefore, at the time of Heathcliff's death and the redemption of Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange.
The second Cathy, while showing a fierce spirit, is a fundamentally better person than her mother, both beautiful and good.
Heathcliff and Catherine I are the anti-heroes of the story and Hareton Earnshaw and Cathy II, the heroes.
on 20 May 2011
When Wuthering Heights first came out, readers were shocked by the violence and the passion of its story, that is the strange romance between the mysterious Heathcliff and Catherine Earnchaw, the daughter of Mr. Earnshaw who adopted Heathcliff. The scandal was so much that Emily Bronte, when she died, thought that her book was a failure. Fortunately for her, and for its first readers, the story's reputation grew among literary circles, became an important reading for people like Virginia Wolf, and even became a movie in 1939, starring the great Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon. As such, the book's reputation has now become an important piece of art around the world, influencing important artists in their works (ex:Jane Campion's The Piano, J K Rowling's Harry Potter, etc.)
Most people tend to focus solely on the romance between Heathcliff and Catherine and they tend to think that the story is simply a love story, which is what they did with the Laurence Olivier movie. However, Wuthering Heights must be considered, at least that's what I think, as a tragedy which shows how a simple act of kindness from a good man brought forth discord, jealousy and a story of revenge whose victims, the Earnshaw and the Linton families, soon suffer the wrath of someone who never received the most decent sense of love. Not only that, Wuthering Heights shows how certain families, in distant regions positioned far from big cities, act between themselves as they bring upon each other their own laws. Having had grandparents who lived in regions resembling as much as the moors surrounding Wuthering Heights, I wasn't that much surprised by the cruelty that some of the Earnshaw and the Linton brought forth on Heathcliff.
So for me, that book, was a pleasure to read again and again.
One thing that surprised me with this book is how Emily Bronte managed to transcript the dialects of the countrymen of that region. Indeed, certain character's dialects are written according to how the characters pronounce them. Though reading it straight on for the first time, might be difficult, I suggest to those that may be rebuked by this type of dialogue transcription to read the dialogs aloud. To me it felt much more easier to understand certain conversations and have more pleasure reading that book.
As such, I recommend this book to everyone who would be interested to read a great piece of literature or to discover the original material that brought forth the movie adaptations that they love to watch and rewatch.
on 26 July 2008
This copy gives you quite a comprehensive look at Emily Bronte, her life and her work as well as providing a good edition of her masterpiece. This edition is nicely presented if a bit all over the place; it's compact, the cover is attractive and is a hard paperback which should mean it will endure (mine shows no sign of wear). It begins with some finely printed photos on high quality paper of Emily, her family, their home, a drawing by Emily and some images of A.H Buckland's 1905 illustrations of Wuthering Heights, as well as some places that could have been of inspiration to Emily and a manuscript poem by Emily. The following text is based on the first edition of Wuthering Heights (1847) but the second edition of 1850 has been incorporated. All spelling and punctuation has been standardised and modernised. Notes on the text follows, aiming to give insight into the words and phrases from the narrative. It also gives an in depth description of Emily's life and works as well as cataloguing the various spin-offs and adaptations, which is quite interesting. The appendix is delightful it contains a notice written by Charlotte Bronte(originally the preface to the second edition of Wuthering Heights) as well as an editor's preface (also written by Charlotte) both of which are rather interesting. I recommend this edition I won't subjugate the narrative with a gushing description as I'm sure you're aware of its prowess as a brilliant piece of literature and if you haven't yet read it this is a competent edition with which to familiarise your self with it.
This book is pure genius. I read it again, and again, and always find something new to admire. It is everything a book should be. It has fantastic characters, wonderful plotting, a pacy, suspenseful story which keeps you turning the pages and is so dense that it throws up new treasures after every read.
This is the only work of Emily Bronte apart from a few poems and some juvenailia, and it is my regret that we will never know if she could have surpassed this great book with her next.
The story is well known, but in brief it is the story of Heathcliff, a foundling, who is brought to the home of Catherine Earnshaw one dark and horrible night by her father who has found him on one of his business trips and decides to rescue him. Catherine and Heathcliff form an unbreakable bond which sustains them through great misfortune and on into death, and is one of the most romantic love stories of all time.
Their love however, is also destructive and terrible. It plays out against the background of the louring moors and their terrible grandeur, which reinforces the natural, brutal cruelty of their feelings for each other and everyone else. Their love is sadistic and at times horrific and the more tragedy that is heaped upon them, the more strangled and terrible their expressions of love become.
The characters of Heathcliff and Catherine are at times utterly vile and repulsive and it is a strength of Bronte's writing that despite this you still will them to have their happy ending, and can't help sympathising with them.
The narrative is fantastically complex, with narrators within narrators and stories within stories, so that Bronte is able to give us a 360 degree view of the story and make the characters completely three dimensional, showing all their humanity, good and bad.
This is the one book I would make compulsory reading for everyone, everywhere.