- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: OUP Oxford; Reprint edition (8 Oct. 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0199541892
- ISBN-13: 978-0199541898
- Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 2 x 12.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 924 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,919 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Wuthering Heights n/e (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 8 Oct 2009
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From the Inside Flap
'I am Heathcliff - he's always, always in my mind ...'
Discovered on the streets of Liverpool, Heathcliff is rescued by Mr Earnshaw and taken to the remote Yorkshire farmhouse of Wuthering Heights. Earnshaw's daughter Catherine rapidly forms a passionate attachment to him, but when Catherine's brother takes over the Heights, Heathcliff is lowered to the position of a barely-tolerated farmhand. When Catherine decides to marry the refined Edgar Linton instead, Heathcliff turns revenger. He determines to degrade not only those who sought to degrade him, but their children after them.
Wuthering Heights is one of the most famous love stories in the English language. It is also, as the Introduction to this edition explores, one of the most potent revenge narratives. Its ingenious narrative structure, vivid evocation of landscape, and the extraordinary power of its depiction of love and hatred have given it a unique place in English literature. This edition reproduces the authoritative Clarendon text, with revised and expanded notes and a selection from the poems of Emily Brontë.
About the Author
Ian Jack was Professor of English at the University of Cambridge. He died in 2008. Helen Small is Fellow in English at Pembroke College, Oxford.
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RATED 4.5/5 STARS!
Well didn’t THIS take me by surprise!
I did not expect to enjoy this quite as much as I did. Wow.
Right. So the main thing that puts me off reading classics is the amount of effort it takes me to read them compared to my usual books because of the difference in language. Yes , I know it is more educational for me to read more complex books occasionally. But when I read for enjoyment, sometimes I just don’t want that extra struggle. And by sometimes I mean most of the time. But this book was nowhere near as difficult to understand as I thought it would be! Of course, it did take me longer to read because it was still different, but I’ve read classics that are much denser and feel like mud to get through. This didn’t. At all. Especially with the note pages at the back of the book to help you through some of the language meanings.
Honestly, I think the only time I’d struggle was when one character in particular would talk – Joseph. Dear lord, did that man have a thick accent! Half the time I had no idea what he’d be rambling on about, but like I said, the note pages are there (in this edition, at least) to help you through. I swear, most of the notes are just devoted to translating his accent and phrases!
Enough about accents though.
This book grabbed my attention from the start. It’s told in a very interesting way – and this is where I try my best to describe it to you guys while probably confusing everyone. I apologise in advance. So, you read the book from Mr Lockwood’s point of view, as he’s hearing the story of Catherine and Heathcliff through the housekeeper, Mrs Dean. If that makes sense. So you start at “present day” (though obviously not OUR present day), then go back a few years to the beginning of the story, and gradually make your way back to “present day”. If that confused you, I’m sorry for my awful explaining skills – but I promise it all makes perfect sense when you read it! What I’m basically trying to say though is that it doesn’t just feel like a random story, but you’re discovering it for a reason.
Also, the perspective you’re reading from isn’t the main character – or even a side character – but more of a…bystander? I don’t think I’ve read a book from that point of view before!
As for the actual story, although it’s by no means as action based and thrilling as most of the books I read, it was highly entertaining for me. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the Victorian drama! And yes, I say Victorian drama specifically, because everything was so much more dramatic during those times. If you look at someone without smiling, you’re basically the devil’s spawn and have no soul. I mean, look at this. One character was looking after another while they were ill, and here’s how it was described…
“His health and strength were being sacrificed to preserve a mere ruin of humanity.”
I know it’s probably wrong, but I can’t help but be amused by phrases like that! The book is so dramatic, and yet if the events happened nowadays, it’d hardly be anything. And yet everything seems like a shocking downright disgrace to humanity, purely because that’s how the book is written. And it was sort of nice to see how everything – every word, every action, every meal or object or journey – meant so much more back then. It made me feel like I was living in the Victorian times, and with how much I adore history, that’s a massive bonus to me.
At first I was VERY confused about how all the characters were related. So, so confused. But about halfway through it all became clear in an instant. That moment, oh how it felt like a ray of light burst through the clouds fogging my mind . I couldn’t make sense of it before, but just went with it and continued enjoying the story regardless, and then suddenly another person comes into play and CLICK everything suddenly makes sense.
I actually said aloud “OHHHH NOW I GET IT”
So other than the original confusion with the relations of the characters and the struggles of understanding Joseph’s accent, I had no other problems with this book. I loved the drama, I loved the gothic feeling surrounding the (very highly detailed) settings, and I loved seeing the difference between the society then and now.
I feel like this book is a great place to start if you want to get into classics. I mean, that’s what I’m trying to do, and it’s certainly worked for me! I honestly think this is my favourite classic so far (along with Pride and Prejudice).
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 Brontë 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 new born 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 Brontë 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.
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