Literary Criticism on The Novel Wuthering Heights

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(1) Miriam Allot: Character and Personality of Emily Bronte

      The fascination which the Bronte story came to hold for Victorian readers (and still holds widely today) in some respects did all the Brontes a critical disservice. The engrossing circumstances of their lives — impoverished, shadowed with fatal disease and restricted in almost everything except passionate imagination and intensity of feeling—and the vividness which these circumstances throw into relief, the workings of creative genius, have again and again since 1857 drawn attention away from the writings to concentrate it on the writers. It is in the years between 1857 and 1899 that the Bronte legend begins to grow, Emily perhaps in the end suffering most from fanciful speculation about her life and character. Mrs. Gaskell had not met Emily, had not read her succinct, matter-of-fact, rather childlike diary-papers in which—poignantly to us now—she tries to guess what the future has in store. Mrs. Gaskell makes no allusion to the mischievous girl who lost her reserve when rambling on the moors with her sisters or playing the piano for them in the parlor at home, and who was remembered affectionately by Charlotte's old school-friend Ellen Nussey. She knew Emily chiefly from listening to her still grief-haunted sister Charlotte and from reading Charlotte's letters written between September and December 1848, when Emily stubbornly refused to accept any medical help and obliged her family to stand by helplessly as she grew weaker. Mrs. Gaskell calls her a "Titan" and refers to her briefly with more wonder than warmth.

(2) David Daiches: The Talent of Emily Bronte

      With the younger sister of Charlotte, Emily Bronte, we come upon a talent of stranger and perhaps rarer quality whose first works are all we have before her premature death. There is no one after 1830 who so completely and boldly realizes the ideal of independence in thought, and freedom in spiritual life, which the emancipation of Romanticism had set forth. In the cruel seclusion to which fate and misfortune condemned her, she escapes from the trammels of daily life and out of her solitary musings in the heart of the wild moors, makes up the inner world of her mystic maidenhood. Her verse reveals a conscious paganism, the revenge of pantheistic intuitions against the combined tyranny of society, family, and relation. Only in the sad and rough, but pure and beautiful realms of nature, did she find true consolation. Her powerful novel, Wuthering Heights, where, unfortunately, it is impossible to reckon the exact contribution of her sister and her brother, is the work of an instinctive genius that can divine the emotions of the most passionate souls. The figures which she has fashioned from the fabric of her dreams are worked out in wonderful realism as if they had been borrowed from the most intimately known substance of reality. Her psychology, as naive as it is profound, is at the same time wholly imaginary, and astonishingly convincing.

(3) Igna-Stina-Ewbank: The Impulse Behind Emily's Work

      Ellen Nussey's memory of Emily Bronte doing the housework with a book propped up on the kitchen table; M. Heger's reported impression that the angular English spinster whom he was teaching ought to have been a man — "a great navigator"; a modern biographer's somewhat hysterical picture of "Emily at Haworth, exiled from love, poverty adding to the torment"; C. Day Lewis's insistence that the basic impulse behind her work was "the limitation of not being a man" — all these would seem, more or less formidably, to indicate a woman deeply caught in the feminist dilemma. But in fact, if we turn to her writings, we have no evidence that Emily Bronte ever, consciously or unconsciously, resented the limitations of her sex. Her birthday note of 1845, one of the few personal statements we have from her hand, suggests nothing but absolute acceptance of her lot in the parsonage where she was "a very busy and industrious housekeeper, doing all the ironing for the house and making all the bread": "I am quite contented for myself—not as idle as formerly, all together as hearty and having learned to make the most of the present and hope for the future with less fidgetiness (sic) that I cannot do all I wish—seldom or ever troubled with nothing to (do) and merely desiring that everybody could be as comfortable as myself and as undesponding and then we should have a very tolerable world of it".

(4) Irving H. Buchen: Emily Bronte and the Metaphysics of Childhood and Love

      What should be noted at the outset, however, is that the love experience, far from being unrelated to childhood resembles and even grows out of it. The poem which perhaps best illustrates this relationship is "the Death of A. G. A.," especially these lines

"Listen; I've known a burning heart
To which my own was given;
Nay, not in passion; do not start—
Our love was love from heaven;

At least, if heavenly love be born
In the pure light of childhood's morn—
Long ere the prison-tainted air
From this world's plague-fen rises there.

My soul dwelt with her day and night:
She was my all-suffering light
My childhood's mate, my girlhood's guide,
My only blessing, only pride."

      To be sure, there is something radical and perhaps even outrageous in endowing children with the capacity to sustain a relationship normally reserved for adults. And yet does not this linkage in the poems serve to remind us that Wuthering Heights is essentially a novel about children? The bulk of the story concerns itself with the infancy and early years first of Heathcliff, Catherine, Edgar, and Isabella; and later of Linton, Cathy, and Hareton. And even when each generation grows up they are not so much adults as arrested children. Indeed, when Heathcliff and Catherine are reunited, Catherine appears to regress towards childhood. Her tantrums lead to say that Catherine seemed "to find childish diversion in pulling the feathers from the rents she had just made" in the pillow. Nelly pleads with Catherine to "Give over with that baby-work" and soon after describes her behavior by saying "our fiery Catherine was no better than a wailing child." Even the civilized Isabella evidences similar fits. Visiting Nelly, she throws off her wedding ring and cries out, "I'll smash it! she continued, striking with childish spite." And much later when love flowers between Hareton and Cathy, Nelly's reminder that she is eighteen and he twenty-three comes as a surprise; for their actions seem more like those of children than adults. The only real adults in the novel are the original Mr. and Mrs. Earnshaw and Mr. and Mrs. Linton. But they are shadowy figures and depart soon after the novel begins. Joseph and Nelly exist on the periphery of the story; moreover, they give the impression of being ancients or always old.

      Thus, although the novel conveys the sense of progress because of its complex forward movement and it's span of three generations, it never really moves away from its preoccupation with childhood. This recurrent focus, in fact, is primarily responsible for the novel's special achievement of timelessness. Or to put it another way, because the novel is polarized between a constant revelation of the past and a constant anticipation of the future, there is no real sense of the present. The focus on paradise lost and paradise regained is so total and tyrannical that, just as there are no genuine moments of temporality, so there are no conditions of secularity. As an unexpected but logical correlation, there is no sex. To be sure, there is love—an uncompromising, agonized yearning of one soul for another — but it is never corporeal just as it is never temporal.

      It is at this point that the connections between childhood and love may be suggested. Consistently, Bronte speaks of the disuniting of lovers or the loss of love in the same terms and with the same dimensions that she speaks of the separation of the child from God or his loss of heaven. Thus, the separation of Heathcliff and Catherine from each other re-enacts the initial exile from God and the initial state of being born. That such divorce in fact occurs in their childhood is not just a coincidental but a symbolic reinforcement. Nowhere is this more dramatically presented than when the married Catherine tries to indicate the extent of the gulf she now feels in her life:

"But supposing at twelve years old, I had been wrenched from the Heights, and every early association, and my all in all as Heathcliff was at that time, and been converted at a stroke into Mrs. Linton the lady of Thrushcross Grange, and the wife of a stranger; an exile, and outcast, thenceforth, from what had been my world....."

      Catherine's description of the loss both of Wuthering Heights and of Heathcliff's love could be applied without any revision to the child's loss of heaven and the event of birth. The notion of traumatic discontinuity with all that was as well as all the terms the lovers use to describe it — hell, exile, imprisonment, death — are precisely the familiar terms employed in the poems to describe the child's entry into this dungeon world.

(5) G. H. Lewes: Creative Power of the Brontes

      That it was no caprice of a poor imagination wandering in search of an "exciting" subject we are most thoroughly convinced. The three sisters have been haunted by the same experience. Currer Bell throws more humanity into her picture; but Rochester belongs to the Earnshaw and Heathcliff family... The power, indeed, is wonderful. Heathcliff, devil though he be, is drawn with a sort of dusky splendor which fascinates, and we feel the truth of his burning and impassioned love for Catherine, and of her inextinguishable love for him. It was a happy thought to make her love the kind, weak, elegant Edgar, and yet without lessening her passion for Heathcliff. Edgar appeals to her love of refinement, and goodness, and culture; Heathcliff clutches her soul in his passionate embrace... although she is ashamed of her early playmate she loves him with a passionate abandonment which sets culture, education, the world, at defiance. It is in the treatment of this subject that Ellis Bell shows real mostly, and it shows more genius, in the highest sense of the word, than you will find in a thousand novels.

      Creative power is so rare and so valuable that we should accept even its caprices with gratitude. Currer Bell, in a passage of this question, doubts whether the artist can control his power she seems to think with Plato (see his argument in the Ion), that the artist does not possess, but is possessed... We suppose every writer will easily recall his sensations of being "carried away" by the thoughts which in moments of exaltation possessed his soul—will recall the headlong feeling of letting the reins slip — being himself as much astonished at the result as any reader can be. There is at such time a momentum which propels the mind into regions inaccessible to calculation, unsuspected in our calmer moods.

(6) Igna-Stina Ewbank: The Note of Rebellion

      It was, perhaps, the essential paradox of her nature that this resolute contentment with her place in life co-existed with rebellion. Charlotte Bronte speaks in her "Biographical Notice" of how "under an unsophisticated culture, nonofficial tastes and kill pretending outside, lay a secret power and life that might have informed the brain and kindled the veins of a hero"; — but it with a rebellion against the whole human condition. Never, except in the exile poems inspired by her period as a governess, does her poetry speak of, or imply, frustrations, in her actual social-domestic position; and even in those poems it is not her sex or her status she laments, but the separation from the parsonage and the moors. The frustrations in her poetry are the profound and incurable ones of the human condition: her demand in the poems for liberty and integrity—

Through life and death, a chainless soul
With courage to endure

      Is too absolute to be motivated by, or directed towards the alleviation of, any one particular ill; her most piercing cry—"Oh, dreadful is the check-intense the agony" laments the return from a mystical moment of spiritual liberation, the pain of re-discovering the limitations of humanity,

When the ear begins to hear and the eye begins to see;
When the pulse begins to throb, the brain to think again,
The soul to feel the flesh and the flesh to feel the chain!

(7) Elizabeth Drew: The Significance of the Title

      That the uplands and lowlands of the moors are ever present in Emily Bronte's imaginative vision is evident. The very title implies it, with Lockwood's heavy explanation in the first chapter that "wuthering" is a "provincial adjective, descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in stormy weather." We are told at the outset of the gaunt and stunted trees "all stretching their limbs one way" as a result of the force of the north wind. That picture becomes metaphor when Heathcliff has got the child Hareton Earnshaw into his power and gloats:

      "Now, my bonny lad, you are mine! And we'll see if one tree won't grow as crooked as another with the same wind to twist it.'' Wuthering Heights, in fact, is a symbol of the "atmospheric tumult" which is the dominant force, in the world of the book: a wild, destructive force twisting the lives of everyone exposed to it. It does riot triumph ultimately in the temporal world. Heathcliff's plans for ruining Hareton prove illusory and the future for him and the young Cathy is to be at Thrushcross Grange in the quiet valley. We may question whether this conclusion establishes the harmony described by David Cecil, or whether it does not point rather to separate planes of existence which remain disparate and irreconcilable in the world of men.

(8) Irene Cooper Wills: The Title

"Wuthering Heights is the name of Mr. Heathcliff's dwelling".

      The name, with all that it means to the author and is going to mean to us, comes first. "The name of Mr. Heathcliff's dwelling is Wuthering Heights," a sentence which contains the same information as the other, would not strike the same note. Then comes a parenthesis — ("Wuthering" being a significant provincial adjective, descriptive of the atmospheric tumult) etc. Strictly before this and after "dwelling", there should be a comma instead of the full stop; nevertheless, the slip serves to give the remark the appearance of an "aside" leading up to what follows, when its full force is exposed. "Pure, bracing ventilation....up there, at all times, indeed"—the writer puts an exclamatory turn into the phrase, besides introducing a feeling of windiness by the use of the word "ventilation", which is much more suggestive of activity than "air". It may be only my fancy, but the next sentence seems to me to give the direction as well as the power of that "north wind blowing over the edge": It is an extended sentence and seems in the actual line of the drive of the gales which wrought that "excessive slant of a few stunted firs at the end of the house" and swept onward to that "range of gaunt thorns all stretching their limbs one way, as if craving alms of the sun". Fancy or not, however, there is no denying a vivid impression of the way the wind blows up on those heights, and the assurance, which the writer hastens to give, as to the strength of the house, is welcome and restoring to our sense of shaken equilibrium.

(9) Elizabeth Drew: Thematic Pattern in Wuthering Heights

      Hence widely differing expositions of the thematic pattern of the book behind its melodramatic plot. It is impossible to be unaware of the immense energy and pressure of emotional forces at work in the writing, but how do these shape themselves into "meaning"? Virginia Woolf found no answer:

      "She looked out upon a world cleft into gigantic disorder and felt within her the power to write it in a book. That gigantic ambition is to be felt throughout the novel—a struggle, half-thwarted but of superb conviction, to say something through the mouths of her characters which is not merely 'I love' or 'I hate' but 'we, the whole human race' and 'you, the eternal powers'....the sentence remains unfinished"

      Arnold Kettle at the other extreme, quoting Virginia Woolf, declares: "I do not think it remains unfinished", and sees Heathcliff as the spirit of human revolt against injustice, and the book as "an expression in the imaginative terms of art, of the stresses and tensions and conflicts, personal and spiritual, of nineteenth-century capitalist society." Mark Schorer asserts that, as he understands it, Emily Bronte set out to write a work of edification. "She begins by wishing to instruct the dandy Lockwood in the nature of a grand passion." The final significance, however, is the insistence on "the impermanence of self and the permanence of something larger." David Cecil calls it a "metaphysical" novel, where the great characters exist "in virtue of their attitude to the universe and to the huge landscape of the cosmic some." He sees the pattern as "the expression of certain living spiritual principles — on the one hand the principle of storm, of the harsh, the ruthless, the wild, the dynamic; on the other the principle of calm—of the gentle, the merciful, the passive and the tame." He sees those two principles combining to form a cosmic harmony, and "It is the destruction and re-establishment of the harmony which is the theme of the story."

(10) Eric Solomon: The Incest Theme in Wuthering Heights

      In Nelly Dean's narrative, no reason is suggested for Earnshaw's visit to Liverpool, and this in a passage where Nelly describes not only the distance, "sixty miles each way," and the fact that he is going to make the journey on foot, but also the gifts — a fiddle and a whip — to be purchased for Hindley and Cathy. These details are presented clearly, but Nelly never so much as indicates why Earnshaw is making this arduous trip, whether in connection with the farm, legal matters, or personal reasons.

      Earnshaw returns with a mysterious dirty child whom his wife "must even take as a gift of God". He gives a vague and illogical report of finding the homeless and starving child in the Liverpool gutters. Earnshaw's rationalization of the adoption seems weak:

      "Not a soul knew to whom it belonged, he said, and his money and time, being both limited, he thought it better to take it home with him, at once, than run into vain expenses there; because he was determined he would not leave it as he found it."

      Even in an eighteenth-century provincial slum, the waif must have had some protector. Mrs. Earnshaw considers her husband to be mad, and the narrator, tart Nelly Dean, expresses doubts through her manner of recounting the tale. She informs Lockwood that Earnshaw "tried to explain the matter: but he was really half dead with fatigue .... all that I could make out ...was a tale of his seeing it..."

      The brief picture of Mrs. Earnshaw presented here would certainly supply an added motive for concealment of a child who could possibly be Earnshaw's illegitimate offspring. She "was ready to fling it out of doors"; she grumbles and berates the exhausted traveler. How would such a woman have reacted to any honest admission of single adultery? Earnshaw could only bring a by-blow into the family by devious means, as long as his wife was still alive.

      In addition, Heathcliff soon becomes Earnshaw’s favorite, more cherished than his own children, an unnatural occurrence surely—unless this is an actual child. Nelly has her suspicions. Earnshaw, she comments, "took to the child strangely", this "poor fatherless child, as he called him" Hindley, for his part, sees Heathcliff "as an usurper of his parent's affections."

      There can be no doubt that Emily Bronte cast a vague incestuous aura over the entire plot of Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff marries his lost love's sister-in-law; his wife's son marries her brother's daughter; Cathy's daughter marries her brother's son. An unconsciously incestuous love between the two leading characters would not run counter to the tone of a novel filled with violent and savage scenes, such as the sadistic rubbing of a wrist over a broken window pane, Cathy's fierce delirium, or the sight of Heathcliff smashing his bloody head against a tree.

(11) V.S. Pritchett: Self As the Subject of Wuthering Heights

      In the first part of Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte states her difference from the English novelists clearly when she sets down the housekeeper's reflection on the early days of Catherine Earnshaw's marriage. The dramatic effect of the casual words, in the narrative, strikes the reader suddenly like the east wind:

...I believe I may assert that they were really in possession of deep and growing happiness.

It ended, well, we must be for ourselves in the long run; the mild and generous are only more justly selfish than the domineering...

      "Only more justly" — What little regard for power, for the insatiable self. The self, in its absolute sense and isolation, is her subject. Even when Catherine dies and her gentle husband grieves, the narrator coldly notes
that his grieving love is selfish, for it would deny her the peace of heaven; and that in Catherine's case, the peace of heaven is doubtful. And again when Heathcliff curses Catherine after her death, the self is absolute:

      "May she wake in torment he cried with frightful vehemence, stamping his foot, and groaning in a sudden paroxysm of ungovernable passion. "Why, she's a liar to the end. Where is she? Not there—not in heaven not perished—where? Oh, you said you expired nothing for my suffering. And I pray one prayer — I repeat it till my tongue stiffens — Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest, as long as I am living: You say I killed you — Haunt me then: The murdered do haunt their murderers. I believe — I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always—take any form—drive me mad: only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you: Oh, God: it is unutterable; cannot live without my life: I cannot live without my soul."

(12) H. W. Garrod: Wuthering Heights as an I'll-constructed Novel

      The faults of Wuthering Heights proceed, not from defective knowledge of human nature, but from inferior technique, from an insufficient acquaintance with the craft of fiction. The story is in general ill-constructed, and in its detail often complicated and obscure. In parts it is uncertainly conceived, the pattern of it haunted by bad example—the "novel of edification" and the "Tale of Terror" both lend to it vicious elements. Out of these defects, the book is redeemed, first, by its strong instinct for a living scene—nowhere else, perhaps, save in Lear, are the scene and the actors to the same degree a single tragical effect; secondly, by its power in the depiction of manners—in part a historical talent, for we are too apt to forget that the time of Wuthering Heights is as remote as the place: Mr. Earnshaw's death must be placed in 1777; and thirdly, by the fact that, with the single exception of Mr. Lockwood, every character in the book is a living person, whose fortunes are the object to us of pity or fear.

(13) Mrs. Humphry Ward: The Power of the Opening Chapters

      Nevertheless, there are whole sections of the story during which the character of Heathcliff is presented to us with a marvelous and essential truth. The scenes of childhood and youth; the upgrowing of the two desolate children, drawn to each other by some strange primal sympathy - Heathcliff "the little black thing, harboured by a good man to his bane", Catherine who "was never so happy as when we were all scolding her at once; and she defying us with her bold, saucy look, and her ready words", the gradual development of the natural distance between them, he the ill-mannered ruffianly no-man's child, she the young lady of the house; his pride and jealous pain; her young fondness for Edgar Linton, as inevitable as a girl's yearning for pretty finery, and a new frock with the spring; Heathcliff's boyish vow of vengeance on the brutal Hindley and his race; Cathy's passionate discrimination, in the scene with Nelly Dean which ends as it were the first act of the play, between her affection for Linton and her identity with Heathcliff's life and being: — for the mingling of daring poetry with the easiest and most masterly command of local truth, for sharpness and felicity of phrase, for exuberance of creative force, for invention and freshness of detail, there are few things in English fiction to match it. One might almost say that the first volume of Adam Bede is false and mannered beside it, the first volumes of Waverley or Guy Mannering flat and diffuse. Certainly, the first volume of Jane Eyre, admirable as it is, can hardly be set on this same level with the careless ease and effortless power of these first nine chapters. There is almost nothing in them but shares in the force and the effect of all true "vision" — Joseph, "the most wearisome self-righteous Pharisee that ever ransacked a Bible to rake the promises to himself, arid fling the curses to his neighbors'; old Earnshaw himself, stupid", obstinate and kindly; the bullying Hindley with his lackadaisical consumptive wife; the delicate nurture and superior wealth of the Lintons; the very animals of the farm, the very rain and snowstorms of the moors, all live, all grow together, like the tangled heather itself, harsh and gnarled and ugly in one aspect, in another beautiful by its mere unfettered life and freedom, capable too of wild moments of colour and blossoming.

(14) T. W. Reid: Characters in Wuthering Heights

      Heathcliff, and the two Catherine, and Hareton Earnshaw... come forth with all the vigor and freshness ....which can belong only to the spontaneous creations of genius. They are no copies, indeed but living originals...they must, I think, be counted among the greatest curiosities of literature....Heathcliff is the greatest villain in fiction...We can compare him to nobody else among the creatures of fiction. We cannot even trace his literary pedigree....But this circumstance does not alter the fact that we accept him at once as a real being, not a merely grotesque monster. He stands as much alone as Frankenstein's creature did; but we recognize within him that subtle combination of elements which gives him kinship with the human race.... Emily Bronte has succeeded ... where some of the most practiced writers have failed entirely. Compare...the fantastic horrors of Lytton's "A Strange Story" (1862), and you feel at once how much more powerful and masterly is the touch of the woman...... this haunting of Heathcliff by the ghost of his dead mistress is infinitely more terrible than if it had been accompanied either by the paraphernalia of rococo horrors which Mrs. Radcliff habitually invoked, or by those refined and subtle supernatural phenomena which Lord Lytton employs in his famous ghost story.

(15) V. S. Pritchett: Implacable, Belligerent People of Emily Bronte's Novel, Wuthering Heights

      I have been reading Wuthering Heights again, after 20 years, a novel which is often regarded as poetical, mystical and fabulous. No people like Heathcliff and Catherine, it is said, ever existed. Wuthering Heights is indeed a poetical novel; but when I was reading it, it seemed to me the most realistic statement about the Yorkshire people of the isolated moorland and dales that I have ever read. I am a Southerner: but I spent a good deal of my childhood in those northern cottages and I recognize the implacable, belligerent people of Emily Bronte’s novel at once. The trap used to pick you up at the branch line station and in a few miles you were on the moors, the wind standing against you like an enemy, the moorland drizzle making wraiths over the endless scene, and the birds whimpering in cries of farewell, like parting ghosts. Austere, empty, ominous were the earth and sky, and the air was fiercer and more violent than in the South. The occasional small stone houses stuck up like forts, the people themselves seemed, to a southerner, as stern as soldiers, and even the common sentence they spoke were so turned that, but for a quizzical glitter in the eyes of the speaker, one might have taken their words as challenge, insult or derision. I do not mean that these remote Yorkshire people were not kindly and hospitable folk; but one had not to live among them for long, before one found that their egotism was naked, their hatred unending. They seemed to revel in an hostility which they called frankness or bluntness; but which how can I put it? —was an attempt to plant all they were, all they could be, all they represented as people, unyieldingly before you. They expected you to do the same. They despised you if you did not. They had the combative pride of clansmen and, on their lonely farms, clans they were and had been for hundreds of years. I can think of episodes in my own childhood among them which are as extraordinary as some of the things in Wuthering Heights; and which, at first sight, would strike the reader as examples of pitiable hatred and harshness. Often they were. But really their fierceness in criticism, the pride, and the violence of their sense of sin was the expression of a view of life which put energy and the will of man above everything else. To survive in these parts, one had to dominate and oppose.

      There is no other novel in the English language like Wuthering Heights. It is unique first of all for its lack of psychological dismay. Never, in a novel, did so many people hate each other with such zest, such Northern zest. There is a faint, homely pretense that Nelly, the housekeeper and narrator, is a kindly, garrulous old body; but look at her. It is not concealed that she is a spy, a go-between, a secret opener of letters. She is a wonderful character, as clear and round as any old nurse in Richardson or Scott; but no conventional sentiment encases her. She is as hard as iron and takes up her station automatically in the battle. Everyone hates, no one disguises evil in this book; no one is "nice." How refreshing it is to come across a Victorian novel which does not moralize, and yet is very far from amoral. How strange, in Victorian fiction, to see passion treated as the natural pattern of life. How refreshing to see the open skirmishing of egotism, and to see life crackling like a fire through human beings; a book which feels human beings as they feel to themselves.

(16) Elizabeth Drew: Heathcliff's Cruelties

      But all these mental cruelties sink into insignificance beside those of Heathcliff. Up to the time of his disappearance he has the reader's pity, for though Hindley's childish jealousy is understandable, his revenge is disproportionate, and Cathy's disloyalty, though also understandable, is nevertheless shocking. But after his return, Heathcliff's determination to ruin Hindley, body and soul, and his black hatred of the Lintons becomes devilish. It is not, after all, they who have wronged him, but Cathy who has betrayed his love. His behaviour to Isabella is revolting in its sadism; he shows himself as she truly says, "a lying fiend, a monster, not a human being." He is pure hate personified as he mutters: "I have no pity! I have no pity! The more the worms writhe, the more I yearn to crush out their entrails." After Cathys' death, when the second generation of Earnshaw, Linton and Heathcliff grow into adolescence, it is still revenge that dominates him. His only interest in his son, that "whey-faced whining wretch", is that he can be used as an instrument for his father to get control of the Linton estates, as he has already got control of the Earnshaws:

      "I want the triumph of seeing my descendants fairly lord of their estates, my child hiring their children to till their father's land for wages. That is the sole consideration which can make me endure the whelp."

      He cannot really break young Cathy's spirit, even with his final torture of destroying all her books, but he does confess at the end that to her he had made himself "worse than the devil". For the rest, when Nelly urges him to repent, he can still say: "I've done no injustice and I repent of nothing. All that happens to change the situation is that is compulsive drive for vengeance on his dead enemies exhausts itself: "I have lost the faculty of enjoying their destruction, and I am too idle to destroy for nothing." As for the property he had planned so madly to get, he can say: "I wish I could annihilate it from the face of the earth." In place of the demoniac thirst for revenge, the memory of the dead Cathy usurps his entire consciousness, and the "one universal idea" of a final union with her spirit. 

(17) David Daiches: Heathcliff — Diabolical But Irresistible

      Heathcliff's character contains a suggestion of the diabolical, but at the same time he is irresistible. He is associated both with blazing warmth and with the forces of nature (including the wind and the storm). He is capable of apparently motiveless cruelty. His implacable hatred of the Lintons is the hatred of the naturally passionate for those who would conventionalize and prettify and moralize passion. He is possessed of emotions of limited range and of positively superhuman strength, and he arouses strong emotions in others. It is only the curiously sexless nature of the relationship between Heathcliff and Catherine that prevents us from identifying him at once with the force of natural sexual passion, which can be so disturbing, so sadistic, so inimical to the genteel and the conventionally moral. But a perceptive essay by Thomas Moser attacks the view that the novel is sexless, and makes a convincing case for a recurrent sexual symbolism. Moser studies the part played by keys and doors and windows in critical phases of the action; he notes the fact that it is Heathcliff presence or imminent presence that provokes other people's marriage into fertility: he analyses the three quarrel scenes involving Catherine, Edgar, and Linton that occur in Chapter 11, and finds each of them indicating Edgar's sexual inferiority to Heathcliff, and Catherine's frustration at Edgar's lack of passion and of response He probes the relation between Isabella and Heathcliff, and notes, that, although Isabella after her cruel and contemptuous treatment by Heathcliff wishes him dead, she goes to Heathcliff's aid when Hindley is about to murder him. He concludes that the primary traits which Freud ascribed to the id apply perfectly to Heathcliff; the source of psychic energy; the seat of the instincts (particularly sex and death); the essence of dreams; the archaic foundation of personality—selfish, asocial, impulsive.

(18) Barbara Hardy: Catherine's Delirium

      In many ways this is a wild strange speech, rather like Ophelia's "flower speech'' in Hamlet in being both fey and precise. Nelly is frightened and answers, as commonsense usually does, by telling Catherine to pull herself together: "(Give over with that baby-talk". But the speech is a fine example of Emily Bronte's realism as well as her ability to delineate abnormal states of consciousness. The trap and the little skeletons have sinister references to the future as well as the past, but they are more than a symbol. They are part of actual things and experiences and places: the disturbed mind lovingly identifies the real feathers, and the recognition brings with it real memories. When we think of Heathcliff as a diabolic figure, or even as a man whose love for Catherine is "fierce and inhuman" we forget such details as this which create the world of joys and companionship in which this love grew up. When a little later, Catherine
tells Nelly of her hallucination of grief and misery in which the last seven years grew a blank and she returned to the misery of her separation from Heathcliff we have a bare and violent strained expression of grief. It is the small solid details, natural or domestic, like the feathers, or the flour on Nelly's hand, that make the love seem human and recognizable at least in origin. Nelly's response like the response of the Wedding-Guest, but much more intimate and involved, gives us the sense of ordinary relationship so that Heathcliff and Catherine are not seen entirely in isolation, as belonging to another species; but it is the scenes and objects as well as the people, which contribute to the feeling that strange passions and events take place in a familiar landscape.

(19) Barbara Hardy: Catherine's and Heathcliff's Ideas about Death

      Let us set out some of the things that Catherine and Heathcliff say about death. Catherine dreams of being miserable in heaven, she tells Heathcliff she will not rest in her grave, she longs to escape from this life into a glorious world. Heathcliff says he will be alive while his soul is in the grave, stills his torment by uncovering her face in that grave, and makes arrangements to be buried beside her and have the sides of their coffins broken so that her ghost haunts him and that he will join her. Lord David Cecil is helpful when he speaks of "Immortality of Spirit in this World", though I cannot agree with him when he quotes Nelly Dean as being in agreement with such a view. Nelly says that when she looks on Catherine's corpse, her doubts about her eternal deserts are stilled and she feels that her spirit is at home with God. But this is not how Catherine speaks of her survival after death. Even giving weight to her sick longing to escape the body's prison, she seems to be consistent in longing for freedom and vitality though in no clearly discernible orthodox sense, and her actions, (suggested rather than stated) after death seem to imply that this freedom and vitality must be shared by Heathcliff: what her death releases her into is imagined as limited by not having him with her..... This insistence on a love which needs to leave the body, though decidedly rare and strange, is perhaps one of those elements in the novel which make us feel that Hareton and the second Catherine have an easier and more restricted existence than Heathcliff and the first Catherine.

(20) J. Hillis Miller: Catherine and Heathcliff United in Death

      Cathy and Heathcliff reach in death what they possessed in this world when they were unself-conscious children, and did not know of their separateness. They reach peace not through obedient acceptance of isolation, but through the final exhaustion of all their forces in the attempt to reach union in this life. Their heroism is, in George Bataille's phrase, an "approbation of life to the point of death." Cathy's death is caused by their embrace: "An instant they asunder; and then how they met I hardly saw, but Catherine made a spring, and he caught her, and they were locked in an embrace from which I thought my mistress would never be released alive. In fact, to my eyes, she seemed directly insensible." Heathcliff readies death through the exhaustion of his vitality. This exhaustion is brought about by his frantic attempt to reach Cathy's ghost "I have to remind myself to breathe—almost to remind my heart to, beat! And it is like bending back a stiff spring ... it is by compulsion, that I do the slightest act, not prompted by one thought, and by compulsion, that I notice anything alive, or dead, which is not associated with one universal idea I have a single wish, and my whole being, and faculties are yearning to attain it.

      They have yearned towards it so long, and so unwaveringly, that I'm convinced it will be reached and soon because it has devoured my existence—I am swallowed in the anticipation of its fulfillment", " might as well bid a man struggling in the water, rest within arms-length of the shore! I must reach it first, and then I'll rest"

      At the end of Wuthering Heights Cathy and Heathcliff have reached the peace of union with one another through God, a God who is at once immanent and transcendent, utterly beyond this world "brooding above" it, and within it as what "pervades" it everywhere, just as the soft breeze breathes over the moors in the last paragraph of the novel. One need not, as Lockwood says, "imagine unquiet slumbers, for the sleepers in that quiet earth," and "under that benign sky." Only in death, the realm of absolute communion, can Heathcliff "dissolve with" Cathy and "be happy" at last. The final happiness of Cathy and Heathcliff, like their first union in childhood, can only be spoken of symbolically. The tremendous storm raised by the separation of the two lovers, a storm which has swirled out to engulf all the characters in the novel, has been appeased at last, and calm has returned. Heathcliff has broken through to the still point at the center of the whirlwind, the divine point where all opposites are reconciled and where he can possess Cathy again because he possesses all things in God. The calm he has reached has spread back into the world to be tangible in the soft wind breathing through the grass and blowing through the open windows at Wuthering Heights. Emanations from the center of peace have been liberated to flow out to the periphery of the circle, and to irradiate all the world with a benign and pervasive glow. The state of savagery in which Lockwood first found the people at Wuthering Heights has been transcended at last.

(21) Barbara Hardy: Lockwood's Dream

      Lockwood draws our attention to the strange coincidence that the name in the dream is indeed the right name "Why did I think of Linton? I had read Earnshaw twenty times for Linton." The other materials in the dream are attributable to the information he has gleaned from Catherine's diary just before he falls asleep, but the name of Linton does have the effect of making the ghost appear to have a status outside Lockwood's dream, and at this stage, we are invited to see at least the possibility of the dream as a haunting rather than a dream. We might add to this, though less certainly, the detail of the time, the 'twenty years'. Our attention is not directed towards this detail, as it is towards the name, and twenty years might indeed be no more than a good round number, since Lockwood notes that Catherine's testament bears a date some quarter of a century back. But if we do take the trouble to check the time since Catherine's death, which the ghost might be thought to allude to, we will find that seventeen years have passed: the first Catherine dies when her daughter is born, and Lockwood's comment that the second Catherine does not look seventeen is confirmed by Nelly who tells us that Catherine is eighteen when she marries Hareton in 1802. But it is roughly twenty years since Catherine lost Heathcliff. She married Edgar Linton three years after his father died, we are told, and he dies, with his wife, on catching Catherine's fever which starts with her exposure and distress on the night Heathcliff leaves Wuthering Heights. Allowing some time for her pregnancy, we discover that it is probably between twenty and twenty-one years since Catherine was bereaved, not of life, but of Heathcliff. Since the crying ghost is a child rather than an adult it may be that Emily is suggesting that it is the fifteen years old Catherine who haunts her room at the Heights, lamenting the loss of her lover. This is another detail which Lockwood does not know at the time of his dream, and though it is not apparent without doing some research, it does perhaps fit with the conspicuous coincidence of the name. Together these are perhaps the only really strong suggestions of real ghosts. It is significant that they are there to be seized on or passed over, not disturbing the tentative presentation of the supernatural activity.

(22) Edgar F. Shannon, Jr. Lockwood's Dreams and the Exegesis of Wuthering Heights

      In two successive visits to Wuthering Heights, Lockwood, gregarious and affable, is the object of rebuffs and indignities. Detained by the snowfall, he is refused both a guide to the Grange and a bed in the house. During each of his calls ferocious dogs attack him; and on the second occasion, while Gnasher and Wolf pin him to the ground, Heathcliff and Hareton laugh at his predicament. His nose bleeds, and Zillah finally checks the gore by dashing a pint of freezing water down his neck. He goes to bed cold, dizzy, nauseated, and, not surprisingly, in a "bad temper." His two dreams, though immediately induced by his reading and the rapping branch, emotionally derive from the events of the past two days; and the assault of Branderham congregation provide a penultimate instance of violence to Lockwood's person.

      In this dream, having "no weapon to false in self-defense" he begins grappling with Joseph for his staff. Despite the conspiracy of critic to present him as a milksop, Lockwood habitually reacts swiftly and responds aggressively to abuse. When the bitch flies at him on his first visit, he flings her back, interposes a table between himself and the swarm of curs, and holds off his principal assailants with a poker. Thinking that a derogatory remark of Joseph's to young Catherine is meant for him, he is "sufficiently enraged" to step "towards the aged rascal with an intention of kicking him out of the door" Discovering that Heathcliff will not allow Hareton to be his guide in the snow, he snatches the lantern by which Joseph is milking and starts off alone. When the dogs pull him down and stand over him, he trembles, not in fear but in rage, and shouts imprecations at them and at Heathcliff until Zillah intervenes.

      Lockwood's frantic attempt in the nightmare to break Cathy's grip by cutting her wrist on the broken glass "till the blood ran down and soaked the bedclothes" is not, then, as Mrs. Van Ghent maintains, mere gratuitous cruelty, psychologically unmotivated. He had already shown himself capable of giving pain and had "gained a reputation of deliberate heartlessness" when he disdained and discomfited the young lady at the sea coast who had finally returned his visual advances. But his barbarity to the child grows out of the first dream and is an ultimate act of self-assertion and self-preservation—the final terrified retaliation of the dreamer for the physical and emotional outrages he has sustained.

      Clearly, there is little foundation for Mrs. Van Ghent's contention that the very lack of motivation for Lockwood's action substantiates the symbolic quality of the nightmare as a revelation of autonomous darkness in the psychic depths of the human soul, even in the soul of a character who "more-successfully than anyone else in the book, has shutout the powers of darkness." Rather, the dream is symptomatic of the careful causality that governs the central action of the novel. When Lockwood contends that people in remote regions "do live more in earnest, more in themselves, and less in surface-change, and frivolous external things" than city dwellers, Nelly replies, "Oh! here we are the same as anywhere else, when you get to know us." This exchange embodies the novelist's claim for the scope of the representation. Lockwood demonstrates in little what occurs in gigantic proportions in Heathcliff. The cruelty in the nightmare indicate that all men—sophisticate as well as boor—react vehemently to exacerbation of nerves and negation of sympathy. Repelled, even Lockwood's well-bred gestures towards social intercourse overnight degenerate into brutality.

(23) Elizabeth Drew: Hareton and Cathy

      This abdication by Heathcliff of his destructive fury leaves the way open for the swift growth of the love—already latent—between Hareton and the young Cathy, and for a final resolution in the emotional and moral pattern of traditional humanism. As long as hate breeds hate, Heathcliff triumphs. Those who return hate for hate he can crush: Hindley, who screams in his frenzy, "Oh if God would but give me strength to single him in my last agony, I'd go to hell with joy": or Isabella, who will not be satisfied unless she can return "a wrench of agony" for each that Heathcliff inflicts on her. Edgar Linton is too passive to put up any effective resistance and Heathcliff's own son, conceived in hate, wastes away to early death. Heathcliff can boast of his destruction of Hareton: "I've got him faster than his scoundrel of a father secured me, and lower, for he takes a pride in his brutishness.... I've taught him to scorn everything extra-animal as silly and weak .... he had first-rate qualities and they are lost, rendered worse than unavailing ... And the best of it is that Hareton is damnably fond of me! You'll own that I've outmatched Hindley there !"

      But that is just where Heathcliff himself is outmatched. He cannot corrupt Hareton and render his qualities unavailing, simply because Hareton returns love for hate. Moreover, by forcing young Cathy into his power, Heathcliff frustrates his own plans. At first, after Linton's death, she shows her mother's snobbish pride and thinks it would degrade her to consort with the oafish Hareton. But she has her father's sweetness of nature too, which finally asserts itself. She learns humility from her sufferings. Hareton, says Nelly, has "an honest, warm and intelligent nature"; he has only to learn the external graces of life from Cathy. All these qualities will heal the wounds of the past, and lead to a calm, fruitful domestic future at the Grange.

(24) Margaret Willy: The Minor Characters in Wuthering Heights

      The characters of the two narrators — garrulous, loyal Nelly and the self-consciously pompous Lockwood “(are) revealed through the mode of narration ....The other old family retainer in the novel stands in complete contrast to Nelly. Like her, Joseph constantly expostulates and moralizes, but there the resemblance ends. While Nelly does all she can to alleviate the general unhappiness and dissension, the hypocritical Joseph delights to aggravate it and make further trouble. In her portraits of the two servants, Emily Bronte sets side by side opposite types of professing Christians. Nelly urges the virtues of forgiving one's enemies and returning good for evil, and sincerely believes in a hereafter "endless and shadowless .... where life is boundless in its duration, and love in its sympathy, and joy in its fullness". To the dour, sour Joseph the idea of joy is quite foreign. He advocates the Old Testament doctrine of damnation— threatening the child with "own Nick", seeing gaiety as ungodly, and hearing merry songs as "glories to Satan". He is, in fact, in his element where there is "plenty of wickedness to reprove". Emily's picture of this "wearisome" self-righteous Pharisee that ever ransacked a Bible to rake the promises to himself and fling the curses to his neighbors" is a scornful rejection of the narrow tenets of Calvinism. His pious ejaculations and sermonizings, three-hour services in the great on rainy days and interminable grace before meals, consort ill with Joseph's role as mischief-maker stirring up strife wherever possible. He carries tales about the young people to Hindley and later to Heathcliff; encourages Hareton's coarseness and rough ways; and most scenes of violence have the approval of his "croaking laugh". There is, as Charlotte Bronte remarks, "a dry saturnine humour" in her sister's observation of this character; both in the canting hypocrisy of his sentiments, and the racy vigor of the dialect in which they are expressed.

      All Emily Bronte's minor characters, although naturally not developed in any great detail or depth, are drawn with a care and energy which makes each a recognizable individual. The inhabitants of this "unreclaimed region" of her imagination all possess that native vitality discerned by the sophisticated townsman Lockwood when he says to Nelly: "People in these live more in earnest, more in themselves, and less in surface-change, and frivolous external things".

(25) W. C. Roscoe: Subordination of Character to Vividness of Narration

      In Wuthering Heights there is an unmistakable tendency to subordinate differences of character to vividness of narration. Perhaps it shows the absence of any power of intuitive insights into characters widely different from one another and from the author. All the characters....are within a very narrow range, and have a tendency to run into one another. Yet this whole story embodies a wonderful effort of imagination...All is used together as by fire; and the reader has neither power nor inclination to weigh probabilities or discuss defects. The laceration of his feelings deadens him to the bearings of details. There is humour in Joseph, rude and harsh though it be; a quality not discernible in any of the other writings of the sisters (we do not except the curate-scene): and once, though once only, Heathcliff shows in such a light that it is possible for pity to mingle with our detestation. It is when after Catherine's death, he stands on his hearthstone, his passion spent, and his spirit overwhelmed by the sense of his desolation.

(26) David Daiches: Man and Nature in Wuthering Heights

      Most readers will agree that the intrusion of Heathcliff into the affairs of Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange and his vital rapport with the elder Catherine represent a deeply imagined and vividly prescribed awareness of some profound and ambiguous force working in man and nature. They will agree, too, that the moorland setting and the effortlessly brilliant way in which human passions are related to aspects of natural activity in this moorland landscape give the novel a power beyond anything which the action itself can convey. The most powerful, the most irresistible, and the most tenacious of forces that reside in the depths of human nature have no relation with the artificial world of civilization and gentility, but they do have a relation to the elemental forces at work in the natural world and also to the impulse to provide the basic elements of a civilized life—fire and food. There is also the recurrent and disturbing suggestion that the depths of man's nature are in some way alien to him. Heathcliff comes from a mysterious outside and finds his natural mate in the inhabitant of an ordinary moorland farmhouse. We might almost say that one of the insights achieved by the novel is that what is most natural is by very virtue of its being most natural also most unnatural. Man is both at home and not at home in nature. He is capable of perversions and cruelties that are not found in nature, but that is because he is urged on by deep natural forces within him which find themselves at odds with the demands of convention and even of ordinary humanness.

      It is perhaps curious that Emily Bronte shows no sense of the otherness of the other person in a passionate relationship between the sexes. Ultimate passion is for her rather a kind of recognition of one's self—one's true and absolute self— in the object of passion. ("Nelly, I am Heathcliff." "I cannot live without my life I cannot live without my soul ) This notion makes contact with the suggestions of incest in the novel (Heathcliff and Catherine had been brought up as brother and sister) to suggest a kind of hoarding of passion which is related perhaps to Heathcliff's later avarice and to the Thomistic explanation of incest as a form of avarice (for it selfishly keeps love within the family and does not offer it to someone outside).

(27) Elizabeth Drew: Nature and the Characters

      It is not really true to say that the chief characters exist in virtue of their attitude to the universe and the huge cosmic landscape. It would hardly be possible to create a novel in those terms. True, we are never far from the natural world. Although Emily, unlike Charlotte, gives no long descriptive accounts of the moors, yet they are fused into the life and language of the characters on every page; their winds, skies and streams, their rock-ribbed surface and rolling stretches of heather and bluebells, their sunlight and moonlight, their stillness and storms, their many birds, their "suffocating snow," and summer days with "the whole world awake and wild with joy." Yet though one dimension of the book is cosmic in sweep, which gives it what Virginia Woolf calls its "huge stature" among novels, at the same time, like all other novels, it deals directly with human relationships, which differ intrinsically from natural forces in that they are inevitably bound up with emotional and moral problems and conflicts and choices. The novel moves indeed on three levels, all interfused; the realistic, the emotional and moral and the world of pure spirit. We shift from one to another within a few lines. We can start with Nelly in the farm kitchen, singing the baby Hareton to sleep with a folk song, go on to Catherine confiding to her intention to marry Edgar Linton because he is young and rich and handsome, and then listen to her crying out her indissoluble bond to Heathcliff:

      "If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it.... Nelly, I am Heathcliff.

(28) Barbara Hardy: Nature in Wuthering Heights

      The body's indifference to nature.... is to be emphasized again when Heathcliff digs at the earth over Catherine's grave in the north wind, or when his dead face and throat are finally found washed with rain. Isabella is wide off the mark when she taunts Heathcliff with not being able to bear a shower of snow, saying that "the moment a blast of winter returns, you must run for shelter!", as he stands at the window, calling "let me in," as Catherine does in Lockwood's dream. In this scene where Hindley and Isabella lock Heathcliff out, his desperation and isolation are emphasized by the weather. Isabella sees him standing outside: "hair and clothes were whitened with snow, and his sharp cannibal teeth, revealed by cold and wrath, gleamed through the dark". Two pages earlier, Isabella has said: "It seemed so dismal to go upstairs, with the wild snow blowing outside, and my thoughts continually reverting to the kirkyard and the new-made grave!" Both violence and the dismal thoughts of the dead are mirrored in the wild weather....winter has seemed best for many a sad tale. It is not for nothing that this one begins in winter and the weather is never unimportant in Wuthering Heights. It is on rainy nights, Joseph says, that he has seen the ghosts of Catherine and Heathcliff. It is a dark evening threatening thunder when Nelly meets the little boy crying with fear because he thinks he can see Heathcliff and a woman—a
marvelous touch by the way, for he is too young to have seen Catherine and so would say just a "woman".

(29) John Skelton: Poetic Imagination in Wuthering Heights

      Emily Bronte is the most powerful of the Bronte family. They are a remarkable race ... But Emily is a Titan. Charlotte loved her with her whole heart; to her, the implacable sister is "mine bonnie love"; but Emily is stem, taciturn, untamable ... Her affections, such as they are, are spent on her moorland home, and the wild animals she cherishes...On her death, she accepts no assistance—does not admit that she suffers even. Her death, Charlotte said afterward, "was very terrible. She was torn conscious, panting, reluctant, yet resolute, out of a happy life". Wuthering Heights is not unworthy of its grim parentage. Emily's novel is not, perhaps, more powerful than her sister's; but we meet in it, I think, with more subtle diversities of character than we do in any of them....There is a refrain of fierce poetry in the men and women she draws... Heathcliff, the boy, is ferocious, vindictive, wolfish; but we understand the chain of fire that binds Cathy to him ... As he stands moodily in the presence of his fastidious, courtly, and well-bred rival, we feel that though his soul is the fouler, he is the greater, the more lovable of the two. He may be an imp of darkness ... but he has come direct from the affluent heart of nature, and the hardy charm of her bleak hillsides and savage moorlands rests upon the boy. On the boy only, however; for the man develops and degenerates; it is then a tiger-cat's passion, a ghoul's vindictiveness, a devil's remorse, action, the validity of religion, the relations of rich and poor.

      Wuthering Heights is an expression in the imaginative terms of art, of the stresses and tensions and conflicts, personal and spiritual, of nineteenth-century capitalist society. It is a novel without idealism, without false comforts, without any implication that power over their destinies rests outside the struggles and actions of human beings themselves. Its powerful evocation of nature, of moorland and storm, of the stars and the seasons is an essential part of its revelation of the very movement of life itself. The men and women of Wuthering Heights are not the prisoners of nature, they live in the world and strive to change it, sometimes successfully, always painfully, with almost infinite difficulty and error.

(30) David Daiches: The Poetic Imagination of Emily Bronte

      The power of the novel does not, however, solely reside in the disturbing implications of its theme. Emily's imagination was essentially poetic; she was by far the best poet of the three sisters and it is precisely her power to give vivid poetic force to objects and incidents that has always most impressed readers of Wuthering Heights. Her brooding, intense, personal vision, combined with a remarkable power of organization gives the novel its characteristic quality of passion and order. Extraordinary effects are achieved by the brilliant handling of the time scheme, with Lockwood reporting his impressions at a point near the end, of the whole process and then having them explained by Nelly Dean's retrospective and familiar account (and the familiarity of Nelly's relation to the main actors is important) and towards the end retrospect and present impression again mingling in fascinating counterpoint. And whether or not we agree with Lord David Cecil that the essence of the novel resides in the fantastically neat planning and pairing of characters and situations, this planning and pairing certainly plays its part in giving
Wuthering Heights, its peculiar atmosphere of inevitability and its air of archetypal behavior. The language is forceful, direct, often simply matter-of-fact Mark Schorer has listed the "verbs of violent movement and conflict" such as writhe, drag, crush, grind, struggle, yield, sink, recoil, outstrip, tear, drive asunder, but it is important to realize that this whole texture of violence is presented without any sense of shock or horror on the author's part. Emily Bronte writes as though the pitch of passion at which her principal characters live is something to be noted quite matter-of-factly as an aspect of life which she looks entirely for granted. Nelly Dean's recurring cries of "hush," are shown for the most part as the words of a nanny to a petulant child rather than the words of an ordinary human being outraged by the extraordinary behavior she witnesses. We return to the point we made at the outset; one of Emily Bronte's most extraordinary achievements in this novel is the domicile of the monstrous in the ordinary rhythms of life and work, thereby making it at the same time less monstrous and more disturbing.

(31) E. M. Forster: Explosive Emotions in Wuthering Heights

      The emotions of Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw function differently to other emotions in fiction. Instead of inhabiting the characters, they surround them like thunder clouds, and generate the explosions that fill the novel from the moment when Lockwood dreams of the hand at the window down to the moment, when Heathcliff, with the same window open, is discovered dead. Wuthering Heights is filled with sound — storm and rushing wind—a sound more important than words and thoughts. Great as the novel is, one cannot afterward remember anything in it but Heathcliff and the elder Catherine. They cause the action by their separation they close it by their union after death. No wonder they "walk": what else could such beings do? Even when they were alive their love and hate transcended these. Emily Bronte had in some ways a literal and careful mind. She constructed her novel on a time chart even more elaborate than Miss Austen's, and she arranged the Linton and Earnshaw families symmetrically, and she had a clear idea of the various legal steps by which Heathcliff gained possession of their two properties. Then why did she deliberately introduce muddle, chaos, tempest? Because in our sense of the word she was a prophetess because what is implied is more important to her than what is said, and only in confusion could the figures of Heathcliff and Catherine externalize their passion till it streamed through the house and over the moors. Wuthering Heights has no mythology beyond what these two characters provide: no great book is more cut off from the universals of Heaven and Hell. It is local, like the spirits it engenders, and whereas we may meet Moby Dick in any pond, we shall only encounter them among the harebells and limestone of their own county.

(32) Barbara Hardy: The Supernatural in Wuthering Heights

      Much of the excitement and terror and tension of Wuthering Heights surely depends upon its power of supernatural suggestion. Although there is a solid natural and domestic setting there are times that we are moving beyond the boundaries of natural events and causes. But I have used the words "suggestion" and "we feel" advisedly. The novel uses its machinery of ghosts and mystery in a way which we may call realistic. Emily Bronte's use of fantastic material, it may be argued, is indeed more realistic than her sister Charlotte's, even though it is Charlotte who insisted on her need as a novelist, to move away from "elf land" into the ordinary world of sober reality. The supernatural machinery at the end of Jane Eyre, for instance, appears to transmit a message from Rochester to Jane in the nick of time. She leaves St. John Rivers, who is powerfully pleading with her to join him as his wife and helper, and the action of the novel is turned and concluded. In Wuthering Heights none of the supernatural activity has this kind of influence on action. And I might add, by way of brief and relevant digression, that Emily Bronte's use of mystery and violence (so-called "melodramatic" material) is more plausible in my view, than Charlotte's. The ghost in Villette or the mad wife in Jane Eyre arouses fear and doubt and tension but at the expense of plausibility. In Wuthering Heights the supernatural sways the response of some of the characters (not all) but does not have to be accepted as part of the action, its reality is left tentatively in doubt, within the area of folk superstition and dreams. As in real life, the ghosts appear in dreams or abnormal states of consciousness, or else appear to other people. The two story-tellers, for instance, see ghosts only in a dream (Lockwood), or in the reflected horror and fear of other people's experience (Nelly Dean). These are ghosts which are brought into the novel subtly and tentatively, inviting no strenuous effort to suspend disbelief from the skeptical reader. The believers in ghosts may have a slightly different response to the novel, but they may, in their turn not see their ghosts transformed by last-minute materialistic explanation, as in many thrillers, including Villette. The question is left open.

(33) David Daiches: Symbolic Elements in Wuthering Heights

      It is this vision of a soft luxury at Thrushcross Grange, which provides the starting point for that view of the novel which sees it essentially as a carefully patterned weaving of multiple contrasts between storm and calm, represented respectively by life at the Heights and life at the Grange. This is the view persuasively argued by Lord David Cecil in Chapter 5 of his Early Victorian Novelists. Lord David Cecil carefully divides the principal characters in the story into children of calm and children of storm and their offspring, who are various crosses between the two. Offspring of love combine the best qualities of the parents, and offspring of hate (e.g. Linton Heathcliff) combine the worst. Children of storm mismatched to children of calm or frustrated in their desire to mate with fellow children of storm are driven to destructive madness; but children of such mis-matings if those mis-matings were made in love and not in hate (e.g. Catherine and Edgar, Hindley and Frances) can themselves mate and restore harmony between opposing elements. Such harmony is restored by the marriage of the younger Catherine with Hareton at the end of the novel. This is both neat and ingenious, but leaves out too much and does not adequately account either for the novel's power or for the symbolic elements that operate in it. Why should the fatuous Lockwood be visited by the ghost of the dead Catherine and why should he give way to sadistic impulse to rub the child's wrist across the broken glass of the window pane (the cruelest of many cruel images in the book)? What is the meaning of the recurring sadism in the story? What, if any, kind of morality is involved? What is the imagination really doing in this disturbing violent tale?

(34) David Daiches: Symbols and Metaphors in Wuthering Heights

      Dorothy Van Ghent, in a most interesting essay on the novel sees it as the symbolic presentation of the duality of human and non-human existence, of the "otherness" of the natural as opposed to the human. She sees in the violent figures of Catherine and Heathcliff "portions of the flux of nature, children of rock and heath and tempest, striving to identify themselves as human, but disrupting all around them with their monstrous appetite for an inhuman kind of intercourse, and finally disintegrated from within by the very eagerness out of which they are made". Against the "wilderness of inhuman unreality" she sets the "quietly secular, voluntarily limited, safely human concourse of Nelly Dean and Lockwood." Mark Schorer takes a more simply didactic view of the novel. "Wuthering Heights, as I understand it, means to be a work of edification: Emily Bronte begins by wishing to instruct her narrator, the dandy. Lockwood, in the nature of a grand passion; she ends by instructing herself in the vanity of human wishes." This seems a curiously simple moral to emerge from such a disturbingly complex novel, and while it may well represent in some degree part of Emily Bronte's conscious intention in writing the book it hardly accounts for all that is actually there. Nevertheless, in arguing for this view Mr. Schorer makes some most illuminating comments on the language of the novel, seeing the metaphors as signifying "the impermanence of self and the permanence of something larger" and drawing attention to the way in which "Emily Bronte roots her analogies in the fierce life of animals and in the relentless life of the elements—fire, wind, water".

(35) J. Frank Goodridge: Worlds of Heaven and Hell

      What have those lonely mountains worth revealing? More glory and more grief than I can tell The earth that wakes one human heart to feeling. Can center both the worlds of Heaven and Hell. Attributed to Emily Bronte

      It is useful in interpreting Wuthering Heights to consider the frequent use in it of the words "heaven" and "hell" and other terms of salvation and damnation. The ready-to-hand hyperbole of heaven and hell had been overworked, especially in love poetry, before Bronte's time, and only a handful of English poets and dramatists (Marlowe, Shakespeare, Milton and Blake among them) had ever added much to the imaginative impact of these words. But in Dr. Faustus and Paradise Lost, for example, the words derive their force largely from the assumption that heaven and hell exist, as objective, theological facts. In Bronte, the theological facts appear to exist only as shadows of Victorian hypocrisy, the reality to which they refer varies from person to person. The novel's whole pattern is designed to convince us that Heathcliff is not talking nonsense when he says, speaking of his own burial "No minister need come; nor need anything to be said over me—I tell you I have nearly attained my heaven; and that of others is altogether unvalued and uncovered by me."

      Throughout the novel's intricate pattern, a number of private heavens and hells are contrasted, each throwing the others into sharper relief. They intersect one another at many points—the distorted "circles" of an Inferno-cum-Paridiso centered on Heathcliff and Catherine.

      There is, first, Lockwood's "perfect misanthropist's heaven." On his final visit to the Heights, this landscape (which he has not seen before in summer) does indeed appear, as he puts it, "divine." It is transfigured by the love of Cathy and Hareton, and he now looks upon their romance with a pang of envy. Since he has not himself experienced the "purgatory" of the Heights at first hand, as Cathy has, it is a "heaven" in which he can have no permanent place.

      Bronte uses the Latinate "paradise," "Elysium," etc., only for the comparatively trivial or selfish contentments of those who are incapable of a greater happiness. So, for example, Hindley sits with Frances in his "paradise" by the hearth, while Heathcliff and Catherine create their own "heaven" together: We have noticed, too, that behind Nelly's religiosity there lies a fairyland of childhood which she passes on to Cathy through her "nursery lore"; and that from this Cathy creates the Wordsworthian "heaven" of her childhood. This is directly contrasted with Linton's drowsy heaven, which is really "infantile" in the modern sense. Thus Cathy "This is something like your paradise", said she, making an effort at cheerfulness," — and a few minutes later, "I can't tell why we should stay. He's asleep.....(XXVI)

      Joseph's private heaven in the kitchen, far more solid and indestructible, is described in this way "Joseph seemed sitting in a sort of elysium alone, beside a roaring fire; a quart of als on the table near him, bristling with large pieces of toasted oatcake and his black, short pipe in his mouth." Since first exiled from the family sitting-room after Mr. Earnshaw's death, he has refused to admit that the Heights affords any civilized comforts other than the kitchen with its porridge, and the garrets with their sacks of malt and grain—the coarse essentials of life which he shares with Hareton:

      "Parlour!" he echoed sneeringly, "Parlour Nay, we've no parlours...." (XIII-Isabella's letter provides the best material for the study of Joseph.)

      Though originally a usurper, Joseph grows in stature, becoming the upholder of the old Earnshaw tradition—his rough oatmeal—hospitality opposed to all refinements. He instills into Hareton a pride of name and lineage (XVII), and though driven in the end from his own "hearthstone," he is reinstated at last as Hareton's tenant, as if in recognition of his strength and persistence. We see his tenacity most clearly in Isabella's narrative (XVII). Heathcliff pushes him on to his knees to mop up Hindley's blood, he joins his hands, begins to pray and then rises, vowing he will go to the Grange at once to fetch Mr. Linton, the magistrate. So obstinate is his defiance of Heathcliff, that his master is forced on to the defensive. Thus his "elysium," though selfish, is not represented to us as wholly unscrupulous. It is a way of life fit to survive (Joseph keeps the farm-work going); and the Heights without Joseph would scarcely live in our imagination as a real household.

      For Isabella, on the other hand, the Heights proves a sterile "Purgatory" inciting her only to hatred. But to Cathy it is a fruitful one, making possible her love for Hareton. For Hindley, too, the Heights becomes a real hell. Deprived of Frances, and having no better religion than Joseph's to support him, he falls into frenzied despair "He neither wept nor prayed; he cursed and defied: execrated God and man, and gave himself up to reckless dissipation" (VIII). His speeches are filled with the language of perdition.

      Hindley's conventional form of despair is deliberately set against Edgar's equally conventional expressions of hope and trust in God's providence. Nelly, who speaks for Edgar in matters of religious sentiment, makes this contrast explicit: "I used to draw a comparison between him and Hindley...One hoped, and the other despaired: they chose their lots, and were righteously doomed to endure them....". This complacently homiletic language suits them both: for Hindley's curses only reveal his helplessness, while Edgar's sanctity (he dies blissfully, like a saint) is as ineffectual as Hindley's blasphemy. Both lose all they possess to the wiles of Heathcliff.

(36) Dorothy Van Ghent: The Two Kinds of Reality in Wuthering Heights

      Essentially, Wuthering Heights exists for the mind as a tension between two kinds of reality: the raw, inhuman reality of anonymous natural energies, and the restrictive reality of civilized habits, manners, and codes. The first kind of reality is given to the imagination in the violent figures of Catherine and Heathcliff, portions of the flux of nature, children of rock and heath and tempest, striving to identify themselves as human, but disrupting all around them with their monstrous appetite for an inhuman kind of intercourse, and finally disintegrated from within by the very energies out of which they are made. It is this vision of a reality radically alien from the human that the ancient Chinese landscape paintings offer also. But in those ancient paintings there is often a tiny human figure, a figure that is obviously that of a philosopher, for instance, or that of a peasant—in other words, a human figure decisively belonging to and representing a culture—who is placed in diminutive perspective besides the enormously cascading torrent, or who is seen driving his water buffalo through the overwhelming mists or faceless snows; and this figure is outlined sharply, so that, though it is extremely tiny, it is very definite in the giant surrounding indefiniteness. The effect is one of contrast between finite and infinite, between the limitation of the known and human, and the unlimitedness of the unknown and non-human. So also in Wuthering Heights: set over against the wilderness of inhuman reality is the quietly secular, voluntarily limited, safely human reality that we find in the gossipy concourse of Nelly Dean and Lockwood, the one an old family servant with a strong grip on the necessary emotional economies that make life endurable, the other a city visitor in the country, a man whose very disinterestedness and facility of feeling and attention indicate the manifold emotional economies which city people particularly protect themselves from any disturbing note of the ironic discord between civilized life and the insentient wild flux of nature in which it is islanded. This second kind of reality is given also in the romance of Cathy and Hareton, where book learning and gentled manners and domestic charities form a little island of complacency. The tension between these two kinds of their inveterate opposition and at the same time their continuity one with another, provides at once the content and the form of Wuthering Heights.

(37) David Cecil: Storm and Calm in Wuthering Heights

      The setting is a microcosm of the universal scheme as Emily Bronte conceived it. On the one hand, we have Wuthering Heights, the land of storm; high on the barren moorland, naked to the shock of the elements, the natural home of the Earnshaw family, fiery, imitated children of the storm. On the other, sheltered in the leafy valley below, stands Thrushcross Grange, the appropriate home of the children of calm, the gentle, passive, timid Lintons. Together each group, following its own nature in its own sphere, combines to compose a cosmic harmony. It is the destruction and re-establishment of this harmony which is the theme of the story. It opens with the arrival at Wuthering Heights of an extraneous element — Heathcliff. He, too, is a child of the storm; and the affinity between him and Catherine Earnshaw makes them fall in love with each other. But since he is an extraneous element, he is a source of discord, inevitably disrupting the working of the natural order. He drives the father, Earnshaw, into conflict with the son, Hindley, and as a result Hindley into conflict with himself, Heathcliff. The order is still further dislocated by Catherine, who is secured into uniting herself in an "unnatural" marriage with Linton, the child of calm. The shock of her infidelity and Hindley's ill-treatment of him now, in its turn, disturbs the natural harmony of Heathcliff's nature, and turns him from an alien element in the established order, into a force active for its destruction. He is not therefore, as usually supposed, a wicked man voluntarily yielding to his wicked impulses. Like all Emily Bronte's characters, he is a manifestation of natural forces acting involuntarily under the pressure of his own nature. But he is a natural force which has been frustrated of its natural outlet, so that it inevitably becomes destructive; like a mountain torrent diverted from its channel, which flows out on the surrounding country, laying waste whatever may happen to lie in its way. Nor can it stop doing so, until the obstacles which kept it from its natural channel are removed.

      Heathcliff's first destructive act is to drive Hindley to death. Secondly, as a counterblast to Catherine's marriage, and actuated not by love, but by hatred of the Lintons, he himself makes another "unnatural" marriage with Isabella. This, coupled with the conflict-induced in her by her own violation of her nature, is too much for Catherine and she dies. Heathcliff, further maddened by the loss of his life's object, becomes yet more destructive, and proceeds to wreak his revenge on the next generation, Hareton Earnshaw, Catherine Linton and Linton Heathcliff. These—for Hindley, like Heathcliff and Catherine, had married a child of calm - cannot be divided as their parents were into children of calm or storm; they are die offspring of both and partake of both natures. But there is a difference between them. Hareton and Catherine are the children of love, and so combine the positive "good” qualities of their respective parents the kindness and constancy of calm, the strength and courage of storm. Linton, on the other hand, is a child of hate, and combines the negative "bad" qualities of his two parents —the cowardice and weakness of calm, the cruelty and ruthlessness of storm. Heathcliff obtains power over all three children. Catherine is married to her natural antipathy, Linton; so that her own nature, diverted from its purpose, grows antagonistic to her natural affinity—Hareton. The natural order is for the time being wholly subverted: the destructive principle reigns supreme. But at this, its high-water mark, the tide turns. From this moment the single purpose that directs the universe begins to reassert itself, to impose order once more. First of all, Linton Heathcliff dies. Negative as his nature is, it has not the seed of life within it. Then, freed from the incubus of his presence, the affinity between Hareton and Catherine begins to override! the superficial antagonism that Heathcliff's actions have raised between them; they fall in love. The only obstacle left to the re-establishment of harmony is Heathcliff's antagonism; finally this, too, changes. His nature could never find fulfillment in destruction; for it was not—as we have seen—primarily destructive, and has become so only because it was frustrated of its true fulfillment-union with its affinity, Catherine Earnshaw. Heathcliff's desire for this union never ceased to torment him. Even at his most destructive, her magnetic power dragged at his heart, depriving him of any sense of satisfaction his revenge might have obtained for him. Now it grows so strong that it breaks through the veil of mortality to manifest itself to his physical eye in the shape of her ghost. The actual sight of her gives him strength at last to defeat the forces that had upset his equilibrium; with a prodigious effort, the stream breaks through the obstacles that had so long stood in its way, and flows at last in a torrent down its rightful channel. He forgets his rage, he forgets even to satisfy the wants of physical nature; he wants only to unite himself with Catherine. Within two days his wish is satisfied. He dies. His death removes the last impediment to the re-establishment of harmony. Hareton and Catherine settle down happy and united at Thrushcross Grange. Wuthering Heights is left to its rightful possessors, the spirits of Heathcliff and the first Catherine. The wheel has come full circle; at length the alien element that has so long disturbed it has been assimilated to the body of nature; the cosmic order has been established once more.

(38) David Daiches: The Contrast Between the Two Houses

      The sense of domestic routine is strong. In the very first chapter we are given an account of the "ranks of immense pewter dishes, interspersed with silver jugs and tankards, towering row after row, in a vast oak dresser, to the very roof," and indeed this introductory picture of the "family sitting room" at Wuthering Heights is notable for the sense it provides of being at the center of a genuine domestic economy. When Lockwood returns shortly afterward on his second visit, we are shown again "the huge, warm cheerful apartment" which "glowed delightfully in the radiance of an immense fire." The effect here is not simply to contrast the warm interior with the cold rough weather outside; there is a genuine hearth at Wuthering Heights - as there is not at Thrushcross Grange during the period when it is let to Lockwood. In fact, what drives Lockwood to Wuthering Heights — a four-mile walk over the moors on a cold January day—is the fact that the fire in his room is out "....stepping into the room, I saw a servant girl on her knees, surrounded by brushes and coal-scuttles, and raising an infernal dust as she extinguished the flames with heaps of cinders." At Thrushcross Grange the fire was deliberately put out; on his arrival at Wuthering Heights Lockwood found "the radiance of an immense fire". And even after his terrifying night there, he comes first thing in the morning upon "Zillah urging flames up the chimney with a colossal bellows, and Mrs. Heathciff, kneeling on the hearth, reading a book by the aid of the blaze." The fire is already giving out a "furnace-heat." And during the night....Lockwood: had found "a gleam of fire, raked compactly together."

(39) Frank Goodridge: The Diminishing Importance of the Church

      Apart from the two houses, there is one other important feature in Bronte's landscape — the kirk, sometimes referred to as Gimmerton "chapel." It stands about halfway between the two houses, on the edge of the moor. When Lockwood first introduces it to us in Chapter III, he describes its situation, close to axswamp which embalms the corpses in the churchyard, and tells us why, in 1801, it had no pastor.

      Before the death of Frances, the Earnshaws had been Tegular churchgoers and the curate, Shielders, had educated their children. Soon after her death, the curate stopped calling, and in Chapter XI the child Hareton tells Nelly "I was told the curate should have his teeth dashed down his throat, if he stepped over the threshold...."The Lintons ako had attended church; but after Catherine's death, though Cathy went to the "chapel" occasionally, Edgar ceased to attend, for his grief transformed him "into a complete hermit" (XVII). He only visited the churchyard in order to lie on the green mound of Catherine's grave, on every anniversary of her death.

      Thus the church itself diminishes in importance until, on his last visit, Lockwood finds it falling into decay. For Catherine, to the surprise of the villagers, had chosen to be buried, not in the chapel, under the carved monuments of the Lintons, but "on a green slope in the comer of the Kirkyard where the wall is so low that heath and bilberry plants have climbed over it from the moor; and the peat-mold almost buries it" (XVI). So for Edgar and Heathcliff, the masters of the two houses, this grave takes the place of the kirk as a center of devotion and the traditional Christianity of the parish, once common to the Lintons and the Earnshaws, is superseded.

(40) Louis Cazanujan: Romantic Element in Wuthering Heights

      It is "romantic" because of its passionate love story, its larger-than-life characters and emotions, the gloomy grandeur of its setting, with which its "Byrortic" hero. Heathcliff, is so closely identified, its mysterious "Gothic" atmosphere and its powerful and exciting narrative. It is read at school; it has been dramatized, filmed and televised repeatedly; it is - known to almost everyone in the country, whether they are "literary" or not. This wide response is owed to no careful weighing of the novel's moral or metaphysical significance, no detailed analysis of its symbolism, structure and texture, no attempt to define the precise nature of its relationship with English and European Romanticism—which is a different thing indeed from the popular conception of what is "romantic".

      Yet such scrupulous investigation by scholars and critics achieved something. It may hot have solved the riddle of Wuthering Heights, which has meant so many things to so many people, but it has helped to demonstrate that the mind and imagination which produced this book were tough, profound and original, and far from encouraging self-indulgent fantasy, were engaged in an attempt to make a daring, individual and disciplined statement about the nature of human experience.

(41) Walter Pater: The Spirit of Romanticism

      As the term, classical, has been used in a too absolute, and therefore in a misleading sense, so the term, romantic, has been used much too vaguely, in various accidental senses. The sense in which Scott is called a romantic writer is chiefly this that, in opposition to the literary tradition of the last century, he loved strange adventure, and sought it in the Middle Ages. Much later, in a Yorkshire village, the spirit of romanticism bore a more really characteristic fruit in the work of a young girl, Emily Bronte, the romance of Wuthering Heights; the figures of Hareton Earnshaw, of Catherine Linton, and of Heathcliff—tearing open Catherine's grave, removing one side of her coffin, that he may really lie beside her in death — figures so passionate, yet woven on a background of delicately beautiful, moorland scenery, being typical examples of that spirit. In Germany, again, that spirit is shown less in Tieck, its professional representative, than in Meinhold, the author of Sidonia the Sorceress and the Amber-Witch.

(42) Arnold Kettle: The Realistic Element in Wuthering Heights

      Wuthering Heights' like all the greatest works of art, is at once concrete and yet general, local and yet universal ... Wuthering Heights is about England in 1847. The people it reveals live not in a never-never land but in Yorkshire. Heathcliff was born not in the pages of Byron; but in a Liverpool slum. The language of Nelly, Joseph and Hareton is the language of Yorkshire people. The story of Wuthering Heights is concerned not with love in the abstract but with the passions of living people, with property ownership, the attraction of social comforts, the arrangement of marriages, the importance of education, the validity of religion, the relations of rich and poor.

      Wuthering Heights is an expression in the imaginative terms of art, of the stresses and tensions and conflicts, personal and spiritual, of nineteenth-century capitalist society. It is a novel without idealism, without false comforts, without any implication that power over their destinies rests outside the struggles and actions of human beings themselves. Its powerful evocation of nature, of moorland and storm, of the stars and the seasons is an essential part of its revelation of the very movement of life itself. The men and women of Wuthering Heights are not the prisoners of nature, they live in the world and strive to change it, sometimes successfully, always painfully, with almost infinite difficulty and error.

(43) Elizabeth Drew: Animal Imagery in Wuthering Heights

      In the writing, men are often likened to animals—wolves, mad dogs, reptiles—but the brutalities in Wuthering Heights are not only physical, like those of beasts; all the common standards of kindness and justice are outraged. Nelly owns that young Hindley's treatment of Heathcliff "was enough to make a fiend of a saint": Cathy forces Isabella to listen while she tells Heathcliff gibingly of the poor girl's infatuation for him; she insults her loving, gentle husband in Heathcliff's presence, calling his control cowardice, and then tries to win his sympathy by staging a fit of hysterics, "dashing her head against the arm of the sofa and grinding her teeth, so that you might fancy she would crash them to splinters." Edgar himself abandons his sister to her fate and refuses her any help.

(44) David Cecil: The Pre-Moral Outlook of Emily Bronte

      Wuthering Heights - the very name is enough to set the imagination vibrating...Alone of Victorian novel Wuthering Heights is undimmed, even partially, by the dust of time....We take for granted that an author writing a novel in the Victorian age is trying to write an orthodox Victorian novel, arid we estimate it accordingly. Now by any such criterion, Emily Bronte is a very imperfect novelist indeed. If Wuthering Heights was meant to be the same sort of novel as Vanity Fair or David Copperfield, it is a lamentable failure.

      But it was never meant to be anything of the kind.....her achievement is of an intrinsically different kind from that of any of her contemporaries. Like that of Dickens, indeed, it is especially distinguished by the power of its imagination. And like his, hers is an English imagination..... The imagination that informs it is characteristically English, violent, un-self-conscious, spiritual: But though Emily Bronte is characteristic of England, she is not characteristic of Victorian England. She stands outside the main current of nineteenth-century fiction as markedly as Blake stands outside the main current of eighteenth-century poetry. Like Blake, Emily Bronte is concerned solely with those primary aspects of life which are unaffected by time and place.

      Emily Bronte's vision of life does away with the ordinary antithesis between good and evil. To call some aspects of life good and some evil is to accept some experiences and to reject others. But it is an essential trait of Emily Bronte's attitude that it accepts all experiences.... Emily Bronte's outlook is not immoral, but it is pre-moral. It concerns itself not with moral standards, but with those conditioning forces of life on which the naive erections of the human mind that we call moral standards are built up.

(45) Elizabeth Drew: The Three Levels in Wuthering Heights

      It is not really true to say that the chief characters exist in virtue of their attitude to the universe and the huge cosmic landscape. It would hardly be possible to create a novel in those terms. True, we are never far from the natural world. Although Emily, unlike Charlotte in Jane Eyre, gives no long descriptive accounts of the moors, yet they are fused into the life and language of the characters on every page; their winds, skies and streams, their rock-ribbed surface and rolling stretches of heather and bluebells, their sunlight and moonlight, their stillness and storms, their many birds, their "suffocating snow", and summer days with "the whole world awake and wild with joy". Yet though one dimension of the book is cosmic unwept, what gives it what Virginia Woolf calls its "huge stature" among novel, is that at the same time, like all the other novels, it deals directly with human relationships, which differ intrinsically from natural forces in that they are inevitably bound up with emotional and moral problems and conflicts and choices. The novel moves indeed on three levels, all inter-fused; the realistic, the emotional and moral, and the world of pure spirit. We shift from one to another within a few lines. We can start with Nelly in the farm kitchen, singing the baby Hareton to sleep with a folk song, go on to Catherine confiding to her intention to marry Edgar Linton because he is young and rich and handsome, and then listen to her crying out her indissoluble bond to Heathcliff:

"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 stranger: I should not seem part of it....Nelly, I am Heathcliff !"

(46) The Galaxy (1873): Faults in Wuthering Heights

      It is more than twenty years since the first edition of Emily Bronte’s works appeared and still, her poems, whose vigorous simplicity, passion, and concentration are any poems written by a woman in this century, are a sealed book to the American public; and even in England, she is known principally, as in America she is known only, through the medium of Wuthering Heights. This is unfortunate because, through every page of that work bears the stamp of true genius, its somber and lurid coloring, and the gloomy and repellent qualities of its leading characters, have procured for it so decided a prejudice that it has been only once or twice candidly criticized and fairly judged .... Indeed, its faults are too prominent to admit of either glozing or concealment. No amount of sophistry would persuade anyone that Heathcliff was a noble nature, warped by adverse circumstances or that the elder Catherine was anything but fierce, faithless and foolish; or that such a swift succession of acts of coarse cruelty was probable or even possible in any Yorkshire manor-house, however isolated; or, finally, that an upper servant could ever have adorned a narrative with passages so eloquent and so elegant as those with which Nelly Dean not infrequently adorns hers. But if Wuthering Heights admits in some respects neither of defense nor encomium, still less does it deserve the wholesale condemnation and unqualified abuse which have been heaped upon it. Though a brutal, it is not a sensual book; though coarse, it is not vulgar; though bad, it is not indecent. The passion of Heathcliff for Catherine is still a passion of soul for soul; and full of savage ferocity as the whole story is, it contains some exquisite pictures of childlike simplicity and innocence.

(47) Mrs.Humphry Ward: The Shortcomings of the Novel

      To this let us add a certain awkwardness and confusion of structure; a strain of ruthless exaggeration in the character of Heathcliff, and some absurdities and contradictions in the character of Nelly Dean. The latter criticism indeed is bound up with the first. Nelly Dean is presented as the faithful and affectionate nurse, the only good angel both of the elder and the younger Catherine. But Nelly-Dean does the most treacherous, cruel, and indefensible things, simply that the story may move. She becomes the go-between for Catherine and Heathcliff; she knowingly allows her charge Catherine, on the eve of her confinement, to fast in solitude and delirium for three days and nights without saying a word to Edgar Linton, Catherine's affectionate husband and her master who was in the house all the time. It is her breach of trust which brings about Catherine's dying scene with Heathcliff, just as it is her disobedience and unfaithfulness which really betray Catherine's child into the hands of her enemies. Without these lapses and indiscretions indeed the story could not maintain itself; but the clumsiness or carelessness of them is hardly to be denied. In the case of Heathcliff, the blemish lies rather in a certain deliberate and passionate defiance of the reader's sense of humanity and possibility; partly also in the innocence of the writer who, in a world of sex and passion, has invented a situation charged with the full forces of both, without any true realization of what she has done. Heathcliff's murderous language to Catherine about the husband whom she loves with an affection only second to that which she cherishes for this hateful self; his sordid and incredible courtship of Isabella under Catherine's eyes; the long horror of his pursuit and capture of the younger Catherine, his dead love's child; the total incompatibility between his passion for the mother and his mean ruffianism towards the daughter; the mingling in him of high passion with the vilest arts of the sharper and the thief:— these things o'er leap themselves, so that again and again the sense of tragedy is lost in mere violence and excess, and what might have been a man becomes a monster. There are speeches and actions of Catherine's moreover, contained in these central pages which have no relation to any life of men and women that the true world knows. It may be said, indeed, that the writer's very ignorance of certain facts and relations of life, combined with the force of imaginative passion which she throws into her conceptions, produces a special poetic effect—a strange and bodiless tragedy — unique in literature. And there is much truth in this; but not enough to vindicate these scenes of the book from radical weakness and falsity, nor to preserve in the reader that illusion, that inner consent, which is the final test of all imaginative effort.

(48) A. C. Swinburne: Charge of Savagery and Brutality

      A graver and perhaps a somewhat more plausible charge is brought against the author of Wuthering Heights by those who find here and there in her book the savage note or the sickly symptom of a morbid ferocity. Twice or thrice especially the details of deliberate or passionate brutality in Heathcliff's treatment of his victims make the reader feel for a moment as though he were reading a police report or even a novel by some French "naturalist" of the latest and brutal order. But the pervading atmosphere of the book is so high and healthy that the effect even of those "vivid and fearful scenes" which impaired the best of Charlotte Bronte is almost at once neutralized—we may hardly say softened, but sweetened, dispersed and transfigured—by the general impression — noble purity and passionate straightforwardness, which remove it at once forever from any such ugly possibility of association or comparison. The whole work is not more incomparable in the effect of its atmosphere or landscape than in the peculiar note of its wild and bitter pathos, but most of all it is unique in the special and distinctive character of its passion. The love which devours life itself, which devastates the present and desolates the future with unquenchable and raging fire, has nothing less pure in it than flame or sunlight. And this passionate and ardent chastity is utterly and unmistakably spontaneous and unconscious. Not till the story is ended, not till the effect of it has been thoroughly absorbed and digested, does the reader even perceive the simple and natural absence of any grosser element, any hint or suggestion of a baser alloy in the ingredients of its human emotion than in the splendor of lightning or the roll of a gathered wave. Then, as on issuing sometimes from the tumult of charging waters, he finds with something of wonder how absolutely pure and sweet was the element of living storm with which his own nature has been for a while made one; not a grain in it of soiling sand, not a waif or clogging weed. As was the author's life, so is her book in all things; troubled and taintless, with little of rest in it, and nothing of reproach, it may be true that not many will ever take it to their hearts; it is certain that those who do like it will like nothing very much better in the whole world of poetry or prose.

(49) G. W. Peck: Charge of Coarseness

      If we did not know that this book has been read by thousands of young ladies in the country, we should esteem it our first duty to caution them against it simply on account of the coarseness of the style There is a certain decorum in language as well as in manner or modes. We may express the deepest thoughts, the most ardent passions, the strongest emotions, without in the least offending propriety. We are not called upon to affect surliness or bluntness of speech; and where a whole book is in this style, whatever may be its merits, this is a simple obvious defect, the first to impress itself upon the reader, and by no means the least serious. The book is original; it is powerful; full of suggestiveness. But still, it is coarse .... Setting aside the profanity, which if a writer introduces into a book, he offends against both politeness and good morals, there is such a general roughness and savageness in the soliloquies and dialogues here given as never should be found in a work of art. The whole tone of the style of the book smacks of lowness. It would indicate that the writer was not accustomed to the society of gentlemen, and was not afraid, indeed, earlier gloried, ill showing it....A person may be unmannered from want of delicacy of perception, or cultivation, or ill-mannered intentionally. The author of Wuthering Heights is both. His rudeness is chiefly real but partly assumed...he is rude, because he prefers to be is evident that (he) has suffered not disappointment in love, but some great mortification of pride. Possibly his position in society has given him manners that have prevented him from associating with those among whom he feels he has intellect enough to be classed and he is thus in reality the misanthropist he claims to be. Very likely he may be a young person who has spent his life, until within a few years, in some isolated town in the North of England. It is only by some such supposition that his peculiarities of style and thought can be accounted for.....The influence which this book cannot but have upon manners, must be bad. For the coarseness extends further than the mere style; it extends all through.

(50) V. S. Pritchett: An Appreciation of Wuthering Heights

      Wuthering Heights is unique among English novels. Nothing like it exists before or after its time. Though echoes from the plain narrative of Defoe, the domestic clatter of Scott, the morbid preoccupation of Richardson's Clarissa may be thought to be heard faintly in it, to those who read widely these suggests no continuation of the English tradition. That tradition is hard-headed, moralistic and sociable, vegetating in good sense and a general experience of the world. Even later novelists like Hardy, Meredith, and D. H. Lawrence who, in their differing ways, had something of Emily Bronte's feeling for the unity of man and nature, lack the wildness of her spirit. They argue, they illustrate, they preach. In her, the poetic and visionary imagination overpowers all else; she is alone in being without psychological dismay. For her, the world is a ferocious hunting ground and she delights in its beauty, in that respect she sees no difference between mountain, animal, or man. She does not seek out the quotidian consolations of everyday life; but, accepting them, as we all must, she thinks of them as perfunctory, with the scorn of the saint for the flesh. It is not surprising that Wuthering Heights shocked the few people who read it when it was published in 1847, the year before her death. The book does, or should shock ourselves. It was utterly alien to the early Victorian temper; it was wicked without the relief of license. These Victorians had agreed to relegate horror, hatred, violence, cruelty, and the supernatural to the morbid regions of the Gothic novel; these states found no place in their conception of love or in their mild domestic Christianity. They saw that Emily Bronte's nature was pagan and without mercy. In her famous adoring preface to Wuthering Heights, her sister Charlotte herself was troubled in conscience by the imagination of the sister whose genius she knew to be greater than her own, and she was startled by the violence and emphasis of the book. Above all she was alarmed by Heathcliff who appears as a figure of pure evil, at a time when the English mind had certainly decided to plump for right and wrong instead of good and evil. Charlotte Bronte attributed the darkness of her sister's view to her immaturity and ignorance of the world. Certainly, Emily Bronte knew the moorland people and their characters thoroughly well, for no one has written upon them so intimately; but (Charlotte thought) Emily was aloof by nature, rarely saw anything of her neighbors except when she went out once a week to church, and had really gathered all her information from village hearsay. Such gossip is commonly malicious, over-dramatic, and has unnatural vividness; it is simplified and needs to be toned down by a wider, kinder, and more truthful experience of the lives in question. The defense is generous; we need not doubt that upon a basis so restricted there reposed the mature temperaments of the mystic and the poet. Simplifications, abstractions, inhuman her people are not. They are made real, complex, dramatic and rich by her power of meditation. Her spirit is somber and lonely but it knows and conveys an energy, an ecstasy, and a calm the congenial cannot give us and which recognizes the frightening human right to loneliness.

(51) G. W. Peck: The Merits of Wuthering Heights

      Yet with all this faultiness Wuthering Heights is undoubtedly a work of many singular merits. In the first place, it is not a novel which deals with the shows of society, the surfaces and conventionalities of lifts the veil and shows boldly the dark side of our depraved nature....the rapid hold it has taken of the public shows how much truth there is hidden under its coarse extravagance.

      Next to the merit of this novel as a work of thought and subtle insight, is its great power as a work of the imagination. In this respect, it must take rank very high, if not among the highest. It is not flowingly written: the author can hardly be an easy writer. Yet it has the power, with all his faults of style, of sometimes flashing a picture upon the eye, and the feeling with it, in a few sentences. The snow-storm which occurs in the second and third chapters of the first volume, is an example.....The dialogue is also singularly effective and dramatic. The principal characters stand before us as definite as so many individuals....That (the book) is original all who have read it need not be told.....And this is the reason for its popularity. It comes upon a sated public as a new sensation. Nothing like it has ever been written before. It is to be hoped that in respect of its faults, for the sake of good manners, nothing will be hereafter. Let it stand by itself, a coarse, original, powerful book.

(52) Westminister Review (1898): A Comparison between Emily Bronte and Shakespeare

      Emily Bronte's rank as a poet is to be measured, not by her verse, but by her single romance. The quantity as well as the quality of work must needs be taken into account in estimating the genius of a writer.....But if we look only to the quality of the imagination displayed in Wuthering Heights—its power, its intensity, its absolute originality—it is scarcely too much to say of Emily that she might have been Shakespeare's younger sister. To The many, of course, this will seem merely fantastic; but the few who have realty learned to appreciate Wuthering Heights will see no exaggeration in the title. Putting aside the clumsiness of the framework — the only mark of the prentice-hand in the whole book—what is there compared to this romance except the greater tragedies of Shakespeare? The single peasant in the story, Joseph, is of the kin of Shakespeare's clowns, and yet is quite distinct from them. Heathcliff .... fascinates the imagination, and in some scenes almost paralyzes us with horror, and yet that subtle human touch is added which wrings from us pity and almost respect. He reminds us of Shylock and Iago by the sense of wonder he awakens in us at the power that could create such a being. Catherine Earnshaw, again, and Catherine Linton—are not these by their piquancy and winsomeness almost worthy of a place in Shakespeare's gallery of fair women? The whole story has something of the pathos of King Lear and much of the tragic force of Macbeth, and yet both characters and story are, perhaps, as absolutely original as any that can be named in English literature. It is not, of course, meant that Emily Bronte achieved anything comparable to Shakespeare's greatest work, but the material out of which the two wrought their work, the protoplasm of their creations, so to speak, was the same.

(53) Frank Goodridge: A Comparison between Hardy and Emily Bronte

      In considering the question of the "otherness" of the world of nature to human life, it is useful to read Hardy's The Return of the Native with Wuthering Heights. The two books are alike in having an extremely localized setting—remote houses squatting in the great spaces of a wild heathland country but very different in the use they make of it. There could scarcely be a greater contrast than that between Bronte's opening chapters and Hardy's. Hardy leads us slowly, meditatively, through brooding description and the building up of "atmosphere" into the scene of his story. Having first established the dark, primeval quality of the heath; he places his human figures, one by one, in the landscape. In Wuthering Heights people seldom approach slowly, from a distance they are upon us at once, starting up from the landscape, larger than life. In Bronte, as in Wordsworth, nature plays a part in deciding human destinies, but it never reduces human affairs to insignificance. The loves and sorrows of Clym, Eustacia, Wildeve and Thomasin are puny in comparison with those of Heathcliff and Catherine. Even Isabella experiences a hatred and fear so powerful that, when she flees from the Heights in her thin dress she does not notice the sleet, but leaps and bounds for five miles with an energy that seems superhuman.

(54) Virginia Woolf: Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights — A Comparison.

      Wuthering Heights is a more difficult book to understand than Jane Eyre, because Emily was a greater poet than Charlotte. When Charlotte wrote she said with eloquence and splendour and passion "I love," "I hate," "I suffer." Her experience, though more intense, is on a level with our own. But there is no "I" in Wuthering Heights. There are no governesses. There are no employers. There is love, but it is not the love of men and women. Emily was inspired by some more general conception. The impulse which urged her to create was not her own suffering or her own injuries. She looked out upon a world cleft into gigantic disorder and felt within her the power to unite it in a book. That gigantic ambition is to be felt throughout the novel—a struggle, half-thwarted but of superb conviction, to say something through the mouths of her characters which is not merely "I love" or "I hate," but "we, the whole human race" and "you, the eternal powers..." the sentence remains unfinished. It is not strange that it should be so; rather it is astonishing that she can make us feel what she had it in her to say at all. It surges up in the half-articulate words of Catherine Earnshaw, "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 part of it." It breaks out again in the presence of the dead. "I see a repose that neither earth nor hell can break, and I feel an assurance of the endless and shadowless here after — the eternity they have entered — where life is boundless in its duration, and love in its sympathy and joy in its fullness." It is this suggestion of power underlying the apparitions of human nature, and lifting them up into the presence of greatness that gives the book its huge stature among other novel. But it was not enough for Emily Bronte to write a few lyrics, to utter a cry, to express a creed. In her poems, she did this once and for all, and her poems will perhaps outlast her novel. But she was novelist as well as poet. She must take upon herself a more laborious and a more ungrateful task. She must face the fact of other existences, grapple with the mechanism of external things, build up, in recognizable shape, farms and houses and report the speeches of men and women who existed independently of herself. And so we reach these summits of emotions not by rant or rhapsody but by hearing a girl sing old songs to herself as she rocks in the branches of a tree; by watching the moor sheep crop the turf; by listening to the soft wind breathing through the grass. The life at the farm with all its absurdities and its improbability is laid open to us. We are given every opportunity of comparing Wuthering Heights with a real farm and Heathcliff with a real man. How, we are allowed to ask, can there be truth or insight or the finer shades of emotion in men and women who so little resemble what we have seen ourselves? But even as we ask it we see in Heathcliff the brother that a sister of genius might have seen, he is impossible we say, but nevertheless, no boy in literature has so vivid an existence as his. So it is with the two Catherines; never could women feel as they do or act in their manner, we say. All the same, they are the most lovable women in English fiction. It is as if she could tear up all that we know human beings by, and fill these unrecognizable transparencies with such a gust of life that they transcend reality. Hers, then, is the rarest of all powers. She could free life from its dependence on facts; with a few touches indicate the spirit of a face so that it needs no body; by speaking of the moor make the wind blow and the thunder roar.

(55) Elizabeth Drew: Charlotte Bronte's View of Emily as a Novelist

      The strangest and most powerful of these individual worlds is that of Wuthering Heights. Emily Bronte herself remains a shadowy, enigmatic figure, who lived a life of almost complete seclusion in a Yorkshire parsonage, wrote a few poems of mystical ecstasy or impassioned romantic loneliness, and died at the age of twenty-nine, a year after the publication of her novel. Of what went to the making of the story we know next to nothing. We know that she and her sisters, as children, invented imaginary kingdoms of romance, and kept chronicles of these realms of fantasy even when they were adults; we know that they read "mad Methodist magazines," full of dreams and frenzied fanaticism; we know that they had a brother who drank himself to death. But that is about all. The critics of the first edition, while recognizing the vigor of the book, found it "revolting" and "unquestionably and irredeemably monstrous." Her sister Charlotte, who loved Emily deeply, but quite failed to understand her, wrote an introduction to the second edition, in which she tried to interpret Emily's temperament and the quality of her genius. "Stronger than a man, simpler than a child, her nature stood alone....Her will was not very flexible; her spirit altogether unbending"; and she notes "a certain harshness in her powerful and peculiar character". Charlotte recognizes the "strange and somber power" of the book, but feels that she must apologize for its immaturity and immorality. She points out that the creative mind "strangely wills and works for itself', producing creatures like Heathcliff, Earnshaw or Catherine, but that Emily, "having formed these beings did not know what she had done," and that only time and experience could have taught her better.

(56) Miriam Allot: Contemporary and Modern Criticism on Emily Bronte

      "Wuthering Heights is now generally regarded to be one of the greatest English novels", writes one of Emily Bronte's modern readers in his centennial attempt to map the growth of her literary reputation since her death in 1848, "but it has gained this recognition only after a battle with the critics and the general public which has lasted a larger part of the hundred years since its publication." Certainly, the critical attention which Emily Bronte's single novel receives today contrasts dramatically in quantity and kind with the reception accorded to it by its first reviewers. Nowadays, all aspects of its meaning and structure are minutely explored by critics who take the importance of their subject for granted. Their studies regularly fill the pages of literary periodicals and occupy a large amount of space in books about the Brontes. These studies represent a habitual way of looking at the book which is remote from the immediacy with which for more than fifty years so many ordinary readers have responded to its romantic appeal.

(57) Igna-Stina Ewbank: Contemporary Criticism of Wuthering Heights as a Coarse Book

      "Books, coarse even for men, coarse in language and coarse in conception, the coarseness apparently of violent and cultivated men." Thus—in a vein remarkable only for the monotony of its vocabulary, but otherwise typical of much early criticism of the Brontes — the reviewer in The Leader greeted the new edition of Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey (1850) and the "Biographical Notice" by Charlotte Bronte which first set before the public the true story behind the Bell pseudonyms. Three years earlier, in December 1847, there had appeared from the publishing house of T. C. Newby joined together to fill the traditional three volumes, two novels by Ellis and Acton Bell. Neither Wuthering Heights nor Agnes Grey made on their appearance anything like the stir created by Jane Eyre two attention, and many reviewers at first believed that they had before them two early works of Currer Bell—a belief that Newby, with an eye to the rising sales-figures of Jane Eyre, was only too anxious to encourage. Many also realized that the new volumes contained two works which were very different from each other, and The New Monthly Magazine went so far to suggest that they were exercises of Currer Bell's:

      "Ellis Bell and Acton Bell appear in the height of two names borrowed to represent two totally different styles of composition and two utterly opposed modes of treatment of the novel, rather than to indicate two real personages".

      When it came to a comparison of these two "modes of treatment of the novel", Agnes Grey was a convenient stick to beat Wuthering Heights with Acton Bell's novel had at least the obvious merit of didacticism and could be safely ranged into a familiar category of domestic fiction. Wuthering Heights was freak, defying every attempt at classification and offending most contemporary canons of taste: "Canons of art, sound and imperative, true tastes and natural instruments.....unite in pronouncing it unquestionably monstrous".

(58) Igna-Stina Ewbank: Contemporary and Modern Criticism on Art and Morality in Wuthering Heights

      Charlotte's defense could also be paraphrased as "imagination at the expense of morality"; and thus, too, it would, willy-nilly, outline the direction of later Wuthering Heights criticism. As art became a more important criterion than morality, so the spokesman for the passionate and poetical qualities of the novel became more eloquent. Where Mrs. Oliphant was shocked by the 'extraordinary feverishness' in the novel, Pater praised it as the 'really characteristic fruit' of the spirit of Romanticism. Swinburne was still worried by those parts which he thought like "a police report or even a novel by a French 'naturalist' of the latest and most brutal order", but to him all its "faults" were compensated for by its poetry, and he saw the novel on a whole as a dramatic poem, to be compared with Lear and The Duchess of Malfi. Serious modern criticism by which I rule out the rhapsodic type of account which Wuthering Heights, above all the other Bronte novels, seems to invite—has varied less than might have been expected from this pattern. It is true that the twentieth-century interest in the art of the novel generally has been reflected in excellent and sympathetic studies of features of Emily Bronte's art (though popular editions of Wuthering Heights still carry Prefaces apologizing for its "faults of construction" and "defects in realism"). But the view of this novel as a great achievement of the Romantic imagination, its contents amoral or "premoral" (Lord David Cecil) in nature, has prevailed. G.D. Klingopulos, writing on Wuthering Heights in a series of Scrutiny articles on "The Novel as Dramatic Poem" concludes that "in the world of Wuthering Heights good and bad are not applicable terms", and in much the same way Lord David Cecil feels about Emily Bronte that "the conflict between right and wrong which is the distinguishing feature in the Victorian view of life does not come into her view". With few exceptions — Miriam Allot's interesting essay on "The Rejection of Heathcliff" being the most notable—the art of Withering Heights has been seen as one which does not involve moral awareness.

(59) Elizabeth Drew: Modern Criticism on Wuthering Heights

      Modern criticism has, of course; swept away Charlotte's attitude of apology and moral disapproval; and has rated Emily's genius far above that of her sister. But her book remains mysterious just as she herself does, in spite of all the attempts to elucidate both. Her own reserve stands impenetrable; her own voice interprets nothing. The story comes to us through two narrators—a commonplace young city spark and a country housekeeper. They report faithfully what they have seen and heard, and interpret it by their own standards, though these are clearly often inadequate; any further implications of vision and meaning beyond their insights the reader must create for himself.

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