November 1, 2006

ummmm...

fa-so-la-la

During my recent reading of Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, I found the following two quotes, one from the Introduction written by Charlotte Bronte, the other by the Whoever-It-Was that Barnes & Noble has write the Afterwords for their lovely little red classics.


"Heathcliff, indeed, stands unredeemed; never once swerving in his arrow-straight course to perdition, from the time when 'the little black-haired, swarthy thing...' was first unrolled out of the bundle and set on its feet in the farmhouse kitchen, to the hour when Nelly Dean found the grim, stalwart corpse... with wide-gazing eyes that seemed 'to sneer at her attempt to close them, and parted lips and sharp white teeth that sneered too."

"He is no devil, just a man defeated in his love for the one thing he actually desires. His subsequent greed and inhuman treatment of others, while unforgivable, are at least understandable as we learn of how poorly he was treated."


Ok, so... in 1850, Heathcliff is Just Plain Bad. But in 2004, he's a victim of his environment.

Uh huh. Interesting.

9 comments:

Eugene said...

Two words: Mmm hmm...

rachel tsunami said...

the thing that kills me is that the Whoever-It-Was can't even see how stupid that comment is. For crying out loud, Heathcliff is a fictional character who was created by a woman who had a literary intent when she created him. Are her words not valid proof of her intention?!!

sheeeesh!

blestwithsons said...

That book did NOTHING for me. I don't even see the romance in it. T'was just madness and darkness and blech all over the place.

Owl of the Desert said...

A testament to the times we are living in...no self-blame. "It was somebody else." Now where have we heard that before...oh yes, Back in the garden.

Table of Stone said...

who writes those things? erk!

TheHeadGirl said...

HA! I've been saying that Modern Readers totally misinterpret Heathcliff for years and this quote is more ammo for my arsenal. ;-)

G.L.H. said...

Wow. We know this is how the culture is nowadays, but to see the quotes side by side is very starkly telling. Thank you!

EMNI said...

Philosophical Alsheimers?

Existentialism strikes again: Meaning is relative meaning. It exists not in the author's intent but in readers' perceptions based on finding one's self thru self-defined self-examinaitons. Therefore, Heathcliff does not exist as the author created but as readers perceive. If you don't like the Heathcliff on this years B & N fly leaf stick around. You'll find a new and different Heathcliff in the next addition, and the next....and the next.... and the next.... Philosphical Alsheimerds: Everything is new everytime we think......Forgive me, I just had a new thought I like better than this one. Where was I? It doesn't matter. It's not what I am thinking now. I think. I'll get back to you.......

Dani said...

I love Wuthering Heights, in fact almost more than P&P. I agree that if people are never shown love they don't do a good job of showing it back, but Heathcliff really is just bad.