I can't remember when I last read Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, but it must have been a long time, because I am finding it as fresh and interesting as if it were the first time. There is so much I could say about it here, but I'll be saving it for the essay I'm going to write. Yes, you read correctly - I have decided to tackle a third year academic essay 18 years after I last studied Victorian literature at university.
Let's just say that for what is arguably the greatest romance ever written in the English language, the lovers are two of the most unlikeable heroes and heroines you are likely to meet, and the love story unconventional to say the least. I remember thinking that the first time I read it, but now my reaction is a bit more complex.
For example, everything we know about Heathcliff and Cathy is not from their point of view, but through the eyes of Nelly Dean, the nurse, and she brings all her morals and standards and prejudices to her view of them. I feel as though I understand them so much better now that an older me is taking the narrative with a grain of salt and reading between the lines.
Cathy is certainly spoiled, and Heathcliff a bit of a thug, but that doesn't stop me from feeling for them when they are kept apart and their love is unrequited, save for some kisses and tears just before Cathy's demise.
I love reading it at the same time as gong to lectures, which are opening my eyes to so many aspects of the novel as I read it. I had always imagined, even after I read it, that WH was so evocative in its descriptions of the wild Yorkshire moors; in the edition I'm reading, it even says as much on the back cover. But the moors are never described directly; all the action takes place either at Wuthering Heights or Thrushcross Grange. Instead, the moors are really brought to life in the descriptions of Heathcliff, when he is compared to the natural landscape. Heathcliff is the moors.
I could go on but I think I'll save it. I am thoroughly excited by the prospect of writing an essay and putting into it everything that I didn't when I was younger and more distracted. I am also excited by how re-immersing myself in the world of the Victorian novel has reinvigorated my own novel and taken it in a new direction, which proves once again that you can't write a novel without reading and appreciating those who have gone before.