Wednesday, September 14, 2016

How anyone could ever imagine unquiet slumbers....

.....For the sleepers in that quiet earth.

The final passage in the greatest novel ever written, which I have just finished reading for the - well, knows how many times! 

I remember studying Wuthering Heights in my English lit A level class. At that point I had loved the Laurence Olivier film version, being a devotee of classic English films from the 1930s onwards and I was horrified to discover on watching in a classroom full of modern gals and one guy how ridiculously overacted it was. I suspect I had already read the book as in my teens I also enjoyed classic literature but until we dissected it in class I had quite forgotten the relationship between the children of Heathcliff and Cathy. Which as I read it now in my 30s seems the more interesting and romantic part. Most films don't even mention this part of the story, feeling the love between Cathy and Heathcliff is the more dramatic love and the other part is just closure, or worse, filler. Like a teenage pop song, it suggests love that hurts is the most truthful form of love but in my mind that's just dumb. The way Cathy treats both Heathcliff and Linton is disgraceful, even if she felt she had good reason for doing so. I never doubt that she loved them both, just how much compared to her own self love. Heathcliff is no better; he has been demolished and seeks only to do the same, even to his own detriment. 

The Tom Hardy television dramatisation is the most authentic to date I think, as Emily Bronte didn't write a love story just about Cathy and Heathcliff, she wrote the full circle of love, revenge, love and redemption. She wrote about warring families and rivals and loneliness that can only come from living in those wind blasted moors. Who doesn't want to experience passion and love that exists beyond the grave? But everyone knows deep down, that's not true love. So when the book concludes, finally with a couple who know that life shouldn't be full of anger and resentment, who have no desire to live in their parents' destructive shadows and it is heart warming. Indeed it is a beautiful thing and a Wuthering Heights is a beautiful, smart and timeless novel. Like the author herself. 

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