Higher education

I have just finished Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. This book is so contrary to the type of thing I normally read, that I find my enjoyment of the story quite difficult to believe. The archaic language and dark melodrama are so over-the-top, that it reminds me of a Blackadder script. And yet, despite the superficial hilarity of it all, the text is compelling and insidiously draws the reader in. It is predictable in the sense that you know from the outset it’s going to conclude badly and consequently, it takes on the aspect of true Tragedy. However, the route to the weird and sticky end is anything but obvious, so morbid fascination won’t allow you to let go.

I happened across this gem while trolling my Mother’s bookcase. I was trying to track down a quote and mistakenly thought it was one of the numerous Shakespeares that infest her collection. My first thought was, “Isn’t this one supposed to be utterly dreadful? Let’s see just how bad it is. Chapter one…” Two hours later, my mother asked me whether I had found what I was looking for. “Huh?”, was my whispered response as I returned from the bleak, windswept moors with a bump and remembered to close my mouth.

Sometimes it is an absolute joy to be a pessimist. When you have low expectations and these are proven completely and spectacularly wrong, it is a sublime experience.

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19 thoughts on “Higher education

  1. OK, this is a sign. I’m not a big fan of Wuthering Heights -but then I read it umpteen years ago when I didn’t know Barbara Cartland from Jane Austen- but I’ve been wanting to re-read Jane Eyre for a while. I’ll do both now. Thanks for the… emulation. Or something.

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  2. I just love abook that I can’t put down – I haven’f found one for a while – but I think I will definitely try this one. I sorta kinda know the story and has been a book I have wanted to read for a while now. It’s just a pity my mother doesn’t have gems like that in her bookshelf.

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  3. Sigh, Heathcliff is my ultimate hero. Hey, maybe that’s where some of my lovelife problems stems from? hehe. Nice song by Kate Bush as well – you can listen to it with new ears now!

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  4. I recently read WH as a friend who loves it (male incidentally) bought it for me earlier this year so I had no choice. I, too, was pleasantly surprised and got a lot of pleasure out of the whole melodrama aspect, too, much to my surprise. For beautifully written words try John Banville (who apparently won the Booker recently), who I’m reading right now. I love a book where just letting the sentences unfurl (good plot and character development a bonus) is like listening to fine music or looking at great works of art.

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  5. anne: I hope it proves to be a rewarding experience. Or something.

    banquo: I usually end up with books I can’t put down if I eat ice-cream on a hot day.

    bee: There was a show about that on TV the other day: ‘Psychos and the women who love them’.

    angel: Sounds like a laugh a minute. I can’t wait 🙂

    andrea: Not sure I’m ready for prize-winning stuff yet, but I am tempted…

    livewire: And they say pessimists have no fun.

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  6. I loved the book, but then Kate Bush has sorta ruined it for me: every time I think of reading it, I end up humming in a high pitched manic fashion thatirritates even me. Heathcliff! its me oh catheeeeee i ve come hoooome now

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  7. I read it last year and absolutely loved it – all the tragedy and drama had me captivated. Despite the language.
    Now if it’s beautiful language you’re after, the Lord of the Rings trilogy is unmissable. And there’s a book you can really sink your teeth into – especially if, like me, you tend to read really quickly, cos it’s a really. long. book 🙂

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  8. I happened across this gem while trolling my Mother’s bookcase.

    My dear, Kaapies trawl. We do it like most of the world. If you want to troll then I suggest you rename your blog The other side of Kansas or something because you are seriously letting down all English speaking around the world.

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  9. scott: Oh great, now the song has lodged in my mind, too.

    terri: I tend to shy away from epics, because I don’t read all that quickly.

    anon: And I would seriously suggest that you invest in a dictionary.

    zube girl: Cool. We can form a club.

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