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Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

Basics of Plasma Astrophysics
Claudio Chiuderi, Marco Velli
Progress: 58/250 pages
Ursula K. Le Guin: The Complete Orsinia: Malafrena / Stories and Songs (The Library of America)
Brian Attebery, Ursula K. Le Guin
Progress: 454/700 pages
Aurora: In Search of the Northern Lights
Melanie Windridge
Progress: 205/320 pages
A Student's Guide to Lagrangians and Hamiltonians
Patrick Hamill
Progress: 7/180 pages
Complete Poems, 1904-1962
E.E. Cummings
Progress: 164/1102 pages
The Complete Plays and Poems
E.D. Pendry, J.C. Maxwell, Christopher Marlowe
She Stoops to Conquer and Other Comedies (Oxford World's Classics)
Henry Fielding, David Garrick, Oliver Goldsmith
Progress: 159/448 pages
Gravitation (Physics Series)
Kip Thorne;Kip S. Thorne;Charles W. Misner;John Archibald Wheeler;John Wheeler
Progress: 48/1215 pages
I Am a Cat
Graeme Wilson, Aiko Ito, Sōseki Natsume
Progress: 410/638 pages
The Complete Novels of Jane Austen
Jane Austen
Progress: 651/1220 pages

Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte

Wuthering Heights - Patsy Stoneman, Ian Jack, Emily Brontë

Until 3/4 of the way through I was highly tempted to dismiss this book with a two word review: "Histrionic nonsense." At about that point, however, I was struck by a resemblance to a superficially altogether different genre of literature - no, not the oft noted influence of the wildly popular only a few decades previously, Gothick novel - but a genre I have never heard mentioned in relation to Emily Bronte: Greek Tragedy.


The overwrought, intense, oppressive insanity of almost all the principal characters, the death of one of them at the half-way point, the feeling that everything is going according to the demented will of some external force out to amuse itself, the violently destructive internal relations of a family, all speak to me of the tone and temper of those plays about people such as Oedipus, Electra and Cassandra. To me this explains the histrionics, cruelty, structure and even the (possibly) supernatural/Gothic elements of the book. And yet I suspect the resemblance is by accident, not design; probably Emily just thought bat-shit crazy, obsessive, cruel, selfish yet self-destructive, vengeful fiends were two-a-penny in Yorkshire. Or that adopting street orphans from Liverpool was a bad idea.