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“Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living. You said I killed you--haunt me then. Be with me always--take any form--drive me mad. Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! It is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!”~Heathcliff

Oh, the bittersweet pain of it all. I could so easily let myself be consumed by the lovely and ridiculous drama, and just cry. Cry now as I did years ago, and as I will years from now. The words are excruciating. It’s as if Emily Brontë reached inside me, ripped out my heart, threw it on the floor, and stomped on it. And I love her for it.

I’m not perfectly sure when I first read the story of Cathy and Heathcliff - and Wuthering Heights. I want to say I was in the eighth grade, home from school, sick in bed – or I was acting like I was sick. No, no, I was sick, because now I remember my mother bringing me some cold green grapes, to cool my fever. Perhaps it was the fever that caused my heart to burn for those insanely driven, torn-up, lovesick fools.

Reading Wuthering Heights was a turning point for me. It’s when I came to the realization that deep down (and I can admit it now) I crave stories about tormented, passionate, and unrequited love. Love that exists, yet can never be. Love that, with a single touch, can lift you into the clouds, or with a single word, slam you back down to the ground, causing you to ‘take to the bed’ for days, maybe weeks. Love that is without pride...

Heathcliff:
"I want to crawl to her feet, whimper to be forgiven... for loving me. For needing her more than my own life... for belonging to her more than my own soul.

Yes, I remember reading, while eating my green grapes, peeling each one with my teeth, before devouring them whole, never taking my eyes off the pages. I was taken in. I remember now. It was crazy love. Crazy!

Heathcliff:
"If he loved you with all the power of his soul for a whole lifetime he couldn't love you as much as I do in a single day."
Oh you beautiful, beautiful fools.

Back and forth they would go, stepping all over themselves, leaving, coming home. Dying, yet never living, and never letting go. Why did they do that? Why couldn't they just be happy?

Cathy:
"Go on, Heathcliff. Run away. Bring me back the world."
(Don't do it, Heathcliff! She doesn't know what she's saying - stay!)
I can’t write about the book, without mentioning the movie (and there is only one movie as far as I'm concerned). To see/hear the words on screen and 'in person' - was almost too much for me to take in. The intensity between Cathy and Heathcliff, the way they would look at each other, and say hateful things, because they loved each other so much - it was a trick of the heart. Emily would be proud to see her young lovers on the screen, frolicking in fields of heather, naming their dreams, one by one, crushing those dreams, only to return to the same Wuthering Heights in the end. For that is where their souls were born, and that is where they would die.

I became obsessed with the story, and then after seeing the 1939 film with Lawrence Oliver and Merle Oberon, I was toast - hooked for life. I could see myself in both Cathy and Heathcliff. I wanted to hang out with them, be like them - be them, yet shuddered to think it.

In the final scene when Heathcliff hears of Cathy’s grave illness, runs to her bedside only to have her die in his arms, of a broken heart – well I have to gear up for that scene, for it will be the best cry I’ll have all year. I don’t know why Wuthering Heights makes me feel so co-dependent. Only Emily Brontë can remove the spell. And she’s just not going to do it. And I’m glad.
Emily Bronte, Author

Scenes With My Favorite Quotes
Cathy: Are you enjoying yourself, Heathcliff?
Heathcliff: I've had the pleasure of watching you.
Cathy: You're very grand, Heathcliff. So handsome. Looking at you tonight I could not help but remember how things used to be.
Heathcliff: They used to be better.
Cathy: Don't pretend life hasn't improved for you.
Heathcliff: Life has ended for me.
[they pause and look off the balcony in silence]
Heathcliff: How can you stand here beside me and pretend not to remember? Not to know that my heart is breaking for you? That your face is the wonderful light burning in all this darkness?
Cathy: Heathcliff, no. I forbid it.
Heathcliff: Do you forbid what your heart is saying to you now?
Cathy: It's saying nothing.
Heathcliff: I can hear it louder than the music. Oh, Cathy. Cathy.
Cathy: I'm not the Cathy that was. Can you understand that? I'm somebody else. I'm another man's wife, and he loves me. And I love him.
Heathcliff: If he loved you with all the power of his soul for a whole lifetime he couldn't love you as much as I do in a single day. Not he. Not the world. Not even you, Cathy, can come between us.
Cathy: Heathcliff, you must go away. You must leave this house and never come back to it. I never want to see your face again or listen to your voice again as long as I live.
Heathcliff: You lie! Why do you think I'm here tonight? Because you willed it. You willed me here across the sea.
Heathcliff: My tears don't love you, Cathy. They blight and curse and damn you!
Cathy: Heathcliff, don't break my heart.
Heathcliff: Oh Cathy, I never broke your heart. You broke it! And with it you broke mine.
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Comment Preferences

  •  Fantastic diary, Leslie! (9+ / 0-)

    Thank you for this spirited discussion about Wuthering Heights.  Until I read your review, I'd always put that novel in the "supposed to like" category: I know I'm supposed to like dark chocolate, yoga, jazz, and Brad Pitt, but I just don't.

    But now I'm going to give Wuthering Heights t a second look. You've made me want to reread it! You've made me want to watch the Olivier-Oberon film again.

    Wuthering Heights is considered to be one of the finest novels in English literature. Thank you for bringing your passionate perspective to it, and to us.

    Well done!

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 05:09:36 AM PDT

  •  A hateful novel (7+ / 0-)

    The movie is a prettified version of the book.  If someone actually made a movie that was faithful to the book, I believe it would flop.  Only by turning it into a more typical, star-crossed-lovers story could it be made palatable for the movie-going audience.

    As for the book, I remember that Heathcliff was a mean, miserable, thoroughly unpleasant human being.  Of course, we are supposed to believe that Heathcliff was the way he was simply because he could not have the woman he loved; and that could he have married Cathy, he would have been a kind, happy, wonderful husband and father.

    Maybe too much life has gotten between me and the story.  A man’s character remains what it is whether he finds true love or has his heart broken.  Had Heathcliff and Cathy married, he would still have been a mean, miserable, and thoroughly unpleasant human being.

    On the other hand, maybe the novel is true to life in one respect.  A lot of women marry men thinking their love will change them.  The delusion of the transformative power of love is real enough, and I suppose that is the underlying psychology of this novel.  But I know better, and that makes the story impossible for me to enjoy.

    •  I'm with you on this one. Couldn't STAND (5+ / 0-)

      Heathcliff.  Had I met a man like him, I would have run away - very fast!  

      But Oliver really was gorgeous.  Love his Hamlet.  

      "May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house." - George Carlin

      by Most Awesome Nana on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:42:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh yes, Lawrence was dashing in the movie. I'll (6+ / 0-)

        have to check out Hamlet, with some dark chocolates by my side.

        Wuthering Heights was lovely, dark, and brooding. A runner-up in the delightfully gut-wrenching and heart-pulling category is, Splendor In he Grass. My favorite scene is when Natalie Woods throws herself at Warren 'Beauty', he rejects her advances and asks to pull herself together, then asks: "Have you no pride?"

        Natalie responds crying out:

        "My pride? My pride? I have no pride!"
        Oh the beauty of it all... See what I mean? It's a sickness, I tell you! I should not enjoy witnessing the misery of and pain of fictional lovers, as much as I do! I wonder why. It's Emily's fault.

        "In this world, hate has never yet dispelled hate. Only love can dispel hate." ~ Buddha

        by Leslie Salzillo on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 08:31:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Heathcliff was pretty hateful at times, in the (6+ / 0-)

      movie as well, especially when he married another woman just to spite Cathy, and was more than cruel in that relationship.

      Wuthering Heights is a book, many (many) love to hate. My original title for this diary was, 'Damn You, Emily Bronte' and I changed it at the last minute, thinking it was too harsh for the wonderful storyteller.

      "In this world, hate has never yet dispelled hate. Only love can dispel hate." ~ Buddha

      by Leslie Salzillo on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 08:11:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  WH Seems Repulsive to Me (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brecht, RiveroftheWest

      I should say Heathcliff does, and Cathy is a slimy sort of passive aggressive personality that the obsessive narcissist that Heathcliff is gravitates to.  Think moth to flame.

      Perhaps I was too young when I read it (15 or 16) and the impact of their, especially H.'s, sick personalities didn't fascinate me on the scale of Understanding Human Nature, but only resulted in my feelings of revulsion because any real life experience of such personalities hadn't yet occurred.

      At my present stage of mature life, I've met more than a few Heathcliff and Cathy types.  Not to my credit, I find them repugnant and avoid interaction with them.  While a sage thinker would prescribe that I re-read WH with the perspective of accumulated worldliness, I still maintain a visceral resistance to the idea and won't do it.

      There are stages of Enlightenment I'm content to live without. Self-preservation instinct?

      Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

      by Limelite on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 06:12:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  More proof that life is full of serendipity, (7+ / 0-)

    synchronicity, and coincidence. Consider this to be the Confessions of an "Anti-Snob."

    I have reached the age of 51 and somehow managed to never read anything by either of the Bronte sisters. That, in itself, is perhaps unremarkable, but I try to convince myself that I am moderately well-read and I've always secretly felt a bit lacking because of this. They're classics, after all. But I also told myself that their stuff was too "foofy" and "girly" for me. Too sentimental and overwrought and snobby. I had no evidence to support this, just the conviction that I didn't need to read that "pretentious fluff."    

    Over the past couple of months though, it seemed that every time I was channel surfing, I would see snippets from a few of the movies made from their novels. I found myself interested in the stories, despite myself. I was actually disappointed to have only these "snacks" and I wanted the rest of the meal.

    Just two days ago, tired of the frustration of only ever seeing parts of movies, I finally resolved to put something by the sisters on my summer reading list. I was leaning towards Jane Eyre, and I've just begun the pleasant meander through my small town's three bookstores to hunt for a gently-used copy.  

    Your excellent diary seems to be yet another message from the Universe that I need to drop my snobby anti-snobbery and finally read the Bronte sisters. I think I just may have finally matured enough to appreciate their writing.  (Some of us are slower than others.  LOL.)  

    Metaphors be with you.

    by koosah on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 06:44:48 AM PDT

  •  My goodness you write well! (6+ / 0-)

    Such passion.  Love the diary.  

    Too bad I can't stand Heathcliff, even after two readings of the novel (as a teen and then 20 years later - to be sure I wasn't remembering incorrectly).

    Full disclosure - I am a committed Janeite. And you know the Austen/Bronte divide is very wide. ;)

    "May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house." - George Carlin

    by Most Awesome Nana on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:46:21 AM PDT

  •  I read 'Wuthering Heights' twenty years ago, (8+ / 0-)

    so I remember the windswept moors, the swooning yearning: a love that held more pain than warmth. A very star-crossed feeling. But I can't recall the plot at all - it's fallen back into the darkness whence it came.

    It's as if Emily Brontë turned away from the sunlit gardens of Jane Austen, and dove into a Freudian maelstrom of darkness and senseless hungers. The Id and Superego wrestling, with no Ego in sight.

    Your review - your emotional response, really - captures that same intensity of feeling, the same obscurity of pattern and logic. That's good - you put us in Emily Brontë's world. I suspect her aim was to put in a book these wild truths, which no English novel had more than glanced at before. She succeeded, she wrote a new kind of book.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 08:20:05 AM PDT

  •  Dante Gabriel Rossetti, in a letter, 1854: (9+ / 0-)
    I've been greatly interested in Wuthering Heights, the first novel I've read for an age, and the best (as regards power and sound style) for two ages . . . But it is a fiend of a book, an incredible monster . . . The action is laid in Hell, - only it seems places and people have English names there.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 08:26:57 AM PDT

    •  Thank you, Brecht. You have inspired me to change (4+ / 0-)

      the title back to my original:

      Damn You, Emily Bronte.

      It's seems more fitting. (And because I can, lol!) I changed the diary's title to, "Go On, Heathcliff. Run Away. Bring Me Back The World!" late last night/early this morning. I thought the 'Damn You' was perhaps, too harsh. Now I see it's more fitting, especially after reading the comments and being reminded of the sweet torment Bronte causes me, whenever I read the book, or watch the movie of Wuthering Heights. I must admit, I watch the movie about once a year. The book, I've read, perhaps twice in my life. That was enough to fall in love with the characters. Actually, the first reading was enough. :)  

      "In this world, hate has never yet dispelled hate. Only love can dispel hate." ~ Buddha

      by Leslie Salzillo on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 09:06:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I still have the taste of it in my mind, but (5+ / 0-)

        I'd have to reread Wuthering Heights to get a clear grasp of Emily Brontë's narrative powers.

        There may be far more method to Brontë's madness than appears at first reading. From Daniel Burt's The Novel 100 (which puts it at #39):

        Those who noticed the book at all were baffled by the novel's complex, intricate structure - its nonchronological arrangement, filtered by at least two major removes by unreliable narrators, Lockwood and Nelly Dean - and detected little structure in a book that is now considered a formal marvel. . . .

        The chronological story of their relationship and its consequences for two generations, which must be reassembled by the reader . . .

        Emily Brontë provided the reader with an intricate web of human relationships that extends our notion of both passion and human existence. In a novel that resists conventional moral judgment, the reader is asked to consider a love that often resembles a hatred and a curse, as well as to balance the paradoxical image of Heathcliff, as faithful, tormented lover and as brutal, sadistic monster. . . Emily Brontë's greatness as a novelist rests in her ability to reach the profundity of tragic drama in which the cathartic expression of pity and terror is the reader's final appropriate response.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 09:38:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The only novel I know of (7+ / 0-)

    filled with hateful characters, that is readable to the end and can't be put down.

    Normally when a book has so many bad seeds I lose interest.  Who cares what happens to these horrible people?

    But something about Catherine and Heathcliff and all the rest held me fast and to this day I love it.  I thought the end totally redeemed the whole lot of them, with young Catherine and  - who was it?  The young man she was teaching to read from the other side of the family.  They were healing by the end, now that all the horribles had finally died off.

    I felt like they could renew the family together.  I always loved that about Wuthering Heights.

    Great diary.  The movie was lovely but it didn't capture the spirit of the novel, in my opinion.

    I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

    by coquiero on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 09:08:33 AM PDT

  •  coquiero, was his name "Hareton"? (6+ / 0-)
    I thought the end totally redeemed the whole lot of them, with young Catherine and  - who was it?  The young man she was teaching to read from the other side of the family.
    Man, that damn Emily could think up some "H" names for her characters, couldn't she?  Heathcliff, Hindley, Hareton!

    The women's names were much less interesting.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 10:28:51 AM PDT

  •  A smashing diary (4+ / 0-)

    The fact that you use self-parody to justify liking the overdrawn characters makes this such an enjoyable read.  "I shouldn't like this trashy novel but I just cannot help myself," is how many of us feel about some of our favorite novels.

    If any of you have visited Haworth, Yorkshire and the Bronte parsonage, you can see and feel why the Brontes wrote what they did.  You have to climb a hill past the pub where brother Branwell got royally pissed (often) and then you see the church, walk through a cemetery to the house, and you think:  dark, yes, very dark.

    Leslie, I hope you will write more diaries for Readers and Book Lovers.  This was just so much fun:  and look at the discussion that ensued.

     

    Just waitin' around for the new Amy Winehouse album

    by jarbyus on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:33:20 PM PDT

    •  Thank you Jarbyus. Thank you very much. I laughed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Limelite, Brecht

      reading your comment, and then smiled. You are very kind. As I mentioned in a comment below, written before seeing yours, that this experience has been lovely, and it has inspired me to do more writing - for fun. (It gets so serous out there in.)

      And how wonderful to be able to walk where the Brontes walked...

      "In this world, hate has never yet dispelled hate. Only love can dispel hate." ~ Buddha

      by Leslie Salzillo on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:14:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  dang. don't know what to say. (4+ / 0-)

    this post & comments have been fascinating.

    I first encountered JE & WH as a child, I think. Looking for something to read and there were these two huge, grim, black & dark green books in a case, with what looked like starving children in hell on the covers...

    I tried them both, and had never disliked anything so strongly. Have had few encounters so clear since, either. They both struck as grim, depressing- depressing- DEPRESSING horrors and I have never had the slightest interest in trying them again.

    After reading the above, I still don't. Great Love = Utter Misery will remain a mystery to me, I guess.

    Oh well, if we all liked the same things it would be a stunningly boring world.

    "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

    by chimene on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:36:21 PM PDT

    •  I understand, chimney. There are some books (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Limelite, Brecht, wonderful world

      in which I'll read one chapter, and I'm done. (I'll still keep the book, mind you - I'm not crazy)

      The older I get, the less time/patience I have to keep reading just to see how things work out, especially if it's making me feel bad. There are too many books that grab and delight me from the beginning, and hold me until the end. That's how it was when I first read Wuthering Heights.

      I'm not sure why so I'm so taken with fictional misery of the heart. Perhaps it's because 'their' insanity makes my life feel much more sane. I really enjoyed this group adventure with all of you. The diary was very fun to write. Thank you Diana and Brecht for inviting me to contribute.

      "In this world, hate has never yet dispelled hate. Only love can dispel hate." ~ Buddha

      by Leslie Salzillo on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:02:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you for contributing so well, Leslie. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wonderful world, Leslie Salzillo

        Your diary was fun to read, and led to a very lively and interesting conversation.

        Reading about insanity is a lot healthier than living it. Gogol said that if he hadn't put all his darkness into his books, it would have overwhelmed his life (Alas, it did, in the end).

        Thanks for rousing our hearts and minds. Have a calm and sunny weekend.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 08:59:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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