Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
Updated: May 25, 2021
Once upon a time as a teenager I started in this book but for some reason never finished it. (That is rare for me.) In this case I was not ready to ‘grasp’ as it were, Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights. Now, approximately 15 years later, I gave it another go.
I cannot make my mind up about this book. Which, few weeks after reading it, makes me curious. I have the feeling I need to read it at least three times again to find the hidden poetry I might have overlooked now and see more meaning in between what is said and what is meant on another scale. I am not a complete nitwit; I know this is one of the big ones in literature. And I can see why, yet I get the feeling something is just out of reach about this book for me. Potentially this is not that dramatic, maybe that feeling is part of the book?
As Virginia Woolf puts it in the afterword: “The meaning of a book, which lies so often apart from what happens and what is said consists rather in some connection which things in themselves different have had for the writer, is necessarily hard to grasp.”
I get the same sense I experience with some poems: You may not grasp all the meaning from the first time, but it lingers, trickles in, and reappears in your mind in new twists and thoughts. It simmers. Meaning comes with time. Sometimes repetition. All the while the beauty of the words and sentences painfully clear as glass.
At time there is beauty in the characters pain, longing, and heartbreak. They can be abhorrent in their behaviour; it seems the author has made certain parts as uncomfortable to read as some characters feel in the presence of these actions and reactions. And in other parts, the unconditional love of Heathcliff and Catherine filters through all the hate, pain, and suffering. They are simultaneously so rotten and selfish as people, and at the same time you cannot help but feel compassion.
So in conclusion: For me it is an unfinished feeling. It will continue, I will read it again at some point. It intrigues.
P.S.: If anyone has more interesting insights, always curious to hear them.