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Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights - A Truly Romantic Novel Essay

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Wuthering Heights - A Truly Romantic Novel

 
Wuthering Heights embodies the idea of a classical Romantic novel.   Written at a time when the novel was just becoming a popular form of entertainment/writing Wuthering Heights employs many of the typical elements of the Romantic writers.  There are elements of innovative experimentation in subject, form, and style, a mixing of genre's, use of powerful emotions, and several traits that could also classify Wuthering Heights as a "Dark" Romantic piece.  The "Dark" Romanticism is revealed within the strange/ non-normative story, super-natural elements, and the Gothic setting.

 

            When originally printed the author of WH (Emily Bronte under the pseudonym Ellis Bell) was widely criticized for authoring a piece of work with such blatant tones of mental disturbance.  One reviewer, compared Wuthering Heights to Jane Eyre saying that, "Wuthering Heights casts a gloom over the mind that is not easily dispelled" (WH 300) while Jane Eyre manages to provide some cathartic element that offers its reader a release.  While, obviously not loved by all, the subject matter of WH was new and unique to the time, offering a break from the traditional literary works such as Paradise Lost or Gulliver's Travels that often included a strong underlying moral or political message.

 

            The book also possesses a unique style; it is a story within a story.  Lockwood is the narrator that has direct contact with the audience while Nellie Dean is carries the bulk of the tale, though she never directly conveys information to the readers.  Most stories, before Wuthering Heights, had a single narrator, typically a first person account, that walked the readers through the story...


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...ce as reflected by the time it was written.  One reviewer criticized it for its lack of realistic elements saying that a "few glimpses of sunshine would have increased the reality of the picture and given strength rather than weakness to the whole" (WH 300).  Unfortunately these could be very realistic pieces of a person's life if they were to fall in love with the wrong person in that time.  Revenge is also a predominant theme; perhaps few people would be so willing to take it as far as Heathcliff but the general theme is very realistically inspired.

 

Works Cited

Damrosch, David, et al., ed.  The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Vol. B.  Compact ed.  New York: Longman - Addison Wesley Longman, 2000.

Bronte, Emily.  Wuthering Heights. Norton Critical ed.  3rd ed.  Ed. William M. Sale, Jr., and Richard J. Dunn.  New York:  W. W. Norton, 1990.


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