Misconceptions of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights


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Wuthering Heights Misconceptions  

Victorian reviewers of Emily Bronte’s classic Wuthering Heights found it to be far too harsh and dreary for their tastes.  One author, writing for the Atlas, 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.   The same author criticizes 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).  Upon further comparison the author says of Jane Eyre it “lacks the power and originality of Wuthering Heights, [though] it is infinitely more agreeable” ending saying Ellis Bell (pseudonym of Emily Bronte) is an author with colossal promise (WH 300).

            Some literary critics of the time preferred to ride the fence on this controversial book.  An essay published in Douglas Jerrold’s Weekly Newspaper stated it was a “strange book – baffling all regular criticism” (WH 302).   While not committing to actual criticisms of either story or author the writer alludes to the disturbing themes of the  piece and closes his article by saying, “We strongly recommend all our readers to who love novelty to get this story” (WH 302).

            Other critics are more than willing to attack both the work and Ellis Bell.  A writer for the Examiner stated, shortly after the publication of the book, “it is wild, confused, disjointed, and improbable, and the people who make up the drama…are savages ruder than those who lived before the days of Homer” (WH 303).

            Charlotte Bronte attempts to, in her forward to the 1850 publication of Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey, address misconceptions about her sisters, their pseudonyms, and Emily’s infamous book.  Charlotte claims that a grievous error was done to her sister when critics attempted to claim that the same hand that penned Jane Eyre was responsible for Wuthering Heights.

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"Misconceptions of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights." 123HelpMe.com. 20 Jan 2018
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  After setting the record straight on that count she goes on to discuss the effect she felt this kind of misinformation had on the literary world as well as her perception of its effects on her sisters.  She also blames the critics for their lack of depth when she says, “The immature but very real powers revealed in Wuthering Heights were scarcely recognized and its import and nature were misunderstood” (WH 316).

 

 


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