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DeepHour
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31 Dec 2018, 1:47 pm

I read Wuthering Heights for my GCE 'O' Level Eng Lit course in 1972/3, and again in 1975 or '76, but I'm definitely intending to renew my acquaintance with it in the very near future.....


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IsabellaLinton
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31 Dec 2018, 1:54 pm

DeepHour wrote:
I read Wuthering Heights for my GCE 'O' Level Eng Lit course in 1972/3, and again in 1975 or '76, but I'm definitely intending to renew my acquaintance with it in the very near future.....


I'd love to chat with you about the narrative technique and its influence by German romanticism.

Claradoon would like me to start a thread about Prufrock, if you'd be interested. I'm still reading Laurence but will let you all know when it's posted.



Prometheus18
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31 Dec 2018, 2:00 pm

I still think English literature in the 19th century was second rate compared to what was being written in France and Russia. The only real exception was Dickens.



IsabellaLinton
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31 Dec 2018, 2:03 pm

Prometheus18 wrote:
I still think English literature in the 19th century was second rate compared to what was being written in France and Russia. The only real exception was Dickens.


Of course your opinion is welcome. Have you read Middlemarch?



kraftiekortie
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31 Dec 2018, 2:13 pm

I feel, perhaps, that English literature of that period was a little more "restrained" because of stricter censorship codes during the Victorian Period. This "restraint" could lead to a perceived "lessening of merit" from the standpoint of the modern critic.

Even in the early 20th century, D. H. Lawrence was censored severely (and banned) because of his mildly suggestive material. None of his work would have been given a second glance "morally" in either of those other two countries.

Perhaps, the French and Russian literature of that time (I like them both) was more "meaty" because "meatiness" wasn't as restrained by censorship as that which was written in the UK.



Claradoon
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31 Dec 2018, 2:22 pm

Prometheus18 wrote:
I read Wuthering Heights when I was about seventeen and found it one of the most boring books I'd ever read. A reading group for Jane Eyre or David Copperfield would be much better. Or Dostoyevsky for that matter.

That's interesting. Could you take a stab at what's boring about Wuthering Heights as opposed to what's interesting about Jane Eyre? I'm enthralled with WH but the older I get, the less I like Jane. I don't know why. Maybe you could give me a clue?

I don't remember David Copperfield - is he the that wanted more?

I've read a lot of Dostoyevsky but I'm already depressed enough.



kraftiekortie
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31 Dec 2018, 2:23 pm

I like Dostoyevsky. He was a romantic....AND a realist.



Prometheus18
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31 Dec 2018, 2:24 pm

IsabellaLinton wrote:
Prometheus18 wrote:
I still think English literature in the 19th century was second rate compared to what was being written in France and Russia. The only real exception was Dickens.


Of course your opinion is welcome. Have you read Middlemarch?


As far as female writers called George are concerned, I prefer Mme. Sand. The only George Eliot I've read is Silas Marner, around the same time I was reading the Brontë sisters. It was a mildly entertaining read, but no more. This is the trouble with 19th century - and perhaps more broadly - English literature; it strikes me as somewhat frivolous and lacking in any broader philosophical statement. I don't understand how one can read fiction just for amusement, when there are much readier and less time consuming sources of amusement; the vindication of fiction is in the moral and philosophical ideas it has to teach us. In the words Palgrave (I think) wrote in his preface to the Golden Treasury, it should provide wisdom to youth and consolation to old age. He was talking about poetry, rather than prose, of course, but I think the same sort of thing applies.

English literature can certainly be entertaining, but it cannot, for the most part, move one. I was saddened when Dora died in David Copperfield, but I wasn't moved to tears like when Dmitri begins to weep in court after hearing his old schoolmaster come to defend him before the mob in The Brothers Karamazov; my eyes are wet now writing about it.



Claradoon
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31 Dec 2018, 2:33 pm

kraftiekortie wrote:
I feel, perhaps, that English literature of that period was a little more "restrained" because of stricter censorship codes during the Victorian Period. This "restraint" could lead to a perceived "lessening of merit" from the standpoint of the modern critic.

Even in the early 20th century, D. H. Lawrence was censored severely (and banned) because of his mildly suggestive material. None of his work would have been given a second glance "morally" in either of those other two countries.

Perhaps, the French and Russian literature of that time (I like them both) was more "meaty" because "meatiness" wasn't as restrained by censorship as that which was written in the UK.

I read somewhere that DH Lawrence was censored not so much for his mildly suggestive material as for his telling the outright truth about the King's marital issues. Or was that James Joyce, whose shipment of books was dumped in NY Harbor?



Prometheus18
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31 Dec 2018, 2:35 pm

Mr Kortie: I think I answered most of your points in my message to Ms Linton.

Ms Doon: Wuthering Heights, to me, was just a frivolous love story (I hope this won't upset anyone), whereas Jane Eyre was about a young woman's coming-of-age and moral and intellectual development; in a sense, she was sort of a female David Copperfield. We see her hopes and dreams and the victory of all-consuming love for family and of human connections. In this sense it was a thoroughly moral and humane work. By comparison, Wuthering Heights was a subversive, counter-cultural work, which I don't object to in itself, but it had nothing to offer beyond those things, unlike the subversiveness of a Swift or a Sterne. It was a work by and for adolescents - in temperament if not in age. I know almost nothing about the personal lives of the Brontë sisters, but I get the impression Charlotte was the best balanced and most humane and homely of the three.



kraftiekortie
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31 Dec 2018, 2:38 pm

James Joyce's "Ulysses" was found "not to be obscene" in a court in NYC about 1933.

I sense that Lawrence's portrayal of homosexuality could have been a main impetus behind the banning of some of his works.



Claradoon
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31 Dec 2018, 2:44 pm

Prometheus18 wrote:
Mr Kortie: I think I answered most of your points in my message to Ms Linton.

Ms Doon: Wuthering Heights, to me, was just a frivolous love story (I hope this won't upset anyone), whereas Jane Eyre was about a young woman's coming-of-age and moral and intellectual development; in a sense, she was sort of a female David Copperfield. We see her hopes and dreams and the victory of all-consuming love for family and of human connections. In this sense it was a thoroughly moral and humane work. By comparison, Wuthering Heights was a subversive, counter-cultural work, which I don't object to in itself, but it had nothing to offer beyond those things, unlike the subversiveness of a Swift or a Sterne. It was a work by and for adolescents - in temperament if not in age. I know almost nothing about the personal lives of the Brontë sisters, but I get the impression Charlotte was the best balanced and most humane and homely of the three.

You've got it! Rebellion. I think that's what turns me on about Wuthering Heights. The passive life of Jane Eyre is what irritates me - I wish she'd slap somebody (of course she couldn't).
I've never read Swift. Sterne drove me nuts.
Have you looked at David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest or other?
I hope not to derail this thread; would you like to start another?



kraftiekortie
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31 Dec 2018, 2:47 pm

Jonathan Swift can be best described as being a raging satirist. Really "over the top" about many things. An extreme realist.



Prometheus18
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31 Dec 2018, 3:06 pm

Claradoon wrote:
Prometheus18 wrote:
Mr Kortie: I think I answered most of your points in my message to Ms Linton.

Ms Doon: Wuthering Heights, to me, was just a frivolous love story (I hope this won't upset anyone), whereas Jane Eyre was about a young woman's coming-of-age and moral and intellectual development; in a sense, she was sort of a female David Copperfield. We see her hopes and dreams and the victory of all-consuming love for family and of human connections. In this sense it was a thoroughly moral and humane work. By comparison, Wuthering Heights was a subversive, counter-cultural work, which I don't object to in itself, but it had nothing to offer beyond those things, unlike the subversiveness of a Swift or a Sterne. It was a work by and for adolescents - in temperament if not in age. I know almost nothing about the personal lives of the Brontë sisters, but I get the impression Charlotte was the best balanced and most humane and homely of the three.

You've got it! Rebellion. I think that's what turns me on about Wuthering Heights. The passive life of Jane Eyre is what irritates me - I wish she'd slap somebody (of course she couldn't).
I've never read Swift. Sterne drove me nuts.
Have you looked at David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest or other?
I hope not to derail this thread; would you like to start another?


I should like to have married a Jane Eyre, and I should like to have been a David Copperfield. On the other hand, I wouldn't sit in the same room as a Heathcliffe, and the same sort of thing goes for every other character in that novel, as well as, I imagine, Emily herself. I don't see, respectfully, how the fact that a novel's message or its characters are morally worthless should be considered a credential.

Regarding Mr Wallace, I'll admit quite happily that I had to do a Wikipedia search to find out who he was. I have absolutely no interest whatever in English literature - or any other - beyond about the year 1960. My reasons for this have been given here.

Ms Linton has very kindly stated that she valued my input in respect of Dostoyevsky, so presumably she's okay with our continuing our discussion here.



IsabellaLinton
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31 Dec 2018, 5:34 pm

If you've read the balance of this thread you'll see that I do not purport WH to be a love story, nor do I find it romantic.

I treasure the novel for its brilliant and unprecedented narrative structure, its lyric composition, its examination of narcissistic psychopathy, the depiction of love as an ironic, destructive obsession, and sadistic, domestic sexual abuse as experienced by Isabella Linton and Catherine Linton Jr.

Emily Brontë's work is meaningful to me on a personal level as well as for its intellectual, social and historical significance. When considered in conjunction with her personal character as a (seemingly) autistic female in the 19th century, or in relation to her canon of poetry, I find the work to be unparalleled in power. That of course is my opinion.

I don't wish for this thread to become a debate about or competition between genres and styles of literature. I study Criticism and I'm always eager to discuss literature. Of course you can have your opinions as we all can, and all are welcome to me as well as on WP. If you'd like to have a literary discussion thread, I'd prefer it be done elsewhere in the forum so that each novel or tradition earns its due respect.

Thanks
Is