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"WutheringHeights" and the Critics
MELVIN R. WATSON
WUTHERING generally to HEIGHTS is now acknowledgedbe one this ofthegreatest English novels, it has gained recognition but has which onlyafter battle a withthecritics general and public It lasted largepartof thehundred a years sinceitspublication. seems proper, therefore,study body criticism appreand to this of What ciation several is with questions mind: in How much there? different have attitudes beenshown toward bookand itsauthe been? thor?How rational penetrating thecomments and have attenWhat reasons been have given itsgreatness? much for How of tion been has paidtointerpreting Wuthering Heightsas a work art howmuch and merely appreciationtosideissues?' to or Certain themes appear often enough provide series leitto a of motifs thiscritical in opera."Forcible writing," "powerful and and constructed"-theseright run original," "awkwardly illogically the with a feel voice. through comments, scarcelydissenting Many to and compelled compare to Emily Charlotte Wuthering Heights toJaneEyre, with foregone the conclusion Charlotte Jane that and of Eyrearesuperior. work immature "The genius," shouts chorus. a The early of charge "unnatural passion" (madebya contemporary is in reviewer)essentially repeated the"dominant sexuality" which, to the according a French writer, pervades entire book. Hysterical, and delirious, nightmarish, primeval, elemental-all these used are in describing book.Comparisons Elizabethan the with tragedies 1The emphasis this is throughout study on Wuthering Heights, on EmilyBronte not or herfamily. no has Furthermore, attempt beenmade to discuss every comment evenevery or essay.In treating material thepast fewdecadesI have perforce the of been moreselective than in dealing with nineteenth-century notices;I beileve,however, that the examples chosen typical. are
it is complimentary: and are and characters frequent notalways Heathbut with compared Hamlet, alsowithTitusAndronicus; since Iago. villain but Hamlet, heisalsothegreatest resembles cliff and Charlotte Branwell; to has Itsauthorship beenattributedboth Fiand both has Heathcliff beenconsidered protagonist villain. of a of as the nally, novel a work arthasbeenconsidered"burden workof artamidall thevast and absurdities" the"oneperfect fiction." canvasses Victorian of varied is that conclusion emerges that sort a of From study this thefirst on was neglected itsappearHeights notsocompletely...