Bronte Sisters

Topics: Romance novel, Gothic fiction, Wuthering Heights Pages: 2 (431 words) Published: June 12, 2013
Robert Kiely raises the question, in The Romantic Novel in England, Is there actually an English romantic novel? He skirts answering his own question by suggesting that some novels are influenced by Romanticism and incorporate the same style and themes that appear in Romantic poetry and drama. In his discussion, the term romantic novel is often equated with the romance, with the Gothic novel, and with the romantic elements in a novel. Kiely regards Wuthering Heights as a model of romantic fiction; it contains these romantic/Gothic elements which charterize the romantic novel:

The dynamic antagonism or antithesis in the novel tends to subvert, if not to reject literary conventions; often a novel verges on turning into something else, like poetry or drama. In Wuthering Heights, realism in presenting Yorkshire landscape and life and the historical precision of season, dates, and hours co-exist with the dreamlike and the unhistorical; Brontë refuses to be confined by conventional classifications. The protagonists' wanderings are motivated by flight from previously-chosen goals, so that often there is a pattern of escape and pursuit. Consider Catherine's marriage for social position, stability, and wealth, her efforts to evade the consequences of her marriage, the demands of Heathcliff and Edgar, and her final mental wandering. The protagonists are driven by irresistible passion–lust, curiosity, ambition, intellectual pride, envy. The emphasis is on their desire for transcendence, to overcome the limitations of the body, of society, of time rather than their moral transgressions. They yearn to escape the limitations inherent to life and may find that the only escape is death. The longings of a Heathcliff cannot be fulfilled in life. Death is not only a literal happening or plot device, but also and primarily a psychological concern. For the protagonists, death originates in the imagination, becomes a "tendency of mind," and may develop into an obsession.

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