Tuesday, 12 July 2011

What would they be doing now?

The thing with reading classic literature, particularly if you've seen a lot of BBC adaptations (and I have), is that the characters become wedded to their period dress and their distant period world.  Wuthering Heights I had to read for A level, and I can't even write the words without dark, lowering moors and a lot of swishing, probably sodden and muddy, fabric, coming to mind.  Some of that might be an over-familiarity with Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights, mind.


I didn't have a huge amount of sympathy for Heathcliff and Cathy even in my surly teenage years, thinking whatever the 1970s equivalent of "What are they ON?" would have been. I know we were supposed to find Nellie Dean the housekeeper narrator the dull antithesis of all that wild and romantic emotion but I had a sneaking sympathy for her. What I liked about the book was the moors: if you regard Cathy and Heathcliff as an extension of the moors, they're just about bearable, but as human beings they're really tedious. Cathy I see as the sort who would drive you completely mental these days, needing lots of long and invariably booze-filled sessions with girlfriends binding on and on and on about Edgar. And Heathcliff. And she would be one of those "friends" who is so self-obsessed they never, not once, ask you about what you're doing, and who never take your advice either, though they are constantly asking you for it.

Becky Sharp, on the other hand....

2 comments:

Barbara Fisher March House Books said...

My godmother gave me a beautiful copy of Wuthering heights for my fourth birthday – I thought it an awfully poor birthday present! I think I was about 14 when I finally read it and thought it was absolutely wonderful. I was your typical moody teenager and it suited my (then) mood perfectly.

Jane Badger said...

I can see that it might not have appealed when you were 4, but your godmother sounds like a forward thinking soul! My mean and moody was Mr Rochester. And Maxim from Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca.