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'Wuthering Heights' / Steven, Vine

The Literary Dictionary and Encyclopoedia

Swansea University Author: Steven, Vine

Abstract

The article summarises the narrative structure of the novel and draws attention to the transgressiveness of its content in the context of the Victorian period. 'Wuthering Heights' flouts bourgeois taste, standards of civility, and the expectations of a polite middle-class metropolitan read...

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Published in: The Literary Dictionary and Encyclopoedia
Published: 2002
Online Access: http://www.literarydictionary.com
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa17990
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Abstract: The article summarises the narrative structure of the novel and draws attention to the transgressiveness of its content in the context of the Victorian period. 'Wuthering Heights' flouts bourgeois taste, standards of civility, and the expectations of a polite middle-class metropolitan reading public. The article outlines the responses of reviewers to the novel’s first publication in 1847 – it was seen as rude and crude, but also possessing a strange power – and Charlotte Brontë’s attempts to rescue it for posterity by describing it as ‘moorish’, ‘wild’ and ‘knotty’: the rough and rustic work of an unlettered moorland innocent, a cultural unsophisticate. Charlotte’s attempts to naturalise and contain the disturbances that 'Wuthering Heights' visits on its Victorian world are put in the context of the 1840s, and it is argued that the novel draws on the political tumult of the decade – years characterized by Chartist uprising, industrial unrest, Irish famine and the outbreak of revolution across Europe.
College: College of Arts and Humanities