To celebrate the life of the creator of my favorite romance (and the woman who can make me spiral into a prepositional tizzy), here are some fun facts and theories:
*Disclaimer- Some of the following theories are complete speculation and opinion and some are factual pieces of Emily Brontë’s life founded by solid evidence. Please enjoy knowing the difference.
- Emily Brontë was the middle sister between novelists Charlotte and Anne.
- Emily wrote under the pen name Ellis Bell. Charlotte = Currer Bell/ Anne = Acton Bell
- Emily’s novel Wuthering Heights is the greatest romance novel of the English language. This is due to the high realism produced in the heart of the Romantic period and the unconventional love affair of Cathy and Heathcliff. Her lovers are both a product of the morbid beauty of romanticism and a realistic mirror to society’s flaws.
- It took over 150 years for a feature film interpretation of Wuthering Heights to properly cast Heathcliff. I implore you to interpret the following: “He is a dark-skinned gypsy in aspect, in dress and manners a gentleman: that is, as much a gentleman as many a country squire: rather slovenly, perhaps, yet not looking amiss with his negligence, because he has an erect and handsome figure; and rather morose. -Though Lawrence Oliver and Ralph Finnes are both beautiful actors, the proper casting of Heathcliff is Gary Dourdan, Harry Lennix, or a younger Idris Elba.
- The critical theory surrounding Wuthering Heights includes (but is not limited to) Marxism, feminism, and social commentary on race, religion, and class.
- This is one of the greatest lines from Wuthering Heights and western romance literature: “May she wake in torment!’ he cried, with frightful vehemence, stamping his foot, and groaning in a sudden paroxysm of ungovernable passion. ‘Why, she’s a liar to the end! Where is she? Not there—not in heaven—not perished—where? Oh! you said you cared nothing for my sufferings! And I pray one prayer—I repeat it till my tongue stiffens—Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living; you said I killed you—haunt me, then! The murdered do haunt their murderers, I believe. I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always—take any form—drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!”
- This is one of the most successful displays of imagery and character driven metaphor in the English canon: ” sought, and soon discovered, the three headstones on the slope next the moor: the middle one grey, and half buried in the heath; Edgar Linton’s only harmonised by the turf and moss creeping up its foot; Heathcliff’s still bare.”
- Emily died one year after her masterpiece was published of tuberculosis as a result of unclean conditions and water supply.
- Her poetry is often under rated. For example, ‘I hear its billows roar-
I see them foaming high;
But no glimpse of a further shore
Has blest my straining eye. – From “A Death Scene”
- And this: “But long or short though life may be
‘Tis nothing to eternity
We part below to meet on high
Where blissful ages never die”From “Lines”
So, today go out and mourn eternity without your soul mate. Find a moment to stand on the moors and allow the wind to billow through your hair as you weep with the dew. Dig up the grave of your beloved … on second thought, just read some Wuthering Heights and spare yourself the jail time.