Wuthering Heights

I've always been unashamedly obsessed by this book. When I was a little girl (named for the heroine, of course) my mother and father trundled me across Haworth Moors in my push chair, to see the old ruined farmhouse called Top Withins, which was believed to be the inspiration behind the name and the situation, if not the actual building. Mum was something of a romantic. Why else would she have married a dark and handsome Pole, who kissed her hand when they first met. Mind you, dad was no Heathcliff. He was much too kind for that.
I liked Jane Eyre well enough, but I was passionate about Wuthering Heights, with its mad, bad and dangerous pair of lovers. Actually, there is nothing romantic about the book at all. It is a whirlwind of thwarted passion, the single minded passion of youth, and it has a deeply disturbing vein of intense (and intensely rural) cruelty running through it just as the descriptions of the brightly burning fire at the heart of the farmhouse run through the heart of the novel.
But really, I adore all of it, find that my friends fall neatly into those who love it and those who loathe it, and return to it again and again. This weekend, I see that the excellent Sally Wainwright (of Sparkhouse fame) has written a radio play about a possible source of inspiration behind the book: a forbidden love affair between Emily and a local weaver's son. He died young, and she wrote Wuthering Heights. Women's Hour had a slightly outraged academic quibbling with Sarah Fermi's research which inspired the play, but it seems feasible enough to me (and of course completely unprovable, either way.)
"But she wouldn't had had anything to do with a weaver" said Emily's biographer. "They were from completely different stations in life."
Which is, of course, exactly the point. From time immemorial, people have been forming inadvisable relationships. Such things are the stuff of a million works of literature, film and theatre, Wuthering Heights included. I, for one, and speaking as someone who has also written her own obsessive homage to Wuthering Heights (this time with a Scottish setting) will be listening with interest.

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