Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Birthday of Emily Brontë (1818-1848)

I remember Wuthering Heights as one of the best and most passionate love novels I have ever read, but looking back carefully I actually don't think I ever finished it. Although I remember a lot of the novel's action, it had a deeper emotional impact than an intellectual one. Recounting this piece of literature, it is the feeling of despair and impossible love, a contraction around the heart and a sea of sadness in the chest that is present with me. And this hints at why I never finished the story - I simply didn't stand the anguish and turmoil. Being quite an emotional reader (some times, at least) the story's innumerable difficulties were simply too much.
A little biographical information:

It's the birthday of the novelist Emily Brontë, born in Thornton, England, in 1818. Emily Brontë, who wrote what is considered one of the greatest love stories of all time, Wuthering Heights (1847), but who never had a lover and almost never talked to anyone besides her family and her servants. She and her sisters Anne and Charlotte and their brother, Branwell, educated themselves at home, reading their father's large collection of classic literature, while their father locked himself up in his room and even ate dinner alone. Emily was interested in mysticism, and she had no friends. Emily also wrote poetry. Her sister Charlotte discovered some of her verses: "I looked it over, and something more than surprise seized me, —a deep conviction that these were not common effusions, not at all like the poetry women generally write. I thought them condensed and terse, vigorous and genuine. To my ear, they had also a peculiar music—wild, melancholy, and elevating." In 1848, Emily died of tuberculosis when she was just 30 years old, standing in the living room of her family's parsonage with one hand on the mantle. Emily Brontë wrote in Wuthering Heights:

"I cannot express it; but surely you and everybody have a notion that there is, or should be, an existence of yours beyond you. What were the use of creation, if I were entirely contained here?"

"I have dreamed in my life, dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they have gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind."
I think this last sentence, of dreams permeating one's mind with a watery colour resembling that of wine through water, is exquisite. What a sensual, tactile, even tasty impression it makes! It really is tactility, vision, taste and smell in one image. Remarkable as well as eye and mouth-watering.

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