B.O.S.S. Richly Resplendent Refrain #00000000000021
There are two trees in a lonely field;
They breathe a spell to me;
A dreary thought their dark boughs yield,
All waving solemnly.
- Emily Brontë (June, 1838)
For what is responsible for coloring the myriad swatches of grays (greys) within? If only imagination could exist outside of society, for certainly society can exist outside of imagination. Perhaps it is still possible to decode the frequency of eternal resonance, the wonderfully ever-applicable tones of:
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë.
And reading it is going to be cool for the following reasons:
When Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë dropped Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Agnes Grey in the late 1840s, literary London had no idea what to do with them. So coarse! So immoral! And, of course, when rumors persisted that the books were not written by the men that their pseudonyms implied: There is no way that any could have been written by a woman! But if it were indeed a woman then she is most certainly one of the fallen!
After Anne and Emily passed at early ages (29 and 30, respectively), Charlotte, ever-concerned with the reputations of her sisters, attempted to detach them from authorial agency. Despite the fact that their hometown of Haworth was far more bustling than the origin-stories allowed and the Brontë family had a history of scholarly pursuits and creativity, Charlotte stressed that their abrasive writing was due to growing up in “a remote district where education had made little progress.” Quelled the controversy, it did not. Helped birth one of many myths, it did.
With Emily having been the most reclusive of the Brontë sisters, true biographical information remains scarce, thus leaving Wuthering Heights (and her collection of poetry) to speak for itself. Still, deep questions remain. Was the depiction of female passion a calculated early step in feminism or an example of imaginative romanticism? If it is the latter, what is the source of imagination and how does it come to exist in a young woman out in Yorkshire? Could it be the work of dark and/or divine intervention? And just how does a book written over 170 years ago remain a consistent cultural influence across the globe?
Let’s shoot for a single meet-up right before the holidays. It’ll probably be cold and rainy, so Emily would have been proud.
We are all Heathcliff,
Nick - B.O.S.S. Department of Early Goth(ic) Studies