‘HEATHCLIFF – MAN OR DEVIL?’
It was a question which haunted Catherine like a malignant disease. When she looked into Heathcliff’s wild, glittering eyes, she could only turn away in horror. Who was this man whose every passion was motivated by ruthless greed? Was he indeed the devil come to destroy all he met, even the woman he loved?
Set against the dark and rugged moorlands of northern England, Wuthering Heights introduces two of the most startling characters in all literature: Heathcliff, an unfathomable mixture of savagery and gentleness; and Catherine, the woman he loved but drove to madness. This classic novel has truly been called ‘the strangest love story ever told.’
I picked up this lovely Cardinal edition of Wuthering Heights on a recent trip to North Carolina, which is rather fitting since the Red Cardinal has been the official state bird of NC since 1943.
Cardinal was an imprint of Pocket Books created in 1951. Running to over 400 titles the collection features a mixture of contemporary fiction, classics and non-fiction covering such topics as home baking, languages and training your dog. There is an amazing online gallery of the Cardinal editions over at The BookScans Database – a quick browse through the series revealing a few other gothics that caught my eye – including a lovely looking Jane Eyre, Rebecca and Anya Seyton’s Dragonwyck.
And although she is best known for creating ‘the strangest love story ever told’, Emily Brontë was also an accomplished poet. I was recently sent a new collection of her poetry which has been published this summer- Laura Inman’s The Poetic World of Emily Bronte.
Though there are numerous collections of Emily Brontë’s poetry available, what’s different about this volume is that the poems are arranged by topic rather than chronologically, with each chapter representing a different theme. The book starts with an outline of Emily’s life and is then divided into themed chapters – covering the subjects of Nature, Mutability, Love, Death, Captivity & Freedom, Hope & Despair, Imagination, and Spirituality – with additional notes accompanying each poem.
I’m about half-way through this collection and really enjoying it. Emily Brontë is a complex, enigmatic figure about whom much has been speculated and it could be argued that her poetry defies any such simplified classification. However Laura Inman approaches Emily’s work with a sensitivity and insight that is thoughtful, interesting and enlightening, presenting her poetry in a very accessible way. As much as I love the written word in all its wild and wicked forms, I find poetry – even that of my favourite writers – largely inscrutable at the best of times. The Poetic World of Emily Brontë has enabled me to revisit the prose of one of my favourite authors with a fresh approach and enriched understanding. Definitely recommended!
More details on The Poetic World of Emily Brontë can be found HERE.
Laura Inman is an independent scholar and freelance writer who lives in Rye, New York. More of her writing and thoughts on Emily Brontë’s poetry can be read and enjoyed over at her blog – The Living Philosopher.