Wuthering Heights

There are few more convincing, less sentimental accounts of passionate love than Wuthering Heights. This is the story of a savage, tormented foundling, Heathcliff, who falls wildly in love with Catherine Earnshaw, the daughter of his benefactor, and the violence and misery that result from their thwarted longing for each other. A book of immense power and strength, it is filled with the raw beauty of the moors and an uncanny understanding of the terrible truths about men and women – an understanding made even more extraordinary by the fact that it came from the heart of a frail, inexperienced girl who lived out her lonely life in the moorland wildness and died a year after this great novel was published.

Written by Emily Bronte 1847. This is the Signet Classic edition with a foreword by Geoffrey Moore, copyright 1959.

Happy Birthday Emily Bronte, you are 193 today, so I thought I’d commemorate the occasion by posting another wonderful edition of Wuthering Heights.

This Signet cover is gorgeous and illustrated by the same artist who did the cover to the Signet edition of Turn of the Screw, reviewed HERE. The signature is a little easier to read- Jaines / Jainee Hill? – but I’ve not been able to find any info on the artist.

The Turn of the Screw

The Turn of the Screw, Daisy Miller, An International Episode, The Aspern Papers, The Altar of the Dead, The Beast in the Jungle.

Henry James considered “the beautiful and blest nouvelle” to be the “ideal form” for fiction, and to this genre he brought the full perfection of his imaginative artistry. The themes he chose and the values he set forth in the six nouvelles that comprise this Signet Classic typify the depth and power of his craftsmanship – the unique perception of a writer who unerringly deciphers the mind of a gay and flirtatious American girl among the sophisticates of Europe…the motivations of a man who spends a lifetime waiting to experience his “rare and strange” destiny.

“Few Writers of fiction have been so inventive as Henry James,” writes William Thorp. Edmund Wilson commented that “he can be judged only in the company of the very greatest.”

Written by Henry James. This Signet Classic edition published 1980.

‘Tis the season for curling up with a good ol’ gothic ghost story and Turn of the Screw is one of my favourites.

A real ‘treading on eggshells’ sense of suspense pervades this novella, with everything you need for a chilling winter night’s reading.

Originally published in 1898 the best thing about this novella  is how artfully James sows the seeds of doubt as to whether the ghosts are real or imagined. Personally I made up my mind years ago the governess was completely barking and not the kind of person you’d want to leave alone with your kids; the conversation she has with the housekeeper after her first sighting of Quint being a great example of how easy people can mislead each other into believing whatever they want to believe.

Lots of people disagree however and the ambiguity is part of what makes this tale so engrossing. At times the children are almost as sinister as the ghosts and having read this a few times I still find myself asking questions. Henry James’ prose weaves a masterful spell of psychological suspense  by allowing the reader room to draw their own conclusions. The isolated setting, unspoken secrets and spiralling emotions all contribute toward creating a truly spooky atmosphere with a shocking climax.

And though Turn of the Screw is the most well known piece in this collection, the other novellas are worth a mention – in particular Altar of the Dead, one of my favourite stories ever.

The cover art is lovely and a very distinctive style. 5 out of 5 stars.