Charlotte Reads Classics

Slowly, slowly, she sipped a sentence.

Tag: The Brontë Parsonage Museum

I Have Been a Waif for Twenty Years

And I pray one prayer – I repeat it till my tongue stiffens – Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest, as long as I am living! You said I killed you – haunt me, then! The murdered do haunt their murderers. I believe – I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always – take any form – drive me mad! Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you!

Always, always, always read your favourite books more than once. I fell in love with Wuthering Heights as a teenager because it was wild. A passionate, emotional book that every stroppy teenager can’t fail to identify with. As an adult – it is so much better. Everything that was difficult the first time (mainly who was related to who, and how) was simple, which meant I could pay attention to parts previously hidden.

I think the biggest thing about Wuthering Heights is confusion at its reputation for being a love story. Yes, Catherine and Heathcliff have no ordinary connection but I can’t help thinking that people who list them as a great couple must be mad! I had forgotten quite how horrible Heathcliff is and that really the book is about the very worst of human emotions: Jealousy, betrayal, revenge. What I really enjoyed during this particular read was the cathartic nature of younger Catherine and Hareton’s relationship. I found it much more touching than I did the first time.

I just really love Wuthering Heights. I can’t write about it in any way that does it justice because it is one of my everything books. It has fantastical depths and unrestrained brilliance and it never leaves you. When I was reading it, I felt like I was Lockwood too – looking in on this tiny rural society. Just read it . And then read it again.

I had an excellent Saturday – spent walking from Haworth to Top Withens, a ruin said to have inspired Emily Brontë when she was writing Wuthering Heights. Luckily, despite being absolutely FREEZING, not only did it not rain, there were even sporadic bouts of sunshine. The walk started in Haworth village and was a seven mile round trip across open moors like this:

Top Withens is next to that tiny tree in the distance!

I visited the Brontë Parsonage Museum again but didn’t take any photos because I couldn’t beat the amazingly atmospheric mist that had descended when I went last year.

I am reading Shirley by Charlotte Brontë at the moment, although I haven’t read enough yet to talk about it. I think in terms of Brontë-love The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is still my favourite, closely – very closely – followed by Wuthering Heights.

Further reading: I love this Guardian review.

A Literary Pilgrimage

This Sunday I made a pilgrimage to Haworth, home of the Brontës. Yes, The Taste of Sorrow has made a big impact. As you can see from the photographs, I couldn’t have asked for more atmospheric weather…

parsonageThe building is the Parsonage where the Brontës lived. It is slightly bigger than when they lived there, as it was extended by the Reverend who lived there after Patrick Brontë died. The house was pretty cosy, but everything was much smaller than I was expecting. Obviously the Church in those days was not necessarily a wealthy vocation, but this seemed like there would have been too many people in too small a place – I suppose the Brontë’s reputations exceeded their beginnings.

museum signThe Museum really focused on the act of writing: They had Charlotte and Emily’s portable writing desks set up with all the original contents inside – nibs, blotting paper, seals etc. The living room of the house is laid out as it would have been when the sisters would use it to write and critique their work and it was exciting to stand in it and imagine all of that happening.

ghostly haworth

The Parsonage was fantastic to see on a day like this; with these views how could Wuthering Heights be written by anyone but a Brontë?! The landscape is always presented as so important in their writing, and today it seemed as though it would be hard to be unaffected.