Monday, January 10, 2011

First book club getaway: a huge success!

We just spent a wonderful weekend discussing Bronte in a secluded house deep within the moors of New York, a.k.a. the Hamptons. Ok, so in this case it wasn't exactly the dark and mysterious wild land that is Wuthering Heights, but far away from uptight social mores of the city we did indulge our passionate sides: debating, loving, hating, and relating, to the iconic romantic novel.

After a night of celebrating, and some pre-group skimming and cramming, it was to our credit that we pulled of a fascinating discussion. We all agreed that the novel was an impressive feat for the young and isolated Emily Bronte and a dark study of the effects of isolation and bad parenting. Maybe it was because we pre-gamed with a viewing of the movie Twilight, but many of us argued that Wuthering Heights was also a juvenile picture of the shallowest kind of love between basically despicable characters. Interestingly, the first Twilight book (so Wikipedia tells me...I swear) makes allusions to Wuthering Heights, via the star-crossed lovers connection. But they have a lot else in common, namely the stamp of an adolescent love. Like the perpetually angry Kristin Stewart in the Twilight movies, Cathy is pretty unredeemably unlikeable. But she has the love of two admirers to her name, and so, in some audiences' eyes, she is enviable and de-facto redeemed. We of the jaded book club set were all rolling our eyes a little bit with a montage of images swimming in our brains that looked a little too much like this:

It's like, enough already!
We were yearning for some serious relationship insight...something a little more like, I don't know, Jane Austen? But it was also an interesting reminder that Jane Austen, who pre-dates the Brontes, was as thoroughly indoctrinated by the humanist faith in the Enlightenment as Emily Bronte was in the romantic, gothic appeal of her time, a time which accepted all that was dark and irrational in nature. Like, a time that wouldn't be perplexed by the popularity of these guys:

In my honest opinion, the first Twilight movie was a Jane Austen-esque masterpiece. I stand by it! But, alas, what the deuce (!), that time has passed.

1 comment:

  1. I liked this book. As much for its insight into Emily Bronte as for the book itself. It feels iconic in it's exploration of fateful love. And I liked that it didn't seem to have a definitive moral tone. Bronte doesn't baby her readers unlike many others on the ole highschool reading list.