The Lunatic and the Devil's Disciple: The 'Lovers' in Wuthering Heights Author(s): Marianne Thormählen Source: The

Review of English Studies, New Series, Vol. 48, No. 190 (May, 1997), pp. 183-197 Published by: Oxford University Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/518669 Accessed: 01/07/2010 09:33
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overriding the laws. 3 Q. There is something decidedly odd about this supposedly archetypal romance. Bronte Society Transactions (London. No. Casein book. and the air over his head. repr.1 'the love that devours life itself'. that conception is soon undermined by a growing sense of wrongness. D. The adolescent reader is easily swept along by this force and tends to remember Catherine and Heathcliff as the protagonists of the grand romantic passion of English fiction. ed. Abercrombie. and considerations of lesser mortals. or in the pages of scholarly works. Roscoe. quoted in the Norton Critical Edition of Wuthering Heights. whether among 'common readers'. What truly infatuated teenage girl tells a confidante that marrying the boy from whom she claims to be inseparable would degrade her? What of Catherine's claim.).).3 a fundamental problem manifests itself: the problem of sympathy. spoke interestingly of the inhuman passion of self-love in the novel. (New York. D. Jr. D. XLVIII. and everything he touches. 190 (1997) C?Oxford University Press 1997 . conventions. Leavis. first printed in Athenaeum 1883 and quoted in Allott (ed. C. even transcending the boundary between life and death. in M. 'A Fresh Approach to Wuthering Heights'. W. recklessly repeating unloverlike assertions such as 'I care nothing for your sufferings' and 'I have not one word of comfort-you deserve this'? For anyone who turns his or her 'attention to the human core of the novel'.2 and so on. 'The Unquestionable Supremacy of Emily'. It is often represented as an inexorable force. Leavis. M. 74-7 of Allott's Casebook 2 Swinburne's opinion. as Q. RES New Series. But to the adult reader who returns to Wuthering Heights.THE LUNATIC 'LOVERS' By AND IN THE DEVIL'S DISCIPLE: HEIGHTS THE WUTHERING THORMXHLEN MARIANNE ANY discussion of Wuthering Heights. uttered at the same time. The varying views regarding the relative degrees of evil exhibited by the characters in Wuthering Heights reflect the issue. Allott (ed. is bound to focus on the relationship between Catherine Earshaw and Heathcliff. R. from the early condemnations of L. 1970). That relationship is usually referred to as 'love'-'the passion of elemental love'. his review of Mrs Gaskell's Life of Charlotte Brontewas printed in NationalReviewin volume. (1924). and Q. in classrooms.98.from F. Emily Bronte Wuthering Heights:A Casebook (But an early commentator. W. Vol. to 'love the ground under [Edgar's] feet. Leavis urged WutheringHeights critics to do. 1969). 321. Lectures in America(New York. 1972). 121.) July 1857 and is reprinted on pp. Sale. and everything he says'? And how can two people supposedly in love torment each other so cruelly as Catherine and Heathcliff do.

199-215. Century 5 Like Edgar Linton. see e. 91. Southern Heathcliff at Nelly Dean's expense is J. I. Heights. not even for each other.CatherineEarnshawneversets any storeby being liked: during her father'sdecline. Twitchell. 1958).g. As forCatherineand Heathcliffthemselves.8 Sure of Heathcliff's. 8 See vol. i. her actionssometimesexacerbatethem. v. Heathcliff'sblackmailing effort over the colts.old Mr Earnshaw. too) that Nelly gradually withdraws from 4 Several commentators have remarked that moder criticism of Wuthering Heightshas tended to become increasingly sympathetic towards Heathcliff. p. I. all subsequent references to the text of Wuthering Heightsare to this edition. 13 (Dec. In fact.the growthof true sympathyforhim is checkedby severalcircumstances. even devotion (as is apparentin her love of her two charges. 65 in the World's Classics edition of Wuthering ed. I distinguish between mother and daughter by calling the elder 'Catherine' and the younger 'Cathy'. 6 Nelly to Lockwood. even to Catherine.It should be noted. and many Bronte critics. such as his lack of discernibleaffectionfor his benefactor. Hafsley's 'The Villain in Wuthering Heights'. 41.the realization that Hindley has cause to be jealous. 355-62. and later Edgar's. It is when the grown man resortsto deception and cruelty against those whom she loves (and against herself. x.11 (1977). she seems strangely unmoved by the sufferingsof the two 'lovers'whom she has known since childhood. ch. for example. vIII. during his years of degradation. p.NineteenthFiction. While the boy Heathcliff'swrongsat Hindley Earnshaw's hands at least fostera feelingthat he is the victimof harshnessand injustice. that none of this preventsNelly from pitying the young Heathcliffeven to tears and from trying. havinghad his nose cruellyput out ofjoint by the sudden arrivalof the new favourite.Jack (Oxford. and she does not have to: the 'honeysuckle'of the Grange dwellersis always all too ready to wind itself around her 'thorn'.to remedy his situation. unconditional devotion. though.but although she is capable of warmth.4Nelly herself illustratesthe difficulty: Nelly both Catherinesand Heathclifftreat her as a friend and confidante. 'I own I did not like her. vol. and his intractable sullenness. they have no tendernessor compassion for anybody. unsuccessfully. as James Hafsley and others have pointed out. 7 Vol.'6Nelly's frank admission preparesthe reader for her seeming callousnessin the face of young Mrs Linton'stroubles. after her infancy was past. . i. partly at Catherine's malicious instigation. 1981).7Nor does she take much trouble to win the friendship of the Lintons. whose parents died of Catherine's febrile illness and whose own life is subsequently ruined. and 'she was neverso happy as when we were all scolding her at once'. she takes positive delight in harassinghim. p.184 THORMAHLEN Heathcliffto the twentieth-century attemptsto assign the villain'srole to Dean (or even Lockwood). ch. The best-known attempt to rehabilitate Vampire'. Hareton and Cathy). J. 'Heathcliff as Humanities Review. ch. she is basicallyuninterestedin what anyone else might feel about her. The only person who really likes Catherine is her sister-in-lawIsabella.

spoilt.Severalrecentcommentatorshave picked up the suggestion. .but stubborn. in excerpts. The natureof the bond between Catherineand Heathcliffhas been the subjectof much speculation.9that Heathcliffmay have been an illegitimatechild of old This would go some Mr Earshaw's.Nor will anybody else afterthe death of old Mr Earshaw. it would explain Mr Earshaw's seemingly incomprehensible partialityfor the gypsy-darkfoundling.10 been regardedin the light of possible blood ties.firstput forward-as faras I havebeen able to find out-by Eric Solomon. who were also admirersof Byron. There are severalindicationsto the effectthat this absence of guidancetowardsan attitudeis the outcome of a deliberate authorial policy. It is a state of total alliancewhich ends with Catherine'sfirststay at 9 'The Incest Theme in Fiction. in several volumes printed in Early Victorian and of Wuthering Heightscriticism. who does nothing to check their intimacy. The chroniclersof Gondal and Angria. 14 (June 1959). In way addition. including Allott's Casebook the Norton Critical Edition of the novel. towards accounting for the kinship one senses between them. or Lockwoodwould never have asked the housekeeperat Thrushcross Grangeto tell him 'the historyof Mr. Heights'. and hence Catherine'shalf-brother.WUTHERING HEIGHTS 185 Heathcliff.or to decide to forgo the adoption of any point of view at all.talk of 'incest' seems a little off-target. has But if Catherine and Heathcliff are indeed related by blood. including that of halfsiblings. Heathcliff'.to the point of refusingto sit with him when he asks for someone to keep him company shortlybeforehis death.and she could not have renderedsuch a detailednarrative.Nineteenth-Century Wuthering 10 First Novelistsin 1935 and reprinted.The result is that the readeris liberatedfrom any pressureto identify with any person or persons in the novel.noted (as 'purity') by early reviewersand emphasized in Lord David Cecil's seminal appraisal. Fortunately. and inconsiderate. Bronti does not even allow young Cathywarmheartedand courageousin herself. The sexlessness of the Catherine-Heathcliffrelationship. Emily Bronte forces us to take up our own standpoint. were thoroughlyfamiliarwith the existence of various kinds of forbidden love.The failuresand foibles of the formerensure that a reader'ssympathyis not naturallydrivento fuse with any viewpointof theirs. The contrastbetween the humdrumnarrators Wuthering and the extraordinarymain protagonistsof the story has been Heights commented on for more than a hundred years. down to reproductionsof lengthy in conversations. The only time when the closeness between Catherineand Heathcliffis untroubled by anything except the interferenceof elders is their childhood. 80-3.too-to ingratiateherselfwith the reader.interestin a person is not dependent on sympathyfor him or her. Consequently.any more than she does with Lockwoodon his firstarrivalat the Heights. they will hardlyknow it themselves.

1952). 13 . Thompson in 'Infanticide and Sadism in Wuthering Heights'. This hardly constitutes exculpatory behaviourin any human being. she does not see him as a twin spirit. 'one does not mate with one's self. everythingshe wants of Wuthering Heights whenevershe wants it. Catherinetells Nelly that she is Heathcliff. v. when deliberatelyvexing family and servants is unproblematic:'when once she made you cry in good earnest. Nelly is shrewdenough. Century These two analyses were reprinted in A. with one's kind'. vIII. and oblige you to be quiet that you might comfort her. this is why she cannot understand why marriage to Edgar Linton would separate her from Heathcliff. p. ch. Heathcliffbeing a part of her.7 (Dec. to appreciatethat Catherine evinces this 'double characterwithout exactly intending to deceive anyone'. gaining access to the wealth and civilizinginfluence at the Grange. Her inability to conceive of any other viewpoints except her own is crucial to her relationshipwith Heathcliff.13 To Heathcliffis an extensionof her self and an integralcomponent Catherine. " Vol. p.Nor does she feel eroticallyattractedto him. i. refinement. and to admit the possibilityof other views of realitythan hers. in her TheEnglishNovel:Formand Function (New York. see pp. pathologicallyegotisticalCatherineEarnshawbegins to otheravenuesof self-gratification the ones she sharedwith her than explore childhood companion. When.). Exposed to the attractionsof luxury. from which she returns transformedinto a young lady. that makes for her undoing and Heathcliff's. 40. and be. she compels her victimsto devotetheir sympathyto the author of their anger and pain.'1 In otherwords. the part of her that is Heathcliffwill as it were marry him too. though.Nelly is amused by the 15-year-oldgirl's attemptsto adapt herselfto the company she happensto be in. acting in a ladylike manner among the Lintons and giving free rein to her 'unruly nature'at the Heights. It is Catherine's inability to regard her self and her conduct from a distance. as one critic has pointed out. W. and flattery(Frances Earnshawadoptsthe latterstrategyin her attemptsto civilizeher wayward the sister-in-law).186 THORMAHLEN the Grange. Van Ghent some ten years earlier. PMLA 78 (1963). Wuthering An of Heights: Anthology Criticism (London. I. 69-74. The same point was made by D. like Catherineherself. regardlessof age. When she marries Edgar. in the most quoted speech in the book.To a sane person.this seems a most peculiaridea. 66.it seldom happenedthat she would not keep you company. does not occur to the 'heroine' In it that she cannot have. ch. 1953). 1967). even 12 Vol. Everitt (ed. of her egomania.she means exactlywhat she says. in an article in NineteenthFiction.but Catherine'sselfof obsession is alwaysmore potent than the ordinaryself-centredness the Not even Nelly's suggestionthat the little girl means no real harm young. repr. 148 and 163. Not that she is totally insensitive to her surroundings. 'Pathologicallyegotistical'is a drasticexpression.12 her self-absorption.

delirium. with expressions such as 'fits. and left her small nephew helpless in his drunken father's hands when removing his nurse (whom Catherine selfishly wants for her own service). Stanford. TwentiethCentury Heights (Englewood Cliffs. 40. 18 C. recoils from it in disgust. and is only roused from it when Heathcliff invades the 14 In his preface to the Washington Square Press edition of the novel (1960). Catherine dies half-way through the book. 134. the Linton parents. in the Norton Critical Edition of the novel (pp. rages. One example of what looks like over-charitablenesstowards Catherine is offered by a critic who has observed that 'insanity is not so far away' from her. for he will not allow Cathy consciously to reconcile herself to her love for Heathcliff in the context of her idealized love for him' (a tough order for a devoted in husband.16 It is this self-love that sets the disastrous train of events in motion. with the ground-breaking essay itself. W. which must diminish her responsibility for her notions and actions. 1953. It is true that the initial cause of the dire events at the two estates is old Mr Earnshaw's bringing the child Heathcliff to Wuthering Heights. the effects would not have been so horrendous. A. 11112. but if Catherine had been able to register any valid desire or sentiment apart from her own. 1987). brought ruin and misery on her sister-in-law. mania[c].. J.or 16-year-old living in a remote spot in late eighteenth-century England. XIII. (Nor have those Wuthering Heights critics who have succumbed to the charms of the 'wild. 1968). but not before she has indirectly killed her benefactors. The sole rational grounds for extending any degree of clemency to this monstrous young woman are offered by her mental instability. p. Spark and D. The fact that Catherine becomes delirious following her quarrel with Heathcliff and Edgar in January 178418 and never recovers mentally afterwards is amply demonstrated by chs. see his Mad Women Romantic Writing (Brighton. 1994). ravings. and she seems to have been an extremely demanding patient-maybe one reason why the neighbourly Lintons offer to take her in.WUTHERING HEIGHTS 187 from a 15. v.). Martin says that Edgar would 'make a poor analyst. P. 16 A Her spot-on diagnosis in M. Vogler (ed. one would have thought). wick slip' of a girll5 to the extent of becoming blind to her 'curious case of selflove carried to the extreme'. 19 Vol. Oh. I. by arrangement with Cambridge University Press.'4 Nelly Dean. but she simply does not understand the nature of the young girl's all-exclusive (Heathcliff-inclusive) self-obsession. Gu6rardcalls Catherine's expectation to 'have' both Heathcliff and Edgar the 'major oddity' of the book. C. I. but she does catch her illness through sheer negligence. A. Catherine is left with a 'shaken reason'"9in a state of melancholy. 296-8). derangement. ch. P. Sanger's classic 'Chronology of Wuthering Heights'in his 'The Structure of Wuthering Heights'is reprinted. insanity. xi-xII in WutheringHeights. p. 17 It is a little unkind to lay this misfortune at Catherine's door.'7 destroyed the lives of the two men who love her. A similar chronology is prefixed to U. EmilyBronte: Life and Work(London. p. applying an ordinary rational creature's values and attitudes to the scheme proposed by Catherine. reissued 1985). Wuthering Heights:A Study(Athens. . 252 in the 1985 edition. ch. 15 Vol. the Interpretations Wuthering of preface is reprinted in T. madness'. Knoepflmacher.

he has a 'mania for gaming'. 88. but because he fears for her sanity. I.At one point.and Isabellais of courseno medical authority.21 Another is the repeatedadmonitionsof the rough but apparentlycapable Dr/Mr Kenneth. In. 22 Vol. Both old Mr Earnshaw'schildren testify to the fact:Hindley'swilfulself-destruction afterhis wife'sdeath is another token of mental imbalancein the family.20 This observation parallelsa phrasein where Mr Rochesterrefersto his mad wife's 'familiar'(as the Jane Eyre. xi. and the warningis not lost on EdgarLinton. I.and 'suspected slights of his authoritynearly threw him into fits'. ch. Hindley is not only addicted to alcohol. There are grounds for suspecting that Catherine'smental health has always been more pregnable than. p.who warnsfirstCatherine'sfamilyand then her husband not to let anythingvex or annoy her afterthe dangerousfevershe catches duringthe night of Heathcliff'sdeparture. 39. p. p. 21 Vol. 24 Vol. ch. i. 113. agent which prompts her to bur people in their beds.22 is noteworthythat his daughter. in.she qualms takes 'a naughty delight' in provokinghim. it is simply an early indicationof her lifelong inabilityto step outside the boundariesof her self.who a few years later It has regards anyone who contradicts her as a potential murderer.188 THORMAHLEN Grange again and has another passionatequarrelwith her-the 'lovers" last farewell. n.because he is afraid of her. ch. But there are indications that her mental instability goes furtherback. v. that of a 'cant lass' like Nelly. i. too (vol. Her father'slast illness is a bad omen: it is accompaniedby the very symptoms that will in due course afflict Catherine herself. I. p. 25 Vol. ch. xiII. while the Lintonsare inferior 20 Vol. 23 Vol. 305 in the World's Classics edition of Jane Eyreby Margaret Smith (Oxford. I. He takes greatcare that nothing should provoke his bride into a tantrum-not. and with good reason. p. . 187). v. ch. The physical sturdiness of the Earnshaws is hence not generally matched by soundness of mind. 41. ix.This amountsto sayingthat her mental constitutionhas been weakened by her illness. ch. p. and so on). '[H]e grew grievouslyirritable'. as has sometimesbeen suggested. One is suppliedby Nelly's comment to the effectthat during the firstrow. Isabellathinksthat he is 'on the verge of madness'25-though it has to be admitted that Hindley's life-styleover the past five years or so could have reduced the most strong-mindedman to that state. 141.24This behaviour is by no means deliberatelywicked. for instance. 1980).23 no about tormenting her visibly ailing father: on the contrary. But the contrast-noted by several commentators-between Edgar Linton's spiritual resilience following the loss of his wife and Hindley's moral collapsemakesit clearthat. p. '[t]hespiritwhich served[Catherine] growingintractable: was she could neitherlay nor controlit'. ch.

Hunter and I. 'A Victorian Alienist: John Conolly. Psychiatry 28 See A.who became ResidentPhysicianat Hanwellin lecturedat Mechanics'Institutesin the 1830sand became a national 1839.27 John Conolly. DCL (1794-1866)'.The questionof what the authormay have known about mental illness must be answered. R. Great strideswere being made in the care of sufferers manifestations of parliamentaryand public concern. Madhouses had been places of unmitigatedhorror and filth. and Outlinesof Lectures Insanity kept pouring from on . the earlynineteenthcenturywas a time when insanitywas a followmajorissue. F. 26 Isabella is arguably a poor Linton specimen. vol.WUTHERING HEIGHTS 189 to the Earshaws where physicalhealth is concerned. Charlotte's delineationof the BerthaMason case exhibiteda number of characteristic features in early nineteenth-century views on women and madness.). of of Insanity.121. Firstof all. Macalpine (edd. celebrityin the 1840s. i. By contrast.28 transforming laymen. FRCP. Porter. Afterall. W.too. and R. 1985).Bookswith such titles as Causes Cure and the presses. Conolly and many of his colleagues advocated 'constant superintendence. Scull.. The mental ing illness of King George III had contributedto makinginsanityand its treatment a matterof nationalinterest. There can be no doubt that the contemporarydebate on the treatment and cure of the insane was well known to the Bronte family. Scull. and M. however. 27 See e. A GeneralViewof the PresentState of Lunaticsand LunaticAsylums. TheMost Solitary Afflictions: Madness Society Britain 1700-1900 (New and in of Haven and London. 1993). Bynum. unlike her Earnshaw counterpart.g.a circumstance which ensured that it remained in the public eye for decades. The treatmentof the insane was a contentiousarea. A Treatiseon Insanity. A. ThreeHundredrears of (London. TheAnatomy Madness. 1963). Catherine.the rolesare reversed in the matterof mental and spiritualstrength.).and in a book whose language is so highly charged. laymen such as the Quaker Samuel Tuke at the York Retreat claimed that what they called 'moral treatment' was far more effective as well as more humane. and firmness when their institutionswith the aid of forward-looking required'. manages to break free from an intolerable situation and shows some initiative. by contrast. The Anatomyof Madness(London.26 So far. Shepherd (edd. some of the indications of mental ill health that I have quoted could be held to be coincidental circumstances. in Bynum et al.my contentionthat CatherineEarnshawLinton has a predisposition to insanitywhich duly develops into full-scalelunacy has only relied on the evidenceof the text itself.words such as 'madness'need not be taken literally. but it might at least be said in her defence that she. The medical profession insisted that mental illness was due to somatic disordersand should be remediedby medical means (includingpharmaceutical preparationsas well as the perennial purging). constant kindness.

Treatise. the phrenologist DrJ. (A detail in Knapp's chronology might be corrected here.33 Fevers. and the Brontes were thoroughly familiar with this branch of contemporary 'science'. 152. among women. were particularly dangerous in that they could cause a permanent weakness in the brain 'which continues when the other parts of the body have recovered their healthy tone'. for example. A Treatise theNature.g. Anne. 35 34 94. 1817). Charlotte New Casebook (Basingstoke. 89. 30 E. In the Haworth bible on illness. 141-62). OneCulture: Essaysin Science BronteVillette: A and Literature (Madison. 207). will literally have alienated some of his readersby arguing that the high Spurzheim incidence of insanity in England was connected with the rampant selfishness (manifest.). 122. in G.30Similarly. The Madwoman the Attic: The Woman Writerand the Nineteenth-Century Imagination(New Haven. "'The Surveillance of a Sleepless Eye": The Constitution of Neurosis in "Villette"'. or Madness: Women's Misogyny MentalIllness?(London and New York. Shuttleworth. Catherine's inability to recognize the reality.35All these circumstances are relevant to Catherine's case. orInsanity(London. Ussher. 32 on See e. Catherine dies at the age of 19. 167). C.Symptoms. 37 The term has been Branwell. 1987).Emily. 1992). and her self-identification with Heathcliff is another. Gilbert and S. and 'there is the greatest analogy between dreams and various symptoms' of madness.190 THORMAHLEN including the component of lewdness. 167. For a fascinating analysis of mental affliction in Villette. applied to Catherine by B. see S. Showalter.).32 A tendency to mental illness in a woman was apt to be activated by pregnancy and childbirth. Spurzheim points to the connection between madness and mortality (p. 1991).36 Disturbances in the self's relation to others are central to insanity and were always regarded as such. Madness.and Treatment Insanity of Medicine. both Catherine and Heathcliff might be called schizoid. Ellis. G.34'Sleep is often disturbed in Insanity'. 1992). Phrenology was very influential among 'mad-doctors' in the early 19th century.discussed against the background of early 19th-century psychology. as is Spurzheim's connection between extreme selfishness and insanity. (London.37 Catherine does not survive the realization that she 29 See the in chapter on Jane Eyre in S. Sir W. accepted wisdom among medical writers on madness that violent passions-especially. Spurzheim. Observations. I am sure that the mental illness of Catherine Earnshaw Linton owes a good deal to her creator's knowledge of the subject. 1987). in P. Nestor (ed. M. Ellis. 'amativeness'could cause insanity. especially in the young.31 Doctors also agreed that insanity was a hereditary disease. Treatise. Spurzheim.29 Elaine Showalter does not hesitate to refer to the explanations of Bertha's insanity offered in Jane Eyre as being 'taken from the discourse of Victorian psychiatry'. 42.) . 31 See e. 1979). Wisc. Spurzheim's Observations theDeranged on Manifestations the of Mind. The FemaleMalady: Women.1830-1980 (London. Knapp in TheBrontes: Charlotte(New York. among other things. 33 Ellis. Observations. Causes. 112-13. It was. Catherine's madness may be regarded as a factor in hastening her death. even existence. not 22. 36 Ibid. Gubar. and J.g. 313-35 (repr. John Graham's ModemDomestic Patrick Bronte underlined the words 'hereditary disposition' in the description of the causes of insanity. Levine (ed. in the English preoccupation with commerce) of her people (p. 1838).and EnglishCulture. L. of human needs and wishes outside her own is itself a sign of mental disturbance. 86. In more modern parlance. 171. 67.

dirty ploughboy to educated man of substanceis a cause forwonder among all who knew him before and for rapture on Catherine's part. The transformationfrom slouching. i.WUTHERING HEIGHTS 191 cannot haveboth Heathcliffand Edgar. see e. In a sense. 33. however morose.Heathcliffmust rid himself of the handicaps which he has heard Catherine describe as the impedimentsto a union with her: his poverty. ix. 81.and his low social status. at the Heights: when he leaves. p. a fact which Catherineherself acknowledgesin the last sentenceshe hearsher utter('ifthe wickedman in there had not brought Heathcliff so low.driveshim away. He was devoured by wild beasts' (Jack's note in the World's Classics edition of Wuthering Heights. as it turns out) of Hindley. Various possible causes of it are mentioned by charactersin the book. W.brought the 'fate of Milo'38 herself.demon. it is because Catherine. Catherine avers that this fate will befall anyone who tries to separate her and Heathcliff.imp. ch. they are undertakenas parts of projects formed in response to actions by others on himself. . 'When Milo attempted to pull a tree up by the roots and rend it the tree closed on his hands and held him fast. of course. ch. 41 This usage has not. A diabolical. though.Throughoutit.39 When Heathcliff comes back.his ignorance. The Bronte Novels(London.40 all-comprehensivechange could have taken place in a mere three years without supernatural intervention. devil. and his yearning to be avengedon Hindley.g. In orderto be able to achievehis dual purpose. Heathcliff. on Most analyses of Wuthering Heightsassign the part of prime mover to and his actionscertainlydominatemost of the book. His returnthree years later is dictated by two interrelatedmotives: his desire to see Catherine. Craik. he has the manners and bearing of a gentleman. he is attendedby such wordsas 'hell.fiend'. In her talk with Nelly just before Heathcliff's departure. I shouldn't have thought of [marryingEdgarLinton]'). p. goblin. but the total transformationof Heathcliff is different in kind and extent from the civilizing (temporary. however briefly.and that she has. A. 347). 39 Vol. infernal.41 pact with the devil along Faustianlines would have held no terror for the young man who regards his 'soul'. p. gone unnoticed among Bronte critics. 1968).The boy Heathclifflives reasonablycomfortably under old Mr Earshaw's rule and miserablyunder Hindley's. ix.unwittingly. in effect. I. 40 Three years at university certainly work considerable change in Hindley Earnshaw. The novel does indicate a source of such assistance. 80. none very (PatrickBronti's passportto English seriously-a sizar'splace at university highway robbery-but it is hard to imagine that such an respectability). Satan. His thirst for revengeis partlymotivatedby the fact that all these handicaps are of Hindley's making. but especially after Heathcliff's return as a wealthy and powerfulman. and he is rich. the girl who 38 Vol. but closeness to Catherine is enough to keep him.

Schuller des and W. ch. ch. ch. demoniac possession. 45 Vol. Their favouriteauthors were interested in of. vni.46 Brontis will have known if not read. 1993). However. I. 92. R. therebyadding the final and most shatteringblow to years of persecution which (accordingto Nelly) were 'enough to make a fiend of a saint'. T. In M.all these factorsfeaturedin Britishas well as in continentalfictionaltales. 95. i. see also p. p. 18 (Mar. Drew's excellent article.with or without a love interestattached.42 But there was never anything saintly about the child who was 'as dark or almost as if it came fromthe devil'.worldlypower-and revenge. as lost already.192 THORMAHLEN rejectedhim for someone else. 34. A.45 Pactswith the devilare usually formedfor one of severalpurposes.43 about the boy who repudiatedthe idea of leavingthe punishmentof the wickedto God-'God won't havethe Under the Hindley terror.'it appeared[to Nelly] that I shall'. His duskyskin and blackeyes and hair strike everyone who sees him as his most distinctiveoutward features. Die andereKraft:Zur Renaissance Bosen (Berlin. G. 187. prehensive enquiry into the reasons for this notion elsewhere.in Nineteenth-Century where the relevantpassages occur on pp. p. vol. p. Coleridge's 'Christabel'.g. see e. 1986). 46 See H.to mention just a few specimens in an abundant flora. where Heathcliff-even after being rapturously greeted by Catherine-waits under the porch until expressly guided into the house by Nelly on Edgar's orders. P. p. in A. 1964). see also J. 365-81 (repr. 168-213 on 'The Romantic Devil'. wealth. he is a plausible emissary from the prince of darknessand of chaos. Like other agents of evil. in e. C. men sell themselves The and their souls forlove. it merits a separate discussion. 65.The child Heathcliff brings disorderinto a previouslywell-organizedfamily. Russell. i. For The general background. B.g. Maturin's The Fatal Revenge.or Melmoththe Wanderer (1820). Brittnacher. 44 Vol. von Rahden (edd.uncharacteristically.all of which are relevant to Heathcliff's situation and requirements:riches.and whose sole purposein life is to be avenged on the person that brought about her rejection. Allott (ed. 43 Old Mr Eamshaw's description.disruptingfamily ties and forminga focusof extremeemotion. 'darednot enter'the Grange and the man Heathcliff. ch. The issue of Emily Bronte's debts. The idea of a Faustian pact has been mentioned in passing by a few previous Bronte scholars. In both respects. to Hoffmann has been raised now and then over the past century. knowledge/learning.).). R. English translationin 1824). if any. 'Charlotte Bronte as a Critic of Fiction. on his returnto the neighbourhood. and E.44 satisfaction as if the lad werepossessed of something diabolical'. iv. x. 'Der Leibhaftige: Motive und Bilder des Satanismus'. Mephistopheles: Devil in the Modem World(Ithaca and London. these works. I. 255 and 258).Around 1800. Cf. he has to rely on wellintentioned people for admission to Christianhomes: old Mr Earnshaw carriesthe small boy inside WutheringHeights wrappedin his greatcoat. where the evil creature Geraldine has to be helped across the threshold by the innocent girl whom she then sets out to destroy. VIII. . too: Sir Walter Scott wrote a lengthy (400 pages) 42 Vol. and power. I have not seen a comCasebook. Hoffmann'sDie Elixiere Teufels des (1816. Lewis's TheMonk(1796). Wuthering Heights'. 60.

deities. seeJ. the bargain between the devil and the young man is sealed with blood from the latter's arm. Rain and Hail. I might be whiter. 1989). Borchmeyer. Faust through Four Centuries: and Retrospect Analysis/ Vierhundert und Jahre Faust:Ruckblick Analyse(Tibingen. 50 See D. 1830). 224-8. and both refer to the most famous of contemporary Teufelspakte.5 in order berevenged to Bridgewater. Zillah is one of Lamech's two wives. For useful information about the vicissitudes of Faust in Britain. the name of the housekeeper at Wuthering Heights under Heathcliff's regime. If I chose.. some of which found its way into print. it might be noted that Byron calls Abel's wife Zillah. The EnglishFaust Book:A Critical J. but not uncomely'.WUTHERING HEIGHTS 193 and discourse on the subject called Letters Demonology Witchcraft. fetch'd him away . 47 (London. EditionBasedon the Text of 1592.49In a typical exchange between the about-to-be-transformed young man and the devil ('the Stranger') in Byron's drama. 98 and 176-7.50 lore to which the Literary works were not the only source of Teufelspakt Brontes and their contemporaries had access. whom the Christian cannot but believe in (p. in P. to which compliment the Stranger replies (p. ed.but I have a penchant For black-it is so honest. ingenuously. Scott is interested.the Devil in a dreadful Stormof Thunder and Light'ning. and demons. a young Gentlemanin the Parish of that soldhimselfto theDevilfor twelverears. 51 This was one customary period for the devil's service. and E. . 169.) 49 See p. the former says. Jones (Cambridge. 63). As late as 1769. one of several editions. 217 in Scott's book and the preface in Byron's. and 'no one ought to be without' it. H. and evil in Manfredand Cain. W. Butler.being A strange and wonderfulrelation of Thomas Williams. on his Fatherand Mother. In true Teufelspakt fashion. but not credulous. 'Your aspect is I Dusky. this work was '[v]ery useful and necessary for Christian Families'. another was the double time-span. Smeed. 28). Johnson (edd. a pamphlet was printed bearing the following title: A Timely Warning To all Rash and Disobedient Children. According to the title-page admonition. 'Gerettet und wieder gerichtet: Fausts Wege im 19. he distinguishes between witches. Part I of Faust was first published in 1808 and Part II in 1832. See e. 1952).47 in on and addition to his explorations of men. 48 (London. 1994).48 in connection with their sources. Boerner and S. There was a store of domestic legendry on the subject. Jahrhundert'.passim. (In Genesis 4..Goethe's Faust.and how his time beingexpired. 1824). early nineteenth-century Britain did not lack writers who would agree with Achim von Amim that '[e]s sind noch nicht genug Fauste geschrieben' and with Heinrich Heine that 'jeder Mensch sollte seinen Faust schreiben'. With respect to Cain. 1975).). the unfinished Both Scott and Byron mention 'Monk' Lewis The DeformedTransformed. in whom he does not believe. M. twenty-four years. The Fortunes Faust (Camof bridge. Obviously.g. Faust in Literature (London. and besides Can neitherblush with shame nor pale with fear. Lord Byron composed his own drama of a pact with Satan.

if she envisaged a Faustian pact as their cause? There are several answers to this question.52 Interestingly enough. and when Nelly finds his corpse. sending a clatterof stones and soot into the kitchenfire. too. I felt some sentiment that it must be a judgment on us also. Lockwood is forced to remain at the Heights. spare the righteous. and suffer his ghastly nightmare. pp. and knockeddown a portionof the east chimneystack. but I think their use in such stories contributes one dimension. And she did take care to supply those indications: in addition to the many references to infernal personages. and Joseph swung onto his Noah and Lot. 84-5. and practices-most. Third. It is sometimes Radcliffe's The Mysteries Udolpho of easier to be persuaded to suspend disbelief than to be bludgeoned into accepting literality. There is a downpour on the night of Heathcliff's death. One of its hands is grazed by the same lattice which drew blood from the waif Catherine's arm in Lockwood's dream. For instance. and in the night following Heathcliff's departure from Wuthering Heights. of course. 53 52 Vol. allowing for a wide variety of reactions from her readers. Thunderstorms and rain typically accompany the appearances and disappearances of the devil in Faustian tales. places. as in knees. First of all. Emily Bronte's story treads a fine line between realistic narrative and fantasy. i. as well as thunder. but by no means all. Joseph refers to this dramatic thunderstorm as a 'visitation' and states his conviction that it 'worn't for nowt'. ix. one might ask. a bare statement to that effect could never have been built into the novel: how was any one of its narrators to know? Second. connected the book. though he smote the ungodly.194 THORMAHLEN In Wuthering Heights images such as stormy. There was a violent wind.a huge bough fell acrossthe roof. We thought a bolt had fallen in the middle of us. a particularly violent storm came rattlingover the Heights in full fury. ch.53 Leaving the matter as an open mystery while supplying plenty of subtle indications for readers to deal with or overlook as they see fit was a far more suggestive approach. Other main events in the novel are accompanied by extreme weather. did Emily Bronti not spell out the origin of Heathcliff's wealth and new-found gentleman status. beseechingthe Lord to rememberthe Patriarchs former times.and either one or the other split a tree off at the cornerof the building. in Hindley's impotent rage. she may have registered the impatience felt by many readers of the Gothic novel with the overly neat explanations which writers like Ann Radcliffe provided by way of conclusions to their stories. there are several allusions to with Heathcliff-throughout Heathcliff's likely destination. For example. by a blizzard. and I think she took care not to compromise that freedom of response. it is drenched with rain water. quite a few readers felt (and feel) let down on learning that the horrificvision in was merely a waxen image of putrefaction. . and. rainy weather and blood from wrists evoke a wide range of connotations. Why.

141 and vol. 61 Vol. heaven is being on the moors by Wuthering Heights. if only towardsHeathcliff)goes to heaven and Heathcliff(who dies unrepentant)to hell. ch. ix. i.60 Option (a) is favouredby Nelly's certainty.as she looks on the face of the dead Catherine('thatuntroubledimage of Divine rest'). vmII. 80 and vol. p. ch. 335. ch.followedby the perditionof his bondsmanafterthe death of the body (Goethe'sFaustwas. 'giring at death'. and 'that old man by the fire has seen two on 'em . p. pp. 55 Vol. by definition. i.. There is another reason to be glad that Emily Bronti refrainedfrom providingan explanationwhich would haveimposed a rigideschatological patternon her story. xx. i. 334. literally. In. 176. 149 ('existence. xx.. p.p. I.is investedwith particularironic grimness by his swearing 'on [his] salvation' that her cousin will die unless she comes to save him. Catherinestatesthat giving Isabellato Heathcliffin marriage 'is as bad as offering Satan a lost soul'55(thereby condemning her own atrocious behaviour in furtheringthe alliance)..The appearanceof Heathcliff's corpse and the manner of his going certainly give Joseph good reason for believing that '[t]h' divil's harried off his soul'. by courtesyof the powersof darkness. ch.as they are seen to 'walk'on stormynights. Isabellarefersto the same place as 'his right abode'. ch.A pact with the devil is. 56 Vol. p. p. p. one must assume. xx.58To Catherine. ch. 58 See vol. 233. pending the Last Trump. p. (b) Both sleep quietly together in the earth by Gimmerton Kirk."7But such a tidy courseof eventscompromisesthe complexityof the heaven-and-hellmetaphorswhich form such a fascinatingcomponent in the relationshipbetween Catherine and Heathcliff.when he lures her awayfromher sick father. . in. it is being with Catherine.59No wonder he invitesher to haunt him. Wuthering Heightsoffersthree possible views of Catherine and Heathcliff's fate after death: (a) Catherine(who shows some contritionon her death-bed. 164-5. p. n. 54 Vol. x.p. ch. would be hell'). '9 See vol. n.Both explicitly reject heaven. see vol. after Heightscritic (as Philip Drew has losing her. 93 ('I'm in hell till you do!') and vol. ch. 336. ch. and to Heathcliff. ch. (c) Catherineand Heathcliff find the joint heaven they both dreamt of-at least partly. 11 in the Norton Critical Edition's reproduction of her preface to the 1850 edition of Wuthering Heights). 57 Vol. Heathcliff's treacheryto young Cathy.56 less substantialthing to A swearby can hardlybe imagined in his case. II. xi. xmII. ii. on every rainy night since [Heathcliff's] death'.. To be separated from the girl he calls his life and his soul is. afterall.that '[w]hether still on earth or now in Heaven.54 In addition. ch.WUTHERING HEIGHTS 195 the true masterof WutheringHeights talks of killing Heathcliff. n. said that Heathcliff is '[doomed] . 112. I.'and hell shall have his soul'. II. her spirit is at home with God!'61The marked contrastwith Heathcliff's body. 60 The shepherd boy 'saw' them on a 'dark evening threatening thunder'. Charlotte Bronte.to be in hell. xiv. to carry Hell with him wherever he wanders' (p. a shrewd Wuthering demonstrated). an exception to the rule exemplifiedby Marlowe'sFaustus).

as It anything but grotesque: 'unless you be a fiend.. x. Catherine has accused Edgar and Isabella of being 'spoiled children' who 'fancy the world was made for their accommodation'-an unwittingly self-diagnosing piece of pure burlesque which Nelly loses no time in turning the right way round (pp. but it is hardto regardhis subsequentexhortationto EdgarLinton. After a damning recapitulation of Heathcliff's crimes. too. I. 70Daemonic Enthrallment Literature in 1. 1988). to talkin that manner to me. 1989).. During their last meeting. our acceptanceof these people is what one would call an authoritativewitness.196 THORMAHLEN by supportsit. Her question is. 270-3. help me to convince her of her madness'62). when you are dying?'63 tactlessnessof this exclamation The the less than chivalrous'Don't tortureme till I'm as mad as yourself') (like can be ascribed to Heathcliff's heart overflowingat his mouth. as the cautious Lockwood recognizes. 62 it is partly dependent on the reliability we assign to local rustics. On 'cold reflection'. The Flutesof Dionysus: (Lincoln. pp. Recent criticismof Wuthering Heightshas reflectedgrowinguneasiness over the reluctanceof many mid-twentieth-century scholarsto recognize As the fundamentalwickednessof Heathcliff. which implies elaborationis the way in which Bronti makes Catherineand Heathcliffimpute their own abnormitiesto others. T. One element. HeathcliffwildlyasksCatherine. 'something heterodox'. even more preposterously. Nebr. None of Ibid. and R. The case for(b) is put.Nelly even comes to doubt her own assuranceto the extent of asking Lockwood to dispel her doubts of a happy afterlifefor such as CatherineEamshaw Linton. 163.. and London.'Nelly. 98-9).Catherine has the bad taste-to put it mildly-to taunt the lovesickIsabellawith being mad ('You are surelylosing your reason'. I. the last paragraph of the novel.who entersthe room to find his adoredwife senseless in the arms of the man he hates. Stock exclaims. it seems to me. Stock. '"Primordialenergy" can do better than this!' 64 II. ch. Emily Bronti has left her readersto answerit for themselves-another example. 101-2.'Is she sane?'. Demon-Lovers TheirVictims BritishFiction(Lexington.g. . Shortly before.here Lockwoodis the spokesman. with a bearing on the lunacy-cum-devilry dimension. unforgettably. 159. 65 See in and e.65 the precedingreviewof his diabolicaldimensionshas implied. of her consistentrefusalto provideus with a pointd'appui which we can at seek shelterfromthe stormsof Wuthering Heights.As for(c).'Areyou possessedwith a devil. D. help her first'. I have avoidedreferring the bond betweenCatherineand Heathcliff Vol. p. Reed. Ky. ch.and he prudentlydeclines to answerit. 63 Vol. that reactionseems a reasonableone to to me.64 is difficultto believe that such pointed absurditiesare not the result of an authorialstrategy. There will alwaysbe those who resistthe notion that Wuthering is Heights a carefully wrought literary work written by an artist who brought deliberation and detachment to her writing as well as imagination and 'native genius'.

at last!'67-communicates itself to any reader. Consequently. as it does to Lockwood. and put quotation marks around the word 'lovers' as applied to them. the anguish of Heathcliff's outburst at the window by the box-bed at Wuthering Heights. ch. 66 Vol. Similarly. But this does not amount to maintaining that the mutual obsession of a mentally unstable girl and a man with dubious priorities lacks power and pathos. a climactic moment puts an end to Heathcliff's Revenger's Tragedy. ch. this moving little scene is a major turning-point in the novel. thereby freeing his consciousness for its gradual invasion by a sense of Catherine's nearness: entering the Heights. because the nature of their passions fits no description of the concepts known to me. have no patience with Catherine and little empathy with Heathcliff cannot but have time for them both. 67 Vol. do come. even readers who. I. III. . simultaneously. hear me this time-Catherine. Here it does not seem overly sentimental to speak of love extinguishing the impulse to revenge.WUTHERING HEIGHTS 197 as 'love'. p. Undramatic as it is. On the contrary: few scenes in classic English fiction are as harrowing as the one where the delirious Catherine identifies the bird species that contributed to the feathers in her pillow and is horror-struck by her own image in the looking-glass. like Nelly. after Lockwood has told him of his nightmare-'Cathy. pp.66 Here Nelly Dean's harshness ('Give over with that baby-work!') really grates on the reader. 122-4. and meet his-two pairs of eyes. studying. Oh doonce more! Oh! my heart's darling. XII. They lift their eyes. The monstrosities of the two main protagonists of WutheringHeights hence do not invalidate the force and genuineness of their emotions. 27. I. Heathcliff finds Cathy and Hareton together. and both hers. Towards the end of the book.

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