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January 18, 2007

Oh, it's a wonderful castle! Heathcliff, let's never leave it.

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One of the joys of strolling through the referral logs is finding a blog I might not otherwise have come across. I believe BrontëBlog may have found the Flea through the equally enjoyable pursuit of search engine surfing for material. There is far too much at BrontëBlog for me to link. Suffice to say I am now on a quest for a Brontë Cheeseburger and am very curious about a promised Filipino Wuthering Heights. This quoted observation about the behaviour of French school-children in museums is spot on; one of the most shocking things I have ever seen was the yelling and laughter and cries of "Juifs!" amongst an unescorted party of the little monsters in the Holocaust section of the Imperial War Museum. But such memories are to see red.

A better train of thought leads to answering Agent Bedhead's question as to whether the Flea is more "Heathcliff or the more dashing and refined Edgar Linton". Upon reviewing Laurence Olivier as the former and David Niven as the latter in the 1939 adaptation the answer is clear. Whatever that might be, best leave Cathy to beset someone else with her prevarication and neuroses. There must be less irritating choices to be made in the County or off in a lucrative new life in America. A quick rule of thumb: When you hear the words "You could come back to me rich and take me away. Why aren't you my prince like we said long ago? Why can't you rescue me, Heathcliff?" it is time to run, not walk, for the nearest exit. Though, in fairness, given my "romantic" life has been considerably more tortuous than Heathcliff's I am in no position to be giving advice.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at January 18, 2007 06:54 AM

Comments

There are certain excellent stories that you don't necessarily want to live in. I had a similar problem when I was involved with a woman who thought--seriously--that Holly Golightly was an absolutely terrific role model. (And no, I wasn't smart enough to move quickly toward the exit.)

You do know, don't you, that the Kate Bush song "Wuthering Heights" was inspired by the 1939 movie, not the book? NTTAWWT. It's a pretty nifty film.

Posted by: utron [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 18, 2007 10:56 AM

I feel your pain, brother. I was with a Holly Golightly on and off for ten years.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 18, 2007 11:07 AM

Aren't you the guy that once disdained Jane Austen (6 novels, 1 novella, 2 unfinished, etc) as chick-lit? And now one-hit wonder Emily fargin' Brontë gets a pass? =)

Posted by: Chris Taylor [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 18, 2007 03:30 PM

But Mr. Taylor, it was you who convinced me of the error of my earlier assessment. I am now hording those precious few Jane Austen novels unread; choosing to spread them out across a life-time rather than taking them in all of a rush.

Besides, I enjoy the radical ambiguity of Wuthering Heights. I can see why the Surrealists enjoyed it so much.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 18, 2007 03:43 PM

I find the Brontës tend to be a little (well, more than a little) 19th century Romantic, whereas Ms. Austen is basically an 18th century Tory. There is a definite "moral" to Austen stories and she basically reinforces the duty, integrity, honour notions of the times. The Brontës don't tend to moralise as much and leave, as you note, a lot of ambiguity.

If you had to boil them down to one-line summaries then they would go something like this:

Austen: Do your duty, don't lose your head -- be measured and moderate and everything will work out fine, even if you screwed up at first.

Brontës: Chase that unattainable goal, because even if you screw everything up royally and permanently it's better than not trying at all.

Posted by: Chris Taylor [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 18, 2007 04:57 PM

I have been trying lately to be a bit more Jane Austen in my life management. I am, however, on the verge of pulling another Brontë maneuver...

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 18, 2007 06:24 PM

No Bronte life maneuvers ever end in happiness.

As to Austen, I do believe her writing to be wuite complex and critical of society. She was an excellent satirist who shouldn't be taken lightly as the movie adaptations of her works suggest.

Posted by: agent bedhead [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 18, 2007 07:09 PM

quite complex . . .

Posted by: agent bedhead [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 18, 2007 07:10 PM

I guarantee you that a Bollywood movie has already been made featuring your exact circumstance and whatever events unfold. Except in real life you won't have that cool thousand-extra song-and-dance routine on the top of a moving train. Bollywood loves those Bronte/Shakespeare mashups, like Tere Naam.

Posted by: Chris Taylor [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 18, 2007 07:19 PM

But maybe this time the maneuver will work...

Though I constantly feel the lack of a thousand backing dancers.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 18, 2007 07:33 PM

Being on the verge of my very own Brontëan maneuver of epic proportions, I can only wish you luck in yours.

Maybe if we pool our resources, we can hire a decent group of shared backing dancers (mine do not have to be jumpsuited, despite what you may think).

Posted by: Elvis [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 20, 2007 12:28 PM

Clearly, we are going to need to find some backing dancers.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 22, 2007 07:23 PM