At the beginning of the year I set myself the target of reading 45 books in 2018, and so far I am progressing really well. I am prioritising reading like never before! So much so that I have sacrificed some interesting television, some of my less important writing, and a little bit of my already sparse social life.
But one of my secondary targets was that five of the books I had to read would be classic novels, as I haven’t read nearly enough of those and am wanting to make up for lost time. So last week I made a start on the first of them, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.
It was an interesting change from the books I normally read, and the whole way in which I approach reading Wuthering Heights is a lot different.
I find I cannot gloss over a single sentence. Every word, every turn of phrase, carries a great deal of meaning, and adds considerable context to the story. As a result, I am reading Wuthering Heights much slower than my normal speed, because I am just determined not to miss anything important, or allow some of the more complex language to be lost in translation.
Reading 19th century prose is not especially difficult. There are some ways of speaking that have grown outdated and words which are no longer in common use, but I am not struggling to understand what they mean. I guess it is more the outcomes and the implications of what the characters say, that make a bit of a difference here.
As for the book itself, I really like it. Because it is such a famous novel, I of course knew some bits and pieces about it before I started reading, but I have gradually understood how it is considered a classic; there are so many layers to the book, the relationships between the characters and the fact the whole story is a retrospective account from an attendant.
There is a real Romeo and Juliet feel of ‘star-crossed lovers’ about the relationship of young Catherine and Linton, while Heathcliff is an interesting villainous character. The characters are enjoyable to read about, because of the sophisticated way Bronte developed the sequence of events. And that is where the underlying message of the novel lies. The consequences of one’s actions.
If all the classic novels I read are as interesting and fun to read as Wuthering Heights, I shall definitely get started on reading more!