Thursday, April 5, 2012

"Life on Moors"

My friend B. brought to my attention a recent (3/9/12) New York Times Magazine article by Daphne Merkin titled "Life on Moors: The Ghostly Allure of Bronte Country Beckons a Writer Back." Merkin recently visited the area in Yorkshire that is "the obdurate, timeless landscape that bred the celebrated Bronte sisters and fertilized their singular literary imaginations." She writes about their tiny village of Haworth, in the "remote, windswept setting where they [the Brontes] felt most at home." She remembers being drawn as a young woman to the Brontes' characters and to their writing "so powerfully about female aspirations and subversive love." She finds that although there are some tourists there, the village is remarkably unchanged, and -- according to a local bookstore owner -- that the village is full of eccentrics. Merkin writes that she is "struck by the overwhelming sense of solitariness that this landscape invokes -- and also by its eerie allure." Coincidentally, my colleague/friend A., who teaches at a university in England, posted today on Facebook that he has finally read Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights," and found it, although "beautifully written," "such a depressing story of human depravity." His post reminded me of how my own feelings regarding "Wuthering Heights" had changed over the years. When I was young, I found it dramatic, romantic, and brooding; as I noted here on 5/4/10, when I tried to re-read it a few years back, I found it so dark and crazily intense that I couldn't continue reading. I do, on the other hand, love Charlotte Bronte's novels, especially "Jane Eyre" and "Villette," and have re-read each of them several times with great pleasure.

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