[DWJ] Book recommendations

Elizabeth Evans er.evans at auckland.ac.nz
Wed Nov 15 18:56:33 EST 2006

Minnow wrote about Wuthering Heights:

*Wuthering Heights* has made me angry ever since I read it, and every
someone starts in to say what a wonderful book it is and how much better
than anything by Jane Austen and so forth I want to scream and throw
things, or perhaps emulate its principal male character and kill a puppy
two just to relieve my feelings.

I'm sure there are eloquent defenders to be found on this list: would
anyone like to have a go at explaining what is wonderful about
Depths*?  *I* think it is melodramatic and self-indulgent tosh,
ill-constructed, full of inconsistencies and plot-holes one could drive
coach-and-four through, and with the deplorable message that behaviour
including necrophilia and serial child-abuse is romantic, but so many
people I don't otherwise see as nitwitted seem to find in it things to
admire that I periodically go back to it trying to find what I must have
missed, and I always come away with the same question:

What *is* it about that load of old fetid dingoes' kidneys that appeals
so many people?

Well, I'll give it a go . . .
Cerebrally (as it were), I understand what you mean, but I think there
is more to WH than the storyline, which, as you say, might not stand up
to sustained analysis. My take on why its popularity has lasted so long
is that there is something about the emotional intensity depicted in the
story which makes it extraordinarily moving. As you say, the
protagonists themselves are totally selfish and worse, but their
obsession with themselves has a kind of grandeur to it. I think it's an
extraordinary book for the very excess of emotion depicted. 

This all looks very meagre on the page and doesn't express well what I
was trying to say, but I'll let it stand.

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