The Twilight of Wuthering Heights

        I was reading Entertainment Weekly and noticed an article on the reprint of Emily Brontës 1847 novel Wuthering Heights, filmed in 1939 and 1954. It seems that a certain teenage fictional character named Bella has brought it to a whole new era of readers. (She reads it and carries it around in the book Twilight.) The book Twilight, like Wuthering Heights, is a story that is based around a very dark character and his unattainable beloved. The lives and loves of these characters in both stories are parallel to each other. Like Heathcliff and Catherine, the characters of the Twilight books are hopelessly in love and kept from each other. They are willing to do anything to be together. I think it is a testament to the time period in the novel Wuthering Heights, which was made in 1847, that it was defined as a gothic novel. Twilight is considered a gothic story because of a different reason than Wuthering Heights. Twilight is a gothic novel because it is a love story about vampires, werewolves and humans.

        Then in 1939 Director William Wyler and Samuel Goldwyn, shined Wuthering Heights up and made what some would refer to it as a viewer friendly movie. Obviously this plan worked because it was nominated for various awards. Also there were numerous actors, Laurence Oliver, nominated, Best Actor at the 1939 Academy Awards, and Geraldine Fitzgerald, nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the 1939 Academy Awards also. It won a NYFCC Award in 1939 for best picture of the year as well and an Academy Award for Best Cinematography (black and white). Later in 1954 Luis Buñuels version, Los Abismos de Pasion returned the story to the darker side of the spectrum. His version is closer to what Emily Brontë had in mind when she wrote the novel, except that it is set in Mexico. In Luis Buñuels version the characters are also shown to be darker and almost sinister at times.

        The story itself, in both books, is generally the same. Two people fall in love but cannot be together due to extreme circumstances. Then a second love interest is introduced to the female heroine of the story, inevitably forming a love triangle. In both stories we find out that the couples cannot be together until death.

        It is funny to me how trends to repeat themselves. Although the reprint of the book will have a new dust jacket cover, to be more teenager friendly, it is the same gothic novel inside that the readers will have the pleasure of indulging in. I guess it almost seemed ironic that a novel written in 1847 will be a trend to read in 2009. My conclusion is that this is a classic story that can be enjoyed by anyone of any time period.

Kristin Anderson