by Catriona Mills

Well, I Wouldn't Say Literature Is Dead, Exactly . . .

Posted 6 September 2009 in by Catriona

But, yes, I am as disturbed as the next person by the news I found over on Topless Robot: that HarperCollins is bringing out a new edition of Wuthering Heights—with a cover based around the cover art for Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, and a tag claiming that this is “Bella and Edward’s favourite book.”

That’s fine: you weep a little if you want. Or faint. Or giggle.

I’ll be here when you get back.

No, this is not a mock-up: here, have a look at the HarperCollins website, where you can pre-order this for only U.S.$8.99.

Now, I do have a problem with this and, oddly, it’s not the same as Topless Robot’s problem: I’m actually deeply fond of Wuthering Heights, as a good little nineteenth-century scholar should be.

It’s such a nasty book, you just have to enjoy it.

(Thought I do admit to bewilderment that people find Heathcliff sexy. Mr Rochester? Oh, my: yes. But Heathcliff? Not working for me, I have to say.)

And, as I’ve admitted here, I enjoyed the Twilight series—at least until Edward started really creeping me out in book three (why, yes: I am a little slow), and until I read book four.

But I have to ask: in what way is this Edward and Bella’s favourite book? If I recall correctly, Bella says it’s one of her favourites, but Edward says he can’t abide it, until he’s stuck with nothing to read while Bella talks in her sleep all night, and then he finds one of Heathcliff’s more psychotic passages about wanting to rend Edgar Linton limb from limb, and suddenly warms to the book.

Not what I would call the most common reason for enjoying Emily Bronte’s only novel.

In the long run, is this actually going to kill literature? I wouldn’t have thought so.

Is it going to make more people read Wuthering Heights? Well, it might make more people buy the novel, and I don’t suppose that the publisher cares whether the purchasers actually read it: it’s not as though Emily’s going to be writing a sequel any time soon.

So this doesn’t mark the death of literature, for me.

But it is deeply, deeply silly.

Still, there’s always amusement value in the tagline, which you can see better in the full-size image.

“Love Never Dies”?

That depends on your definition of “die,” doesn’t it?

And also of “love.”

Share your thoughts [7]

1

Tim wrote at Sep 6, 09:25 AM

And yet you tell me it’s a good thing that J K Rowling is getting more kids to read.

2

Catriona wrote at Sep 6, 10:25 AM

And it is!

It’s just not such a good thing that so many of them go on to read what they do.

;)

3

Tim wrote at Sep 6, 11:23 AM

But now they’ll be led to great works of literature! :)

4

Catriona wrote at Sep 6, 12:47 PM

Tim, I can no longer tell which side of this debate you’re on!

Part of me can’t help thinking, “But they’ll be reading classic literature for all the wrong reasons!”

(Then another part of me tells the first part of me not to be so uptight, and it kind of goes downhill from there.)

Still, next they’ll have to bring out a Twilight-themed Romeo and Juliet, which will probably have all the funny bits taken out.

5

Tim wrote at Sep 7, 02:38 AM

I am (he said grandiosely) on the side of Art.

;)

6

Catriona wrote at Sep 7, 02:52 AM

I’m not the only Leavisite in this conversation, then . . .

7

Tim wrote at Sep 7, 05:18 AM

Ha! Touché. :)

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