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Paper Proposal

For my final paper, I would like to use a metaphysical approach to explore the connection between Catherine and Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights as a direct mirror of their destructive environment and how this in turn causes them to be destructive to themselves and one another. To do this, I will begin with establishing what ideal love resembled in the Gothic/Victorian era. This image will be present in both literature and real life figures that had a prevalent presence in England. I will then use this as a standard to which the Catherine and Heathcliff’s love will be held to, to determine it destructive or not. However, the metaphysical lens will prove itself useful after I have presented the history of Eros during the Victorian Era. As this is a Gothic/Victorian novel, using a lens that is something other than Psychoanalytic will be a rather refreshing means of research.

There hasn’t been much written on this topic. However, one of the prolific writers in this field who has been considered to have altered the way in which the novel is viewed, deeply believes the theme of Wuthering Heights is metaphysic. His name is Lord David Cecil, and he wrote the book, Early Victorian Novels proposing that the novel’s main conflict is between the calm and the storm. He believes that Wuthering Heights is the storm and Thrushcross Grange is the calm. Other critics have written about Cecil, either disclaiming his theory, or praising it for its innovative thinking.

There is a gap in the current understanding of what I am proposing, in that, this is a topic that hasn’t been entirely explored. Upon researching like-minded critics of this work, I found a handful worthwhile that simply mentioned Wuthering Heights and the term “metaphysics” in the same sentence. To write a research paper exploring the Catherine and Heathcliff’s relationship as destructive in comparison to their surroundings, will be an attempt to close this gap. Many people steer towards Psychoanalysis when one hears of Romance and the Gothic, but to explore something a bit more unconventional such as metaphysics will be exciting and will add to the research of this unknown topic.

My focus for this paper will be primarily on the first half (first 17 chapters) of the novel. Specifically, I will pay attention to the opening description of the two domains. I will also look at Lockwood’s dream at Wuthering Heights and Heathcliff’s reaction to Catherine being left behind at Thrushcross Grange with the Lintons. Again, paying close attention to Heathcliff’s reaction, I will use the passage in which Catherine professes her love for Heathcliff and her reasons for not choosing him over Edgar. I will also draw a parallel to the way in which the atmosphere of the kitchen is described as well as the tumultuous storm that occurred during the conversation. Paying attention to Catherine’s reaction when Heathcliff comes back after three years will also be worthwhile and finally, when Catherine is on her death bed, the conversation that transpired between the couple will also be something to look at closely. In these scenes, I will take note of the atmosphere, connecting key elements of metaphysics to this work and how it predicts the way Catherine and Heathcliff interact.

Works Cited

Hume, Robert D. “Gothic versus Romantic: A Revaluation of the Gothic Novel.” PMLA, vol. 84, no. 2, 1969, pp. 282–290. JSTOR

Hagan, John. “Control of Sympathy in Wuthering Heights.” Nineteenth-Century Fiction, vol. 21, no. 4, 1967, pp. 305–323.

Mum, Edwin. “The Victorian Novel THE Reputation of the Victorian Age.” The Spectator Archive, 28        Dec. 1934

Madden, William A. “Wuthering Heights: The Binding of Passion.” Nineteenth-Century

Fiction, vol. 27, no. 2, 1972, pp. 127–154.

Mills, Pamela. “Wyler’s Version of Brontë’s Storms in Wuthering Heights.” Literature/Film Quarterly, vol. 24, no. 4, 1996, pp. 414–422.

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~ by Ravenn Haynes on November 3, 2017.

One Response to “Paper Proposal”

  1. We discussed this in person already, so I’ll await your revised proposal/ bibliography.

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