Saturday, March 11, 2006

Cold in the Earth and Fifteen Wild Decembers

I just finished listening to this live on BBC Radio 4. Before I can collect my thoughts and post an entry, I simply have to say this:

I can't understand why people force themselves to assume that experiencing love-as in romantic love as we know it-is the only way Emily Bronte could have writtten Wuthering Heights. Why is Imagination not given enough credit? I agree with Juliet Barker 110%: It is preposterous to even assume that Emily Bronte would have fancied a weavers's son, when she has much more interesting men in her own head!

SERIOUSLY!! Why the hell are people so wrapped up in thinking that one needs to love in order to write such a passionate story??? And Wuthering Heights can be read as something that has little to do with "love", but rather all to do with power and control, as Juliet Barker argues. I think it depends on how one defines "love". But really, Emily Bronte is EMILY BRONTE. I really think she would have demanded more of a man than what was portrayed in this drama. The Robert/Emily affair wasn't even 0.00001% as intense as the Catherine/Heathcliff affair.

I am really sorry she (and the power of her Imagination)is being treated so. Why do people find it so hard to admit that Imagination can be so powerful? Why do people want to reduce this power to the puny effects of conventional romance??
Don't get me wrong...I do think it is possible she might have entertained a love affair, even with a weaver's son. But what I don't like is how little weight Imagination is given. Imagination is better than every living thing. It is the only REAL thing we know about Emily's romantic fancies (she even wrote an Ode to it!). Everything else is mere speculation. Instead of elevating the Imagination, people are trying to lower it by comparing it with earthly-albeit conventional-love.


frankengirl said...

What a magnificent post! YES – to the imagination! I, too, cannot stand how so much emphasis is put on so-called “experience.”

How is it the men can write women heroines, and nobody tells them that they could not possibly write such stories - without being a woman!!!

The absurdity! And does no one remember all the delightful dreams and imaginary friends of childhood which required absolutely no worldly experience at all?!

And why, why, why must we thrust “romance” on women writers, as if their minds would be a barren landscape without it?

Thanks for writing this! Thanks for championing Emily and the Imagination! I cannot possibly add all the exclamations I'm feeling at the moment - :)

mysticgypsy said...

Thank you Frankengirl :)

Exactly! I agree with you. From Homer and Virgil to Thackeray to Wordworth, people tend to praise their works and their Imaginations, whereas women writers are questioned more on their "experience". Emily's Gondalian tales and poems fascinating..because she also fantasized about herself as both men and women. And Wuthering Heights is a living testimony to the power of the Imagination.

It is interesting that while current society seems to be technologically advancing, it still fails to recognize the power of abstraction in art, specially literary Imagination. I think this is a sign that the magic of stories are at risk of being lost..

(I do hope I am wrong though..)

frankengirl said...

I truly enjoy the benefits of technology – hey, I would not be here writing to you! :P But our society expects all this technology to make us more productive than ever - productive in commerce, of course, not Art. Art requires time, space, peace, magic, and Technology is all about speed and non-stop connections. And there is nothing at all Magical about it.

A society without Art is a frightening vision, indeed, like a world without trees (God’s Art?). I do hope people don’t take Art for granted, because, should it disappear, they will miss it, like the oxygen from the trees.

I have faith in the story, though, because I believe it’s a deep human longing to tell, hear, share stories in some form or another. I know some forms seem debasing (reality TV), but hopefully, there will always be those like you who crave a deeper connection to the imagination, and champion artistic and creative story-telling that stimulate our imagination - :)

(Hmm, have I put too much weight on your shoulders, hehe!)

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