una storia di passioni in un periodo di censura

At Emily Brontë’s times, the critics found Wuthering Heights morbid (= lussurioso) and violent. Charlotte Brontë felt forced (= si sentì obbligata) to write a defence (= difesa) of her sister’s novel because it has been misunderstood (= fraintesa). Some critics of her time, anyway, already appreciated the way characters were described and the genius of the author in using words. But in the whole the novel must have been appeared barbaric for the Victorian readers. Her reputation was only established at the end of the century.
Actually, Wuthering Heights is not an easy book to interpret and its author was an individualist who did not follow the way of plain conventions. It cannot be considered a Victorian novel as a study of common men and women and it is not a novel of revenge (= vendetta) or of love. Here are some examples of how the critics have tried to explain the complexity of Brontë’s work:
– it is an allegory about the conception of the universe built from different forces, storm and calm. The central purpose is to re-establish the cosmic order that has been destroyed with an improper mixture (= mistura impropria) of the two forces (the marriages).
– It is the psychological study of a man whose soul is divided between love and hate, whose actions are the product of the distortion of his natural personality. He does not follow Christian values: his soul is primitive and pagan. The evil (= male) that he does, derives not from love of evil, but from a distortion of the natural process of love. Even Cathy’s personality is not as strong as his.
– It is an unconventionally narrated story divided into five acts like the Elizabethan drama, a sort of autobiography told by two narrators, Nelly Dean ( the housekeeper, la governanate) and Mr. Lockwood ( the new tenant, il nuovo inquilino) in a unity of place and tone.
– It is a tragedy whose power consist of the inevitability of this tragedy: a pair so stormy as Cathy and Heathcliff cannot settle to (= stabilirsi) a normal domestic life, also because of the foster kinship (= la loro relazione parentale).
– It is a drama that pivots (= fa perno) around a vague incestuous aura: Dr Earnshaw has found Heathcliff, during a journey to Liverpool. The circumstance of this meeting does not appear clear and leaves some perplexities that can be explained with a hypothesis: Heathcliff is an illegitimate son of the doctor himself. There are other examples of incestuous unions in the book; the marriage between Hareton and Catherine at the end is the most evident. This view can support the power of the love between Heathcliff and Cathy: they could never marry on earth, as they are victims of a fate beyond their control. The sentence “I am Heathcliff” suggests they are one flesh (= una carne ) as well as one spirit.
– It is a drama in which the writer fuses real things with their imaginative interpretations, with the feeling that only a poem based on the language of sense impressions (= linguaggio sensuale) can give.
– It is a journey into the soul of Man, a work of edification and growth (= crescita) that teaches human passions and the vanity of human wishes. Human feelings are compared with natural forces wild animals and the landscape is applied to the description of the Characters. Heathcliff is likened to (= è assimilato) elements of the Earth, Cathy to the fire. Domestic animals are instead used to mock (= beffare) human weaknesses (= debolezze) .