I read Emily Bronte’s one and only novel Wuthering Heights back in high school, and it’s a book that stuck with me all these years.
Why? I’m not into romance, or English period dramas, so those weren’t the draws. Instead, it was the strangeness of it all. There was something weird about the book, something supremely off-kilter that I never could identify.
For those who don’t know, Wuthering Heights is a gothic romance about the tortured relationship between the darkly brooding Heathcliff and the spoiled Catherine Earnshaw. Their love (if you can call it that) is charted through fights and marriages to others, and ultimately death — first hers, then his.
The book, while heavy on the melodrama, carries an undercurrent of horror. Dreams are filled with the pleading ghost of Cathy. And the dreams are downright creepy.
I read an article today on Chuck Palahniuk’s website LitReactor that, if correct, makes sense of the weirdness that is Wuthering Heights. According to the writer, Wuthering Heights is secretly…
…a vampire novel.
The article’s writer expertly makes her case, including details regarding the deaths of both Cathy and Heathcliff, details that sound reminiscent of vampire lore.
Another fact she brings up: vampire mythology was well-known and popular in mid 19th century England.
If her theory is correct (and it makes sense to me), then Emily Bronte pulled off a brilliant trick — crafting a vampire novel without ever naming the creatures, or dwelling on their vampirism.