Sunday, 29 May 2011

Wuthering Heights

 "Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same; and Linton's is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire."

"'Ah, your favourites are among these?' I continued, turning to an obscure cushion full of something like cats.
'A strange choice of favourites!' she observed scornfully.
Unluckily, it was a heap of dead rabbits."
Another of my last university projects was titled 'Picturing Words', in which we had to choose a piece of text and illustrate it. I chose my favourite classic: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. 

It's no wonder it hasn't been very illustrated before, it was a real challenge. It's a story of so many contradictions; essentially it's gossip told by Nelly Dean to Lockwood, but it's also some of the most beautiful writing in the English language. It's a story of revenge and cruelty, but also of all consuming love. After extensive experimenting I decided monoprinting was the way forward, and to have a mixture of both the famous grand scale pathetic fallacy and the smaller, macabre background scenes. My main goal was to produce atmospheric pieces that capture the book. It took a lot of development, but in the end I produced seven prints I was happy with; this is my interpretation of Wuthering Heights.

"Wuthering' being a significant provincial adjective, descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in stormy weather. Pure, bracing ventilation they must have up there at all times, indeed: one may guess the power of the north wind blowing over the edge, by the excessive slant of a few stunted firs at the end of the house; and by a range of gaunt thorns all stretching their limbs one way, as if craving alms of the sun."
"A sorrowful sight I saw: dark night coming down prematurely, and sky and hills mingled in one bitter whirl of wind and suffocating snow."
"That's a turkey's,' she murmured to herself; 'and this is a wild duck's; and this is a pigeon's. Ah, they put pigeons' feathers in the pillows - no wonder I couldn't die! Let me take care to throw it on the floor when I lie down. And here is a moor-cock's; and this - I should know it among a thousand - it's a lapwing's. Bonny bird; wheeling over our heads in the middle of the moor. It wanted to get to its nest, for the clouds had touched the swells, and it felt rain coming. This feather was picked up from the heath, the bird was not shot: we saw its nest in the winter, full of little skeletons. Heathcliff set a trap over it, and the old ones dared not come. I made him promise he'd never shoot a lapwing after that, and he didn't. Yes, here are more! Did he shoot my lapwings, Nelly? Are they red, any of them? Let me look.'"
"About midnight, while we still sat up, the storm came rattling over the Heights in full fury. There was a violent wind, as well as thunder, and either one or the other split a tree off at the corner of the building: a huge bough fell across the roof, and knocked down a portion of the east chimney-stack, sending a clatter of stones and soot into the kitchen-fire. We thought a bolt had fallen in the middle of us; and Joseph swung on to his knees, beseeching the Lord to remember the patriarchs Noah and Lot, and, as in former times, spare the righteous, though he smote the ungodly."

"In my flight through the kitchen I bid Joseph speed to his master; I knocked over Hareton, who was hanging a litter of puppies from a chair-back in the doorway; and, blessed as a soul escaped from purgatory, I bounded, leaped, and flew down the steep road; then, quitting its windings, shot direct across the moor, rolling over banks, and wading through marshes: precipitating myself, in fact, towards the beacon-light of the Grange. And far rather would I be condemned to a perpetual dwelling in the infernal regions than, even for one night, abide beneath the roof of Wuthering Heights again.'"


  1. This is a book I grew to love last year. I thought the language was difficult to understand at first but as my teacher helped explain a bit more about the characters I really like it. The first quote you posted is one of my favourites from the book. The pictures you've done really match the stormy nature of the book.


  2. I read the book ages ago and... I liked it, love the pictures xx