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BERNARD J. TAYLOR

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Wuthering Heights

Notes from The Brontė Society

“Bernard J. Taylor’s work marks the first time that the true spirit and drama of Emily Brontė’s masterpiece has been captured in a musical.”

The Brontė sisters need no introduction: their lives and works are known not only to the English-speaking nations but to the world as a whole. Each year, over 200,000 visitors flock to Haworth, an upland village in West Yorkshire, England, to see for themselves the Brontės’ Parsonage home, lovingly cared for today by the Brontė Society. Although there have been many changes to the Yorkshire landscape familiar to the three sisters, much of the moorland reamins the wild beautiful place they knew and loved, especially Emily to whom the lonely moors were a constant inspiration. Emily’s almost mysitical affinity with nature shines through her poetry and is very evident in her one and only novel, Wuthering Heights, one of the world’s acknowledged literary masterpieces. First published in 1847, Wuthering Heights has appeared in countless English editions, besides being translated into at least twenty-six languages, including Chinese, Icelandic, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Sinhalese and Turkish. In Japan, for example, Emily Brontė is revered, and her novel, despite many passages in Yorkshire dialect, is widely read both in translation and in the original.

Wuthering Heights is an intensely dramatic work, charged with emotion; it is not surprising that many dramatists, choreographers, lyricists and composers have been drawn to recreate it for stage and screen. There have been seven major films between 1920 and 1991 and in addition there has been a ballet (1982), and opera (1967) and numerous adaptations and plays, including several for television — and not forgetting Kate Bush’s song “Wuthering Heights” which topped the charts! Bernard J. Taylor’s work marks the first time that the true spirit and drama of Emily Brontė’s masterpiece has been captured in a musical.

Was there ever a real Wuthering Heights? Many attempts have been made to identify particular places mentioned in the novel, but no one can ever be sure. Undoubtedly, Emily drew inspiration from many sources -- no one locality can wholly or perfectly mirror the world she portrayed, and in any case does it matter, since every devotee of Wuthering Heights has a personal vision generated by Emily Brontė’s genius.

Mark Seaward
Editor, Brontė Society Transactions
Enquiries concerning The Brontė Society should be addressed to:
The Brontė Parsonage Museum
Haworth, Keighley
West Yorkshire BD22 8DR
ENGLAND

 

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