(ed.): Wuthering Heights, Toronto: Broadview Press, ISBN 1-55111-247-7,
the text of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights from a traditional
mimetic realist point of view. He provides a well-researched body of background
information and scholarly analysis that facilitates an informed appreciation
of the novelist and the novel within the time/space context of Victorian
England, especially that of Yorkshire. The Introduction and Appendices
take about a third of the book, and there are footnotes on particular
pages. Heywoods argument about the African origins/aspects of Heathcliff,
a key character in the novel, advances a new interpretation of the character
and the impact of slavery and slave trade on the society in northern England
in the nineteenth century.
Heywood highlights Heathcliffs African origins in several ways.
He describes him as a child of Africa from the worlds largest
slave port [Liverpool]. (42) Heywood, thus, offers an argument different
from that of Eagleton, who suggests that the model for Heathcliff is one
of the good many impoverished Irish immigrants hanging around Liverpool.
The portrait entitled Othello, the Moor of Venice of the actor
Ira Aldridge by James Northcote (Manchester City Art Gallery, Manchester)
is reproduced on the cover of this edition. This is a significant visual
statement as Aldridge pursued a successful acting career despite racial
hostility and Othello could have provided the material for the creation
Heywood bases his argument on the parallels (and reverses) that one finds
between Shakespeares Othello and Brontes Heathcliff in terms
of their social situation and individual predicament in relation to a
world whose contours are etched by race and power in specific time/space
configurations. Fanons theoretical formulations in Black Skin,
White Masks are used to examine the common, generic situation that
affects the two characters. As Heywood specifically argues: Suggestions
for aspects of Heathcliffs character probably came from the performance
in the title role of Othello at Bradford in 1841, by Ira Aldridge,
a celebrated American actor. Heathcliff follows the example of Othello,
a stereotype identified by Fanon as a black man with an appetite for the
blond female; he marries without love into the slaveholding class... the
psychological burden kills him... [He is] a modern Hamlet, he dies a martyr
and hero of social change'. (68)
The Broadview edition of Wuthering Heights locates the novel in
the literary tradition of Empire in English Literature, outlined, for
example, in the case of poetry in The White Mans Burdens
and in a growing interest in studying how the Empire travelled from the
periphery to the centre. With Heywoods interpretation of Heathcliff
and the foregrounding of the colonial layer of the richly textured literary
text of Emily Bronte, yet another author in the traditional
canon of English literature is subjected to a postcolonial reading as
Said did with Jane Austen.
However, Heywoods contribution to Bronte scholarship is not limited
to exploring new literary ground (Preface) with reference
to Heathcliff. He also explores the close relationship between the text
and the landscape, between fictional Wuthering Heights and real Ingleborough.
By establishing such a link he is able to unmask the dissimulations that
were used by Charlotte Bronte in this regard. He also analyses the structure
of the story and argues that it reflects the skills of Emily Bronte
as a poet, painter, musician and her interest in geometry. (Preface)
Basing his judgement on a short but sharp commentary on the language used
in the text he concludes that Emily Brontes prose approaches
the mimetic, thought-patterned prose of James Joyce and Virginia Woolf.
reading of Heathcliff could have far-reaching implications for the way
the novel could be read in the classrooms in particular and in 'rethinking
the [British] national story', an idea articulated in the Parekh Report
on 'The Future of Multi-ethnic Britain' By exploring un/ underarticulated
dimensions of social history to discuss a popular literary classic, Heywood
has advanced debates in both history and literary studies.
Finally, what distinguishes this edition of the novel is the way the social
and historical context is painstakingly worked into a new reading of the
text, its author, and the ethos of what Young calls the Nineteenth-Century
Anti-Colonialism in Britain The story of Wuthering Heights
can now be (re)read by those in the academia and beyond in a new and refreshing
way. The experience could be enriched further if an index can be provided
for quick reference.
Eagleton, Terry (1995)
Heathcliff and the Great Hunger: studies in Irish culture, Verso:
Brooks, C & Faulkner J (ed.) (1996) The White Mans Burdens:
an anthology of British poetry of the Empire, University of Exeter
(1967) Black Skin, White Masks, Grove Press: New York (first published
as Peau noire, masques blancs, 1952).
Fryer, Peter (1984) Staying Power: The history of black people in Britain,
The Parekh Report (2000) The Future of Multi-ethnic Britain,
The Runnymede Trust, Profile Books: London.
Said, E (1989) Jane Austen and Empire in Eagleton, Terry (ed.)
Raymond Williams: Critical Perspectives, Northwestern University Press:
Visram, Rozina (1986) Ayahs, Lascars and Princes Indians in Britain
1700-1947, Pluto: London.
Young, R (2001) Post-colonialism: an historical introduction, Blackwell: