"Heathcliff, it's me, I'm Cathy"
July 30, 2018 2:11 PM   Subscribe

Born on this day 60 years ago and 200 years ago: Kate Bush and Emily Bronte. Celebrating the birthday of two artistic icons: Kate Bush, who was inspired to write Wuthering Heights without having fully finished reading Emily Brontë’s novel. (This and 59 other unbelievable facts via The Guardian) posted by Webbster (44 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
 
Ooh! I just read this piece from the BBC earlier today, which seems relevant here: Heathcliff and literature's greatest love story are toxic.

Love Kate Bush, love the song, love the book - but always thought Heathcliff and Katherine deserved each other. Not in a good way.
posted by widdershins at 2:25 PM on July 30 [7 favorites]


From Vox: Wuthering Heights is a masterpiece of literary genius that is incredibly unpleasant to read.
Heathcliff and Cathy are both such manifestly awful people — he tortures puppies and beats women and children; she plays elaborate intergenerational mind games — that I want them together only so that they will stop inflicting themselves on their friends and relations out of sheer spite. If Heathcliff and Cathy had the common decency to get married in Volume 1 like they clearly wanted to, they would have saved everyone around them a great deal of time and trouble for generations to come.

To appreciate the greatness of Wuthering Heights, I had to stop trying to read it as a love story. It’s when I began to read it instead as a story of intergenerational abuse, and how that abuse creates monsters, that I started to understand why it’s such a beloved book.
posted by dnash at 2:30 PM on July 30 [9 favorites]


I didn't realize they had the same birthday. I am a long time Kate Bush fan and a serious WH lover too. which explains a lot about my emotional life and relative (in)stability as a young woman. oh my...
posted by supermedusa at 2:39 PM on July 30 [1 favorite]


My pet Wuthering Heights theory is that Heathcliff was Cathy's bastard half-brother. Mr Earnshaw just shows up with some weird kid for no reason? I don't think so.
posted by lovecrafty at 2:40 PM on July 30 [16 favorites]


Since you included Wuthering Heights in charts, how about the Semaphore Version of Wuthering Heights?
posted by Rob Rockets at 2:47 PM on July 30 [10 favorites]


I teach this novel fairly regularly, and none of my students find Heathcliff remotely attractive.

My pet Wuthering Heights theory is that Heathcliff was Cathy's bastard half-brother. Mr Earnshaw just shows up with some weird kid for no reason? I don't think so.

Caryl Phillips' recent The Lost Child--a combination WH prequel, biofiction about Emily, and mid-20th c. historical novel--proposes this interpretation. A number of literary critics have also had...suspicions.
posted by thomas j wise at 2:52 PM on July 30 [3 favorites]


Kate Bush and my birthday's are only off by a day.

Bah, at least I've got JK Rowling/Harry Potter.
posted by Baphomet's Prime at 2:57 PM on July 30 [1 favorite]


well they do name him for a previous child of theirs who'd died...Heathcliff was a family name for the Earnshaws.
posted by supermedusa at 2:58 PM on July 30 [1 favorite]


My least favorite Brontë novel, my least favorite Kate Bush song. I just do not get the fascination.

My favorites are Jane Eyre and Hounds of Love.
posted by ipsative at 3:05 PM on July 30 [3 favorites]


"I didn't know anyone that small could kick so hard"

So she's small? 59 facts about Kate Bush and none mention that she's small? We have to infer it from this papparatzo's comment?

Kate Bush is small! (Though she looms large in my personal pantheon.)
posted by Modest House at 3:17 PM on July 30 [1 favorite]


Books aren't about characters. They're about writing. And "Wuthering Heights" is masterfully and beautifully written.
posted by Modest House at 3:20 PM on July 30 [8 favorites]


huh according to IMDB she's 5'3.5" thats fairly small.
posted by supermedusa at 3:29 PM on July 30 [1 favorite]


My favorite version (warning: ukeleles)
posted by candyland at 3:39 PM on July 30 [2 favorites]


The first part of Wuthering Heights is very funny. The stuff about how badly everyone in the family treats each other is just like, well they are clearly assholes and that’s what assholes do. The book isn’t sympathetic to them or acting like what they are doing isn’t wrong.
posted by bleep at 3:51 PM on July 30 [3 favorites]


They're sort of buried at the bottom, but this previously focused more on Emily Brontë / Wuthering Heights also has a few links about the annual Kate Bush-inspired event, "Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever," which looks like a lot of fun.
posted by Wobbuffet at 4:18 PM on July 30 [1 favorite]


I am embarrassed to admit when I clicked to open this discussion, I was intrigued at the thought of how Guisewite's neurotic alter-ego could possibly do a crossover strip with the Garfield knock-off. Kate Bush fan, though. Carry on.
posted by zaixfeep at 4:29 PM on July 30 [4 favorites]


IMNSHO, Kate Bush is so distinctive she's almost impossible to cover well, two of the better attempts: The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain's Ultra Lounge version of "Wuthering Heights," and less jokey First Aid Kit "Running Up That Hill."
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 4:48 PM on July 30 [6 favorites]




I saw BRONTË: THE WORLD WITHOUT at Stratford earlier this summer and unfortunately the reviews were right, the play was just OK.

But if you're jonesing for more Brontë, go see it.
posted by GuyZero at 4:53 PM on July 30


a crossover strip with the Garfield knock-off
Heathcliff debuted five years ahead of that lasagna-scarfing parasite
how dare you
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:07 PM on July 30 [1 favorite]


Wow, this is a bizarre coincidence. I'm literally listening to Kate Bush right now (Hounds of Love) and am also in the middle of reading Wuthering Heights.

Thanks for all the links! Think I'll have to come back to some of them in a couple days to avoid spoilers, looking forward to it though...
posted by equalpants at 5:18 PM on July 30 [4 favorites]


In the early 80s, when I was around 15 or so, I was interested in this girl-you know how that goes. I hung out with her at her house a few times and met her neighbor, another girl about the same age. The first girl turned out to be a sociopath (putting it charitably), but the neighbor girl turned out to be smart and interesting (and way too cool for me) and she introduced me to Kate Bush. It's now more than 30 years later and I have no idea what happened to either girl, but I still love, love, love Kate Bush.
posted by codex99 at 5:39 PM on July 30 [5 favorites]


"Heathcliff and Cathy are both such manifestly awful people — he tortures puppies..."

Pretty sure that wasn't Heathcliff, that was Hareton Earnshaw.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 5:46 PM on July 30 [1 favorite]


The weirdest thing about the "rehabilitation" of Kate Bush (esp. post the 2012 Olympics) is that she ever needed folding back into the popular music canon in the first place. Approximate contemporaries Annie Lennox, Blondie and '80s Bowie managed to stay ticking under in the culture as I experienced it, but Kate Bush pretty much disappeared, save being sampled by Utah Saints or covered by Placebo once a decade.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 6:21 PM on July 30 [2 favorites]


That First Aid Kit cover is excellent btw, GenderNullPointerException, cheers for sharing!
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 6:23 PM on July 30 [2 favorites]


There's quite a bit more interesting trivia about W. Reich and the music video for 'Cloudbusting', brief summary on Wikipedia. There could be a whole other essay about Kate's music videos and various visual presentations.
posted by ovvl at 6:26 PM on July 30 [2 favorites]


I was saddened to learn that the song was about Reich's crankery. It reminded me of that feeling, the day I was reading the back of a Stanley Clarke album, and saw that it was dedicated to "L. Ron Hubbard, the greatest man on the planet".
posted by thelonius at 7:31 PM on July 30


I was saddened to learn that the song was about Reich's crankery. It reminded me of that feeling, the day I was reading the back of a Stanley Clarke album , and saw that it was dedicated to "L. Ron Hubbard, the greatest man on the planet".

Not sure it's as direct a tribute? If I remember right it's based on Reich's son Peter's memoir and told from that perspective.
posted by atoxyl at 8:18 PM on July 30 [5 favorites]


Nothing wrong with a bit of cloud bursting. It's sitting in the orgone collector for any length of time that really gets you into trouble.
posted by hippybear at 8:41 PM on July 30 [3 favorites]


"Heathcliff and Cathy are both such manifestly awful people — he tortures puppies..."

If you take this line and you sing it to the song you can sort of make it work. Tortures is multi-syllable.
posted by hippybear at 8:43 PM on July 30 [3 favorites]


...but Kate Bush pretty much disappeared, save being sampled by Utah Saints or covered by Placebo once a decade...

And then there's this...
posted by ninazer0 at 9:31 PM on July 30 [1 favorite]


I don't know about Cathy and Heathcliff being so horrible, to me they are just misplaced in the world they lived in. Like, they would look like perfectly normal characters in the Silmarillion.
posted by Ashenmote at 10:45 PM on July 30 [3 favorites]


I did a listen through of Kate Bush a couple of months and ago and she was amazingly consistent (and a genius) over the years even if the albums got further apart (and high notes went away)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:45 PM on July 30 [2 favorites]


...but Kate Bush pretty much disappeared, save being sampled by Utah Saints or covered by Placebo once a decade...

And then there's this


And this.
And this way back in the day

My fave kate bush story from a previous thread

I've always heard that her 'disappearance' was mainly that she just wanted to be a full time parent.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:52 PM on July 30 [1 favorite]


My favorites are Jane Eyre and Hounds of Love.

Please tell me Jane Eyre and the Hounds of Love is an actual book.
posted by antiwiggle at 1:52 AM on July 31 [7 favorites]


It’s part of the Brontë Bibliomatic Universe, which, sadly, did not catch on as it should have.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:40 AM on July 31 [1 favorite]


The first part of Wuthering Heights is very funny.

Back in the day, MrsMogur couldn't understand why I was laughing as I read Wuthering Heights for the first time. Somewhere around the time that EB was describing some rats nailed to the wall in the WH kitchen, I'd started visualizing the novel as a series of Addams Family cartoons, and I just couldn't shake it.
posted by Mogur at 5:19 AM on July 31 [8 favorites]


Please tell me Jane Eyre and the Hounds of Love is an actual book.

"They are lean and thirsty af!"

The Kate Bush Encyclopedia on "Wuthering Heights."

I'm fascinated by Lindsay Kemp's role in the careers of both Bush and Bowie. Biographers suggest that Kemp helped Bowie, basically, become Bowie and Kemp has worked with Bush for much of her career. Of his influence on her choreography for the "Wuthering Heights" video Bush has said
" ... I was very influenced at that time still by Lindsay Kemp. So it was very much the dance influence that I was expressing. So it was really working out choreography that would just look interesting, that would kind of create a persona of Cathy."
Bush wrote the song "Moving" about Kemp. (Kemp also worked with Derek Jarman and appeared as the noseless dancer at the decadent Roman court in Sebastiane and again in Jubilee. He also appeared in The Wicker Man and Velvet Goldmine.)

I think the "Babooshka" video was my first encounter with Kate Bush, tho it's possible that it was the "Live At Hammersmith Odeon" film which ran pretty frequently on Night Flight in its early days.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:24 AM on July 31


It reminded me of that feeling, the day I was reading the back of a Stanley Clarke album yt , and saw that it was dedicated to "L. Ron Hubbard, the greatest man on the planet".

Huh, so that's how Chick Corea got into Scientology. So did Al DiMeola and Lenny White get sucked in as well?
posted by e1c at 8:49 AM on July 31




I teach this novel fairly regularly, and none of my students find Heathcliff remotely attractive.

So they're more of the Anne Bronte school then?

posted by Naberius at 2:10 PM on July 31 [3 favorites]


Ha! I am currently wearing my Hark A Vagrant t-shirt of Anne looking disapproving as her sisters read Byronic magazine. It doesn't seem to be on sale anymore, but images are in the author comment here.
posted by tavella at 3:34 PM on July 31 [1 favorite]


I read Wuthering Heights for the first time a few years ago and I loved it. It's one of the weirdest books I've ever read. I'm just about ready to read it again, thanks for reminding me!

As for Kate Bush, I love her. This is the scariest song I've ever heard.
posted by h00py at 7:38 PM on July 31


Anne really deserves more attention than she gets, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is really good, though different in tone from Charlotte and Emily's writings. To quote this fine little essay on the book, Anne Brontë was angry as hell.
posted by gusottertrout at 1:22 AM on August 1


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