The Post-Romantic Way to God: Personal Agency and Self-Worship in Wuthering Heights

Marie S. Heneghan

Abstract


In considering spirituality in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1847), the passionate intensity of Catherine and Heathcliff’s tumultuous relationship springs to mind, dwarfing the narrow and (to the modern reader) nearly indecipherable concerns of kirk muttered by the cantankerous Joseph. This article focuses on the effect of the novel’s context within the fragmenting Anglican Church and a cultural shift toward personal agency in worship, encouraged by revivalism, in representing the lives of its lovers. I interpret the Catherine-Heathcliff relationship in Wuthering Heights as self-worship, extending this view to consider how passion and suffering link the relationship to religious ecstasy, which then becomes a mechanism through which Brontë explores spirituality in a Post-Romantic world. 


Keywords


post-Romanticism, spirituality, literature

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