Is Heathcliff a Murderer?: Great Puzzles in Nineteenth-Century Fiction

Is Heathcliff a Murderer Great Puzzles in Nineteenth Century Fiction In this quirky and intriguing book John Sutherland has conveniently gathered together thirty four nagging little questions puzzles errors and enigmas from some of the best loved examples of Victor

  • Title: Is Heathcliff a Murderer?: Great Puzzles in Nineteenth-Century Fiction
  • Author: John Sutherland
  • ISBN: 9780192834683
  • Page: 303
  • Format: Paperback
  • Is Heathcliff a Murderer?: Great Puzzles in Nineteenth-Century Fiction

    In this quirky and intriguing book, John Sutherland has conveniently gathered together thirty four nagging little questions, puzzles, errors, and enigmas from some of the best loved examples of Victorian fiction Readers often have stumbled upon seeming mysteries in their favorite novels Why, for example, is the plot of The Woman in White irrevocably flawed The timing oIn this quirky and intriguing book, John Sutherland has conveniently gathered together thirty four nagging little questions, puzzles, errors, and enigmas from some of the best loved examples of Victorian fiction Readers often have stumbled upon seeming mysteries in their favorite novels Why, for example, is the plot of The Woman in White irrevocably flawed The timing of the crime is off Is the hero of George Eliot s Middlemarch illegitimate Probably, although he was later legitimized Why does the otherwise sensible Jane Eyre give in to a sudden and unexplained outburst of superstition Charlotte Bronte, in reality, had a similar experience What is the real reason we find The Picture of Dorian Gray so disturbing There is an overwhelming emphasis on the sense of smell These answers and can all be found in John Sutherland s entertaining and maddening book When it comes to literary criticism there s really nothing quite like the joys of close reading and good natured inquiry This is the spirit in which Is Heathcliff A Murderer was conceived and executed Rather than trying to catch great authors in mistakes, Sutherland usually turns up perfectly plausible reasons for the seeming anomalies Everyone who reads nineteenth century novels will thoroughly enjoy John Sutherland s exploration of the seemingly unanswered, and each chapter is a direct link to one of Oxford s World s Classics.

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    One thought on “Is Heathcliff a Murderer?: Great Puzzles in Nineteenth-Century Fiction

    1. Jean

      Is Heathcliff a Murderer? Puzzles in Nineteenth-century Fiction, is a book of literary conundrums, ideal for brainboxes to get their teeth into. The author, John Sutherland, is a British academic, a Professor of English literature with a distinguished record, and a yen for the Victorian age. The conundrums here all have their source in classic novels from around that time, hence it is far more stimulating and satisfying topic for a reader who is conversant with the novels themselves. However, he [...]

    2. Chris

      Sutherland ponders some of the questions that great literature raises. And yes, he does address the title questions, and I find it hard to disagree with him. Really, why is Heathcliff so bloody attractive? He strangles a dog to death! That's the type of man you want to marry?Yeah, yeah, I know; the whole bad boy thing. Right. It shouldn't extend that far.How well you like this book depends upon your relationship to the novels Sutherland examines. Sutherland is intelligent enough to point out tha [...]

    3. Erica

      Chapters1. Where Does Sir Thomas's Wealth Come From? Mansfield Park2. How Much English Blood (if any) Does Waverley Spill?Waverley3. Apple Blossom In June? Emma4. Effie Deans's Phantom Pregnancy? The Heart of Midlothian 5. How Does Victor Make His Monster?Frankenstein6. Is Oliver Dreaming? Oliver Twist7. Mysteries of The Dickensian Year?Martin Chuzzlewit8. Is Heathcliff a Murderer? Wuthering Heights9. Rochester's Celestial Telegram Jane Eyre 10.Does Becky Kill Jos? Vanity Fair11.Who Is Helen Gra [...]

    4. Cat.

      This is a series of books based on the subtitle of this first one: "Great Puzzles in Nineteenth-Century Literature." It was recommended in the bibliography of the most recent Thursday Next book; now I know where Fforde gets (some of) his ideas! Topping it all over, the cover of the copy I read has a lovely picture of Olivier as Heathcliff on it. Confession: I didn't read this cover to cover. I read the Intro and the chapters on the books that I've actually read. In other words, having never read [...]

    5. Elizabeth K.

      Each chapter of this book is devoted to a specific work of 19th century English literature, addressing some burning question that is not answered with complete clarity in the text. In the title essay, for example, the author looks closely at the death of one of the characters in Wuthering Heights -- did Heathcliff have a direct role, or was he merely an observer?Sadly, this was one of those reads where I was foiled by my own misguided expectations. I'm not exactly sure how this happened, but the [...]

    6. Tiffany

      Interesting to fans of 19th century literature, especially those who like the Victorians. Some of the "puzzles" the author looks to solve aren't really that puzzling but this book kept me reading, in part because the essays were so short that I hardly had time to get bored.Some of the answers he comes up with are more concrete than others so those looking for yes or no, true or false, will likely be disappointed. In fact, I'm a little surprised at which essay was chosen as the title of the book [...]

    7. Kirsti

      I read this book a couple of years ago, but I picked it up again to reread the part about The Woman in White, a novel that I finished reading last week. I love the idea that, had I lived in the early 1860s, I could have bought merchandising tie-ins to The Woman in White--including perfume, cloaks, bonnets, and sheet music for waltzes and quadrilles. :-)

    8. Margie

      Not for reading straight through.Poses some interesting questions, though I found funny the number of times he noted that we really can't know what the author intended.I think I need to take a break from John Sutherland for a bit. These puzzles get rather repetitive after a bit.

    9. Jeff Hobbs

      Essays I particularly enjoyed:Where does Sir Thomas's wealth come from?Does Becky kill Jos?Who is Helen Graham?What kind of a murderer is John Barton?What is Hetty waiting for?Is Will Ladislaw legitimate?Is Alec a rapist?

    10. Judith Rich

      LOVE these books. Re-read them regularly.Why do people think Heathcliff is the ultimate romantic hero? He beats his wife and kills puppies for fun. Murderer or not, I wouldn't touch him with a ten foot barge pole.

    11. Juliej

      A great little book, short chapters, easy to read and an interesting perspective on some of the puzzles in classic works.The title is a bit misleading, there are actually over 30 chapters each dealing with a puzzle or discrepancy in a novel. If you've read the actual novel referred to then that chapter will be a whole lot more meaningful.It's a book for thoughtful (should that be pedantic?)booklovers. eg it discusses why Charlotte Bronte put in the "Jane, Jane" call in near the end of Jane Eyre, [...]

    12. Val

      John Sutherland's speciality is C19th literature; he has made a close study of the texts and found a few anomalies within them. They may be problems with continuity, most were written as serials, they may be plot holes, intentional or not, or they may be something self-evident at the time and anomalous now.It is a good idea to have read the books he is writing about beforehand, but, if reading for pleasure, his close attention to detail can seem unnecessarily pedantic. As something of a pedant m [...]

    13. James

      This is the book that answers questions about some of the mysteries of Victorian fiction. It is a sort of reference work that reminds me of the books I have read yet some of the entries are about books which I have not read. My favorites including Dickens, Hardy and Stevenson are discussed; but there are others including Austen, Trollope, Scott and Stoker. Reading this book almost makes you want to return to each novel and reread them to discover the enigmas for yourself. John Sutherland's excep [...]

    14. Arthur

      This is a very entertaining collection of essays on apparent inconsistencies and unanswered questions in British novels of the 19th Century. In proposing his own solutions to these "puzzles", Sutherland spans a range from minutiae involving a very close reading of the text to major issues in contemporary literary criticism. The pieces are well written, and even if it's been a while since you've read Middlemarch or The Picture of Dorian Gray, you won't find it hard to keep up with the discussion. [...]

    15. T. Finley

      I didn't think this book was quite on par with the author's second volume of literary puzzles, titled 'Can Jane Eyre Be Happy'. But that could just be because I read the second volume first, so the second volume acted as my first introduction to the author and his fascinating series of books. I would still encourage anyone with an interest in classic literature to read 'Is Heathcliff A Murderer'. You may never look at your favorite classic novel the same way again.Did I like it? Yes.Would I rere [...]

    16. matthew

      these books made me very happy, though the titles are a bit misleading. truly, they should be called "how authors make continuity errors, it is to laugh (parts the first and second)" and that's just what i did. as a bonus, they made me want to read books i hadn't read, and reread ones i'd forgotten or disliked, just to make fun of the mistakes. there is some interesting speculation, too, to be fair.

    17. Carol Littlejohn

      I love this series by author John Suthlerland who explores the themes and characters of classic literature. So, is Heathcliff a murderer? The author offers plausible reasons why Heathcliff may have committed murder. Other puzzles in literature concern the characters of books by Jane Austen and George Elliott, to name just a few. It's a book that you should own because, if you love literature, you will constantly reread this book.

    18. Audrey

      Some of the essays in this book are over things I consider trivial, but others are very interesting commentaries. I still haven't read the whole thing. I like to read it one essay at a time as I read the books they're about. Still, I've read enough of them to recommend it to anyone who like 19th century fiction.

    19. Matt

      I love John Sutherland. Reading his work is like listening to a courtroom drama where the defendants are characters from 19th century literature. His essays are full of fascinating trivia, including a lot of the dirty stuff that Victorian writers glossed over. Best of all, Sutherland never simply nitpicks a novel, he always tries to come up with a plausible defense for what the writer did.

    20. Anna Maria

      Quite enjoyable little book about some of the best-known Victorian classics, even if it doesn't reveal anything extraordinary. I'd recommend this to anyone with a personal interest in the stories or students looking for inspiration. It isn't likely to contain anything new for someone who's already begun studying the works, however.

    21. Marsha

      Going over some of the most famous novels ever written, Mr. Sutherland exposes the flaws in their writings. Showing the careful attention to detail of the dedicated bibliophile and the true pedant, he forces the reader to take a closer, more critical look at these well-loved novels and see that they still carry merit in spite of the gaping holes of logic.

    22. Zandra

      I really enjoyed this little book giving quirky insights into the greatest works of nineteenth century fiction. John Sutherland's writing is erudite and accessible, and he is skilful at reading between the lines to answer those questions that have left us wondering.

    23. Matthew Dambro

      Lovely excursion into 19th Century English Literature. Solving the puzzles in some of the most famous novels in an age of novels. I might have to dip into a long neglected part of my education. When I was younger I would not have touched Brit Lit with a ten foot Pole or a six foot Italian.

    24. Priya

      Thoroughly enjoyable and the essays are short so can be read 2-3 at a time. It helps if you've read the books about which Sutherland's writing (and most of us have, I'd reckon) and some of his essays seem deliberately provocative but, overall, a fun and relaxing read.

    25. Bunnyhugger

      This is a fun collection of essays. I'd think you'd have to be familiar with the novels in question to enjoy them though.

    26. Kirsten

      Not so much literary criticism as playing with literature, Sutherland examines nagging inconsistencies, vague plot points, and outright goof-ups in popular literature of the 19th century.

    27. Roy

      Questions about literatureWhy was only one footprint found in Robinson Crusoe?.Why didn't Dr. Frankenstein use a whole body and not just one whole one?

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