[These materials have been excerpted with permission of the author from Terence Dawson, "An Oppression Past Explaining": The Structures of Wuthering Heights." Orbis Litterarum 44 (1989): 48-68.]
Time and space in a work of fiction owe little to the time and space measured by the historian or land surveyor. They are infinitiely elastic devices,and the more elastic they are, the more likely it is that that are conditioned, not by external, but by psychological factors. Criticism of Emily Brontë's only novel Wuthering Heights (1847) rests on two interrelated premises: that its chronology refers to historical time, and that its characters all belong to the same kind of historical reality. It is always assumed that the events in the past determine the situation observed by Lockwood in the opening chapters. [I argue] the opposite: that it is the story in the present which conditions the events in the past.
Last modified 25 November 2004