12 April 2010

Sales of Wuthering Heights are up!

Thanks to Bella's comparison of the co-dependent Bella/Edward death-dance to the Heathcliff/Catherine co-dependent Yorkshire moor grudgematch sales of Emily Bronte's only novel are skyrocketing according to The Telegraph.

Apparently sales have quadrupled in the last year.  Who'da thunk?  I don't mind.  Wuthering Heights is one of my favorite novels so if one book character inspires teens to read another book (especially one I think is fantastic) I don't have a problem with that.

I do have a problem with the Twilight tie-in marketing

This edition is not annotated (it also has some asinine relationship quiz or something in the back).  As much as the cover art says "Buy me if you like Twilight" there are no notes to explain Joseph's ramblings or the nineteenth-century vocabulary or to help with the plot-within-a-plot multiple point-of-view first person narration.  The cover says that Wuthering Heights is written at the same reading level as Twilight.

It's not.

I was a pretty advanced reader as a child and read Wuthering Heights for the first time in my early teens without too many problems (the first edition I read may also have been abridged because on a re-read I realized I didn't remember much religious grumbling).  Some teens don't read at an advanced level.  I've had tweens and teens come back to me, with this edition, complaining that they have no idea what is going on in Wuthering  Heights - the language is hard for them to understand.  I'm usually able to keep them from hating the book by giving them a leg-up summary and the Sparknotes website to help with the ramblier aspects of language and plot.

I really do like how HarperCollins is introducing readers to great literature - the other tie-ins include Romeo and Juliet and Pride and Prejudice - but I think these editions do young readers a disservice.  They need the extra information to make the leap from Twilight to the 1800s and beyond.  I regularly point readers to Barnes and Noble, Penguin, Oxford, or Norton editions of Wuthering Heights because I think those editions will help younger readers (and older, too, if they don't regularly read non-21st century books) through the rough bits; they may not have slick red and black covers but the additional information is a definite plus.


  1. I agree. If one has not had experience with the classics and are expecting Twilight in a different era, they will be greatly disappointed and quit the book. I wonder how many of those books are going unread

  2. I love Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice. Just couldn't make it through Twilight. I do think that just pointing teens to these great books without a transition isn't a good idea. But using Twilight in a class setting to introduce similar concepts in Wuthering Heights would work. Like ya'll I wonder how many of these books will be passed over or left on a shelf.