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Emily Brontë: Remembrance

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Kitty Keresztes

on 11 April 2016

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Transcript of Emily Brontë: Remembrance

Emily Brontë: Remembrance
Introduction
Remembrance
Cold in the earth—and the deep snow piled above thee,
Far, far removed, cold in the dreary grave!
Have I forgot, my only Love, to love thee,
Severed at last by Time's all-severing wave?
Now, when alone, do my thoughts no longer hover
Over the mountains, on that northern shore;
Resting their wings where heath and fern-leaves cover
That noble heart for ever, ever more?
Cold in the earth – and fifteen wild Decembers
From these brown hills have melted into spring:
Faithful, indeed, is the spirit that remembers
After such years of change and suffering!
Sweet Love of youth, forgive, if I forget thee
While the world’s tide is bearing me along;
Other desires and other hopes beset me,
Hopes which obscure, but cannot do thee wrong!
No later light has lightened up my heaven,
No second morn has ever shone for me;
All my life’s bliss from thy dear life was given,
All my life’s bliss is in the grave with thee.
But when the days of golden dreams had perished,
And even Despair was powerless to destroy,
Then did I learn how existence could be cherished,
Strengthened, and fed without the aid of joy.
Then did I check the tears of useless passion –
Weaned my young soul from yearning after thine;
Sternly denied its burning wish to hasten
Down to that tomb already more than mine.
And even yet, I dare not let it languish,
Dare not indulge in memory’s rapturous pain;
Once drinking deep of that divinest anguish,
How could I seek the empty world again?
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
7.
8.
6.
The poem and the novel
Thank you for your
attention!
The poem as precursor of Wuthering Heights
Introduction
Written before Wuthering Heights
8 stanzas, elegy/meditative poem (narrative)
Well-constructed, rich in expressive stylistic devices and imagery (create a sombre atmosphere)
Theme(s):
loss of a lover, mourning
can time heal?
if not, how to live
without the aid of joy
?
Title: remembrance (vs. recollection)
Speaker? (depending on our scope of interpretation)
Terms
"When the recurrence of certain feelings and ideas is brought about by an
effort of the will
, such an act of the mind is denominated
recollection
. But when the past images come
unbidden
, we say that they are the products of mere
remembrance
.
" (John Addington Symonds)
- also mourning

Conscious vs. unconscious
"I then made some short observations upon the psychological differences between the
conscious
and the
unconscious
, and upon the fact that everything conscious was
subject to a process of wearing-away
, while what was unconscious was
relatively unchangeable
(...)" (Sigmund Freud)
Cold in the earth—and the deep snow piled above thee,
Far, far removed, cold in the dreary grave!
Have I forgot, my only Love, to love thee,
Severed at last by Time's all-severing wave?

Now, when alone, do my thoughts no longer hover
Over the mountains, on that northern shore,
Resting their wings where heath and fern-leaves cover
Thy noble heart forever, ever more?

Cold in the earth—and fifteen wild Decembers,
From those brown hills, have melted into spring:
Faithful, indeed, is the spirit that remembers
After such years of change and suffering!

Sweet Love of youth, forgive, if I forget thee,
While the world's tide is bearing me along;
Other desires and other hopes beset me,
Hopes which obscure, but cannot do thee wrong!
No later light has lightened up my heaven,
No second morn has ever shone for me;
All my life's bliss from thy dear life was given,
All my life's bliss is in the grave with thee.

But, when the days of golden dreams had perished,
And even Despair was powerless to destroy,
Then did I learn how existence could be cherished,
Strengthened, and fed without the aid of joy.

Then did I check the tears of useless passion—
Weaned my young soul from yearning after thine;
Sternly denied its burning wish to hasten
Down to that tomb already more than mine.

And, even yet, I dare not let it languish,
Dare not indulge in memory's rapturous pain;
Once drinking deep of that divinest anguish,
How could I seek the empty world again?
death of the lover (a long time ago)
deep snow
: presence of elements + harshness of weather (novel)
can time erase memories?
interrogative form, but not really a question
Now
: switch to present
Alone
: intimate matter
Northern shore:
metaphorical place of memories and/or spatial clue (novel)
Also question
For ever, ever more
: being the survivor
fifteen wild Decembers
: temporal clue (but not fifteen summers/springs)
Does life go on?
Change and suffering
Life goes on (?), but not actively:
world's tide is bearing me along
Time
Distract? Yes
Overwrite? No
Lover = light, morning, bliss
Love of great dimensions (bliss of life)
But:
turning point
golden dreams
: a love so great it seems unreal
even Despair was powerless to destroy
: numb state worse than despair, emotional inertia
Then did I learn how existence could be cherished ... without the aid of joy:

conscious choice to ban memories
a life stripped of its meaning
check the tears, sternly
: conscious act, acting against one's instinctual desires, mind denying soul
tomb already more than mine
: death of loved one means, in a way, the death of the speaker
even yet, I dare not
: in spite of all conscious regulations the act of remembering does not cease to be dangerous
rapture, anguish
: pleasure and pain
Remembrances might be kept at bay, but once let in there's no returning to
Now
Lurking (false) promise of indulgence
"With my hard constitution and temperate mode of living, and unperilous occupations, I ought to, and probably shall, remain above ground till there is scarcely a black hair on my head.
And yet I cannot continue in this condition!
I have to remind myself to breathe - almost to remind my heart to beat!"

"I take so little interest in my daily life that I hardly remember to eat and drink."

"The entire world is a dreadful collection of memoranda that she did exist, and that I have lost her."

Catherine's oak case is the symbolic passage leading to her (
Let me in
)
Heathcliff, after avoiding the room for years, enters, lies on the bed and opens the window
Smile on his face (reuniting in death?)
No apparent cause of death -
How could I seek the empty world again?
Remembrance
Who is the speaker, who is the beloved?

1. Isolated interpretation (general): feminine speaker
2.

In relation to Wuthering Heights (specific): speaker is Heathcliff
Why?
Catherine dies first, Heathcliff is the survivor
fifteen wild Decembers
northern shore
living on
without the aid of joy

Heathcliff is driven and distracted by various factors: revenge, fury, greed etc., no more positive driving force
Until...
Full transcript