Monday, October 05, 2015

Eight top books that got slammed by critics

At LitReactor Ed Sikov tagged eight "demonstrably great books – books that have stood the tests of time and taste but weren’t exactly greeted with universal kindness when they were first published," including:
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Poor Emily Bronte didn’t live nearly long enough to reap the lucrative benefits of a movie deal with Samuel Goldwyn (1939, with William Wyler directing Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon). What she got instead was this nasty piece of crappola from Graham’s Lady’s Magazine: “How a human being could have attempted such a book as the present without committing suicide before he (sic) had finished a dozen chapters, is a mystery. It is a compound of vulgar depravity and unnatural horrors.” And this, from the North British Review: “Here all the faults of Jane Eyre (by Charlotte Brontë) are magnified a thousand fold, and the only consolation which we have in reflecting upon it is that it will never be generally read.” It strikes me as especially mean to attack a writer by taking a slap at her sister.
Read about another book on the list.

Wuthering Heights appears on Amelia Schonbek's top five list of approachable must-read classics, Molly Schoemann-McCann's top five list of the lamest girlfriends in fiction, Becky Ferreira's list of seven of the worst wingmen in literature, Na'ima B. Robert's top ten list of Romeo and Juliet stories, Jimmy So's list of fifteen notable film adaptations of literary classics, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best thunderstorms in literature, ten of the worst nightmares in literature and ten of the best foundlings in literature, Valerie Martin's list of novels about doomed marriages, Susan Cheever's list of the five best books about obsession, and Melissa Katsoulis' top 25 list of book to film adaptations. It is one of John Inverdale's six best books and Sheila Hancock's six best books.

The Page 99 Test: Wuthering Heights.

--Marshal Zeringue