Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Ugly Romance

I couldn't agree more with John Sutherland when he says that those who have voted Wuthering Heights the most romantic novel ever have got it entirely wrong. It's what I said too when Norm invited me to contribute to his Writers' Choice.

What does it mean that people (60% of women polled, anyway) insist on reading this book, and the others he lists, in this way? That people don't in fact actually read? That we have forgotten, or are no longer educated, how to? That the tendency to privilege our preconceptions or wishes over clear-eyed analysis is a function of a commercial society based on fantasy and obsession with the self? (And as for the fact that our wishes are romantic, well, heaven help us.)

* Edited in: Norm has a great post on this, with all the links.
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