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Is Heathcliff a Murderer?: Great Puzzles in Nineteenth-Century Fiction (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – April, 2002

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Editorial Reviews


"Did Heathcliff kill the brother of Catherine Earnshaw in 'Wuthering Heights'? Was the second husband of Dorothea Brooke born out of wedlock in 'Middlemarch'? Is 'The Adventure of the Speckeled Band' a veiled story of incest? These questions might sound like headlines from a tabloid called the Victorian Enquirer. But one of Britain's most respected literary scholars makes a plausable, if speculative, case for each of them in a fascinating collection of essays on 34 classic novels or short stories."--The Plain Dealer

"A stimulating discussion."--The Economist

"An enjoyable and shameless puff for the Oxford World's Classics series....This is a series of mini-essays on some of the great conundrums of Victorian literature. The highlight is reached, perhaps, in a learned disquisition of the exact composition of the street dirt in Bleak House. The book should have been twice as long."--The Oldie

About the Author

John Sutherland is Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at University College, London. He is the editor of a number World's Classics, including works by Anthony Trollope, Adam Smith, Jack London, and Thackeray.

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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (April 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192834681
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192834683
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 0.8 x 5.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,846,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Holly M. Kent on August 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
Blame it on New Jersey public schools, if you like. I find they're always a handy scapegoat. Because - though I blush to confess it - I first came across Emily Bronte's classic tale of undying love and people with confusingly similar names, Wuthering Heights, when I saw the glamorous, romantic 1939 film of that story, and not when I read the actual grim and gritty 1847 novel. This may explain why, for a long time, when I thought of that novel's hero, Heathcliff, I thought of a heroic-looking, sad-eyed Laurence Oliver, and consequently held this famous brooder in rather high esteem. I do so no longer, and the reason why can be summed up in two words - John Sutherland. This professor and scholar has, in Is Heathcliff a Murderer?, put some of the greatest novels of Western literature under a microscope, and found out all of their inconsistencies and flaws. He looks at classic literature from a new perspective, asking intriguing questions about its novels, and offering solutions to the problems they raise - putting new spins onto books which most people probably feel that they already know inside out. I, for example, thought I knew something about the character of Heathcliff, until I read Sutherland's essay about him, and his various deeds and doings. After reading this book (which discusses works by Bronte, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and George Eliot, amongst many others) I can guarantee that you will look at some of your favorite books in an entirely new way - see depths, puzzles, and inconsistencies in them that you never saw before. I, for one, now greet Laurence Olivier's entrance on the screen in Wuthering Heights with a boo and a rather rude hand gesture, rather than a pinkening of cheek and a fluttering of lash. Such is the power of Is Heathcliff a Murderer?
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Format: Paperback
Sutherland's books are great fun for fans of 19th century novels and literary nitpickers. He examines mysteries, plot holes, and unresolved questions in many classic novels. Sometimes Sutherland discovers an answer in the text or in history, other times the puzzles simply cannot be solved. Yet even in these cases, Sutherland can use the mystery to shed light on the writing and editing process. "Is Heathcliff a Murderer?", like the other books in this series, is a thoroughly enjoyable companion to the classic works of English literature.
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Format: Paperback
Of course not, but don't let the fact that I find that one essay of Sutherland's unconvincing deter you from buying this book. There are *so many* marvelous puzzles in this book besides that one inside. Is Helen Graham illegitimate? Was he Popenjoy? What is Jo sweeping? Read to find out.
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