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  • [es-pree de less-ka/-iay] (idiom) A witty remark that occurs to you too late, literally on the way down the stairs. The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations defines esprit de l'escalier as, "An untranslatable phrase, the meaning of which is that one only thinks on one's way downstairs of the smart retort one might have made in the drawing room."


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February 08, 2007


My mom bought me a copy of Wuthering Heights when I was a teen, thinking that I was the right age for it, and, like you, I thought that the characters were really annoying. That's when I realized, early on, that there were entire genres of respectable (and disrespectable) literature that were not for me....

Stick with it, Claire! I read WH in high school and hated the characters, but I remember the payoff at the end being totally worth it. I also remember eventually deciding that Heathcliff was really hot. Of course, now I don't remember the ending, or why I decided Heathcliff was so hot. Maybe I'll have to read it again.

It's been a long time since I've read it, but I need a new commute book starting tomorrow, and I know it's on my bookshelf at home, so I'll read in solidarity with you.

Wuthering Heights is the definitive gothic twisted romance and the Brontës' work, while classic and lurid, does not approach Austen's sublime and subtle touch, IMHO. But that doesn't make Wuthering Heights any less fun.

I'm rounding the bend now and am hoping for a payoff. Thanks for all the thoughts. I knew I could turn to my well-read blog friends for some help through this. It's definitely twisted.

I have to say it:

When I first saw the title, without reading a word, I thought:

Is she goin going to compare that cute kitten of hers to Heathclif the cat.

Then I thought: Heathclif?! I haven't thought of him in years.

Then I actually read and now I feel quite tragic.

Hee! I thought the same thing (about Heathcliff the cat). …I am a bad English major.

I'm just catching up on your blog and need to weigh in, even though you're probably done by now... ALL the characters in WH are obnoxious, but it's that over the top, crazy angst that makes them enjoyable. They wouldn't be enjoyable characters to be with all the time (no wonder Emily was so messed up!), but they are good to return to every now and then. And Heathcliff IS hot, have you seen the movie? Mmmm, Ralph (also, how did I only NOW realize he is Lord Voldemort? I must Netflix me some Harry Potter stat!). The made for tv version captures all the angst, but is quite possibly the worst movie I've ever watched, the awfulness only tempered by steamy teen guitar-playing angst and young Katherine Heigl.

Anyhow, Mr Rochester is also pretty obnoxious, but Jane tempers that.. Charlotte was a more balanced author. You might enjoy Villette.

And if you haven't read anything by Reginald Hill, keep an eye out in the used book store. Dalziel and Pascoe are the perfect British counterpoint to Sam Spade!

(I have a lot to say on this subject apparently..)

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