Is Heathcliff a Murderer?

Is Heathcliff a Murderer? : Great Puzzles in Nineteenth-century Fiction

3.77 (230 ratings by Goodreads)
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Readers of Victorian fiction must often have tripped up on seeming anomalies, enigmas, and mysteries in their favourite novels. Does Becky kill Jos at the end of Vanity Fair? Why does no one notice that Hetty is pregnant in Adam Bede? How, exactly, does Victor Frankenstein make his monster? Why does Dracula come to England rather than himself an invisible suit? Why does Sherlock Holmes, of all people, get the name of his client wrong? In Is Heathcliff a Murderer? (well, is he?) John Sutherland investigates 34 conundrums of nineteenth-century fiction. Applying these 'real world' questions to fiction is not in any sense intended to catch out the novelists who are invariably cleverer than their most detectively-inclined readers. Typically, one finds a reason for the seeming anomaly. Not blunders, that is, but unexpected felicities and ingenious justifications. In Is Heathcliff a Murderer? John Sutherland, recently described by Tony Tanner as 'a sort of Sherlock Holmes of literature', pays homage to the most rewarding of critical activities, close reading and the pleasures of good-natured more

Product details

  • Paperback | 268 pages
  • 127 x 193.04 x 17.78mm | 249.47g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford Paperbacks
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • line drawings
  • 0192834681
  • 9780192834683
  • 2,018,741

About J. A. Sutherland

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 more

Review quote

-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 Oldieshow more

Rating details

230 ratings
3.77 out of 5 stars
5 20% (45)
4 44% (101)
3 31% (71)
2 6% (13)
1 0% (0)
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