I read an article in the WSJ which said that some people were trying to rehabilitate Sade’s reputation (for context, this was mentioned in the same breath as Robespierre, Henry VIII, and some others being less vilified, and then mocked this supposed trend towards seeing hated historical figures more positively) - is this . . . True? Working? & to what extent?? Maybe I just live in a conservative town but no one seems to like him or is even willing to talk about him
I'm assuming you mean this article, which I'll link in case anyone wants to read it... Although it's less of an article and more of a stand-up comedy routine?
But about Sade, yes, definitely. In the 20th century, there were even people who considered him a progressive visionary; especially those in the surrealist movement, who considered Sade a pioneer of the style. A lot of famous surrealists loved him: Salvador Dalí used him as the inspiration for 25 works, there are quite a bit 'imaginary portraits' of Sade including one by Man Ray, Guillaume Appolinaire famously called Sade "the freest spirit that has ever existed" and wrote a book praising him, the final scene of Dalí and Luis Buñel's film L'Age D'or is a very obvious allusion to 120 Days of Sodom, and... who could forget Marquis (1989) [warning, that one's... disturbing. It's the one with the dick puppet. It used to be on YouTube in it's entirety with Eng subtitles, but it seems to have been removed. It's there with Spanish subtitles tho, so if you can understand French and/or read Spanish and want to be scarred for life, there you go]. Anyway, the surrealists are the ones who dubbed him the "Divine Marquis".
There are also other intellectuals who called for a rehabilitation of Sade's image. George Bataille's "The Use Value of D.A.F. de Sade", Angela Carter's "The Sadeian Woman" (which is a feminist reading of Sade), Simone Beauvoir's "Must We Burn Sade?" There are a lot others, but I'll stop there for brevity, cuz I can tell this is going to be a long answer.
Something else that helped the public image of Sade in the 20th century were his descendants, namely, one descendant, Comte Xavier de Sade, Donatien's great-great-grandson (who I posted about here). Xavier had discovered thousands of Donatien's letters and documents in a walled up family library. In 1947, he and poet Gilbert Lély begun the process of sorting through them. They were eventually published. Though Xavier himself is Catholic, found himself unable to read Donatien's books, and stayed out of the moral debates about him, his discovery led to more intimate biographies, keeping fascination in Donatien alive into this century (not to mention people now knew domestic details, which is always humanizing). While we're talking about descendants, and this is just a fun fact, Marie-Laure Noailles who was close personal friends of the surrealists including Ray, Buñel, and Dalí (and funded L'Age D'or), was a direct descendant of Sade. His great-great-great-granddaughter. She was interviewed by Francine du Plessix-Gray, she's quite the character.
Today, the wild praise for Sade has somewhat died down. I don't see much of it anymore, at least in academic spaces. I do think there are still echos of it though. Some modern bios I find a bit too sympathetic towards him (Du Plessix-Gray's bio and Lever's bio have their moments). His fictional portrayals are also generally kind, making him more of a Joker type character, but not the antagonist (Assassin's Creed is an obvious example, Quills (2000) too). Basically, any work where his inflammatory writing is mentioned, but not his actual crimes like, y'know, rape. He's often used as a martyr for anti-censorship/freedom of speech. Which is odd, cuz, you can morally defend his writing, whatever, it's fiction... but he's also a very real rapist. So, not sure how great a symbol he is on that front. Maybe use someone who isn't the human embodiment of the "slippery slope" argument conservatives love using. And then there's Assassin's Creed... I mean, you don't even have to play the game to see what they were doing. Just look at Sade's character design. The choice to make him younger and thinner says a lot about what audience reaction they were going for. And in gameplay, he's an ally. I think his role in Assassin's Creed is just a great indicator of public perception of him. Especially when compared to Robespierre's portrayal in game... Also a great indicator of public perception. So yeah, the pro-Sade sentiments of the 20th century have not entirely worn off.
I'll leave you with this 2015 review on a Musée d’Orsay exhibition on Sade where the reviewer calls Sade a "badass" in the first paragraph. I think it does a good job of showing how a lot of people view Sade as this anti-establishment, sly, smart, raunchy, rebel.
23 notes · View notes
Are the second generation really meant to mirror the first? I'm helping my sister revise for her end of unit test on it and it's mentioned quiet a bit in her notes but from what I've read (though tbf though- I'm reading certain parts for revision) I'm not really getting the vibe of that tbh. Can you help me understand why people may think this. Thank you.
Disclaimer: I'm certainly not an expert on the book and the criticisms about it - I read about it purely for my own enjoyment and there are many interpretations I’m probably not aware of.
First, I would say they aren’t exact replicas or mirrors but are more like echos or perhaps extensions of the first generation. Certainly all the baggage of the previous generation is placed on them. Catherine Linton and Hareton Earnshaw are much easier to connect to the first generation then Linton is, in my opinion, but some critics have tried to do so - mostly in asserting that there is a love triangle between them similar to Heathcliff/Catherine/Edgar. There are a number of connections that critics make between Hareton/Cathy and Heathcliff/Catherine and some have been told a million times but I’ll try to cover the ones I remember. Let me see if I can keep this organized and not get too off topic.
The similarity of their characters: At first glance you have the repetition of names - “C” and “H” appear repeatedly. Most apparent is that Catherine Linton is named for her mother. Hareton, although obviously an old family name since its been carved above the threshold of the Heights, it does feel intentional in furthering the connection between “C” and “H.” I’ve always found it interesting we have this scene from Cathy II and Linton in Chapter 14, that seems to directly call out the C & H connection:
“We found two in a cupboard, among a heap of old toys, tops, and hoops, and battledores and shuttlecocks. One was marked C., and the other H.; I wished to have the C., because that stood for Catherine, and the H. might be for Heathcliff, his name; but the bran came out of H., and Linton didn’t like it.”
Funnily I don’t think the H is for Heathcliff, I think its more likely meant for Hindley, but of course Heathcliff has been semi-assimilated into the Earnshaw family by being given the name Heathcliff, which was the name of a deceased child. To me at least, none of these feel unintentional, it feels fated since we have these repetitions noted by the characters themselves.
Cathy doesn’t only share a name with her mother, she lives in her shadow. We know from Nelly that, “On the anniversary of her birth we never manifested any signs of rejoicing, because it was also the anniversary of my late mistress’s death.” Edgar seems to cherish her in part because she is a remnant of her mother, even displaying many similar characteristics, although Nelly is quick to note Cathy is softer and more genteel - which makes sense considering she grows up with a loving father in a calm environment that lets her do as she pleases. She doesn't grow up with the harshness of the Earnshaw family, and Joseph's ranting, and it also seems that Nelly may have softened and become more maternal as years have gone by. I’d say she does become more and more like her mother after living at Wuthering Heights though.
Some really great parallels between the two Catherine’s dialog have been made by Ann Dobyns - I’ve posted a few excerpts from her essay here if anyone is interested, it’s a bit more in-depth than this needs to be though.
Hareton has many parallels to Heathcliff as well - this is intentionally done by Heathcliff who, upon Hindley’s death, speaking of his plotting says, “And we’ll see if one tree won’t grow as crooked as another, with the same wind to twist it!” Heathcliff and Hareton have such an odd fated destiny, from the moment Heathcliff saves his life by catching him as his father dropped him over the bannister of second floor. Hareton from the start fears his natural father, “squalling and kicking in his father’s arms,” Nelly even fears Hindley will “frighten the child into fits.” Worlds different the description of a scene of very typical father/son affection described by Nelly during Hindley’s funeral when she says little Hareton, “played with Heathcliff’s whiskers, and stroked his cheek.” Or earlier when she had asked Hareton if he liked Heathcliff and he says:
“Ay!” he answered again. Desiring to have his reasons for liking him, I could only gather the sentences—“I known’t: he pays dad back what he gies to me—he curses daddy for cursing me.
In Hareton’s mind Heathcliff is more a protector than his father, and I suppose in many ways he is better than Hindley’s random obscene violence. As wrong as it is that Heathcliff denies Hareton his inheritance and an education, I think it does say something (not entirely sure what) that he is never physically abusive to Hareton in the way Hindley was with him. Hareton doesn’t ever show any real fear of Heathcliff.
Heathcliff has his own complex feelings towards Hareton, definitely preferring him to his own son - he tells Nelly, “Do you know that, twenty times a day, I covet Hareton, with all his degradation? I’d have loved the lad had he been some one else.” So it seems we have the daughter of Catherine and the wished for son of Heathcliff. Lockwood even mistakes Hareton to be Heathcliff’s son momentarily in Chapter 2.
Some other parallels - Heathcliff notes the similarities between them later on in a discussion with Nelly:
“He’ll not venture a single syllable all the time! Nelly, you recollect me at his age—nay, some years younger. Did I ever look so stupid: so ‘gaumless,’ as Joseph calls it?”
“Worse,” I replied, “because more sullen with it.”
On other occasions Nelly talks about how Heathcliff liked to induce horror from those around him and “he contrived to convey an impression of inward and outward repulsiveness.” Hareton behaves similarly - in one scene after being taunted by Linton and Cathy, he throws Linton from the room to the disgust and fear of Cathy in Chapter 23:
...Earnshaw burst the door open: having gathered venom with reflection. He advanced direct to us, seized Linton by the arm, and swung him off the seat.
“‘Get to thy own room!’ he said, in a voice almost inarticulate with passion; and his face looked swelled and furious. ‘Take her there if she comes to see thee: thou shalln’t keep me out of this. Begone wi’ ye both!’
“He swore at us, and left Linton no time to answer, nearly throwing him into the kitchen; and he clenched his fist as I followed, seemingly longing to knock me down. I was afraid for a moment, and I let one volume fall; he kicked it after me, and shut us out.”
Similarly, when sitting next to him, Lockwood says, “My neighbour struck me as bordering on repulsive.” Even Nelly, who I’d say is typically biased towards Hareton, upon seeing him says he “seemed as awkward and rough as ever.” Lockwood also describes him as being “almost haughty,” similar to Nelly’s repeated references to Heathcliff’s ego and “proud heart.”
Heathcliff further casts light on their parallels when he says he sees Hareton as the “personification of my youth,” adding that, “Hareton's aspect was the ghost of my immortal love, of my wild endeavours to hold my right, my degradation, my pride, my happiness, and my anguish.”
The love triangle: I know some critics have said the dynamic between the Linton/Catherine/Hareton is similar to Edgar/Catherine/Heathcliff - I don't particularly see this. Cathy II is forced into marriage with Linton and at that point doesn't have notable feelings towards Hareton, compared to her mother who knows she loves Heathcliff more and still does have a choice to make even if it isn’t an easy one.
Still, there are similarities in their relationship in that both men (Heathcliff and Hareton) end up feeling the need to better themselves because for their respective Catherine. Nelly says of Hareton, “He had been content with daily labour and rough animal enjoyments, till Catherine crossed his path. Shame at her scorn, and hope of her approval were his first prompters to higher pursuits.” I think this is similar to Heathcliff deciding to run away after years of abuse and to risk everything, including his life, after hearing Catherine says it would “degrade” her to marry him. Hareton does seem to show some jealously over Cathy’s attention and regard of Linton, and again with the presence of Lockwood so I suppose it is sort of love triangle-y?
I also think Hareton shows signs of a growing devotion, similar to what Heathcliff felt towards Catherine. He certainly seems to be enamored by Cathy from the very first time they meet - Nelly says he, “stared at her with considerable curiosity and astonishment” and was, “too awkward to speak; though he looked as if he did not relish my intrusion.”
Something I’ve mentioned before is that Lockwood says about Hareton and Cathy, “Together, they would brave Satan and all his legions,” which feels like a direct parallel to Heathcliff’s assertion to Catherine that, “misery and degradation, and death, and nothing that God or Satan could inflict would have parted us.”
Also Heathcliff seemingly attempts to play the role Hindley played in his youth when he tells Cathy, “Your love will make him an outcast and a beggar.” It seems both Catherine and Heathcliff knew their love would result in the same situation as Catherine relays this to Nelly when she says, “did it never strike you that if Heathcliff and I married, we should be beggars?”
There is also, of course, the similarity of social stature - when Cathy first meets Hareton, he has nothing to his name and lives almost as a servant at Wuthering Heights, similar to Heathcliff’s position while Hindley was master. Cathy, similar to her mother, is better educated and has more opportunities - there is no socially accepted reason that she would choose Hareton, seeing as he can’t give her money, status, or respectability.
The circle of events and “The Butterfly:” It does feel, in my opinion at least, that it is no accident that our happy ending is the union of Hareton and Cathy. It couldn’t happen with just any couple or in any other way. It does feel that they are made into the semi-proteges of Heathcliff and Catherine, and the elements of the Linton’s allows for there to be peace between the two families. There is a kind of resolution and unification of their energies.
This is probably the most common narrative of the connection between Hareton/Cathy and Heathcliff/Catherine, and that is rather than just a parallel, critics have noted that the story of Catherine comes full circle with their marriage. The first Catherine wrote out her possible futures on her window sill in the names: Catherine Earnshaw, Catherine Heathcliff and Catherine Linton. Her daughter ends up reversing these different identities being born a Linton, marrying a Heathcliff, and finally an Earnshaw. That can’t be merely a coincidence.
Critic Dorothy Van Ghent deemed Catherine and Heathcliff the “original two” and she said that with the civilizing of Cathy and Hareton, "the great magic, the wild power, of the original two has been lost.” Others say that while poetically it makes sense within the repetition, Catherine and Hareton’s relationship is “improbable” but I disagree. I really liked Carol Ramsden’s take on this that incorporates Emily’s essay “The Butterfly,” and makes the parallel between the 1st and 2nd generation - I have posted this before but to save myself the time of rephrasing it I’ll just post the quote:
In Wuthering Heights, we encounter a destructive principle at work in the love between Catherine and Heathcliff. The principle is manifested fully in Catherine’s mental collapse and Heathcliff’s vindictiveness. However, the love between Cathy and Hareton is allowed to flower and they are both, in their own ways, products of the first lovers. The principle of destruction, as in “The Butterfly”, is transformed into a creative energy. Ultimately, Catherine and Heathcliff are also not deprived of this creative energy. Instead of representing a pessimistic view of life, their love, too, comes to suggest that all things work together towards good.
I think that’s an interesting take, besides just a happy ending for Hareton and Cathy it almost feels like a happy ending for Catherine and Heathcliff? In some ways they burned up only to transform into something better. Not saying that is how it is meant to be read, but I do like it (probably because I like a happy ending).
I feel like there are other points that I’ve forgotten? But these are what I remember at least.
14 notes · View notes