The Many Faces of Heathcliff

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Heathcliff, the grave-digging psychopath.

Every now and then we fickle humans find ourselves on an inexplicable mission. Being on a quest for something—whether it’s our one true love, a really great book or the best hamburger in town—adds zest to life.

As a proud bibliophile who devours books like cups of coffee, I’ve read my fair share of novels, good and bad. Some made me weep (I’m looking at you, Chris Cleave), some made me see the world in a different way (A People’s History of the United States), and some made me forget where I was (when I read Rebecca, I was at Manderley, not on my couch in Pennsylvania), but only one has launched a strange literary obsession unmatched by any novel before it.

I give you Wuthering Heights.

I didn’t read it until two years ago and since then I’ve been pretty annoying about how much I love it. Specifically, how much I love Heathcliff.

I’m not saying Wuthering Heights is the best novel ever written. Certainly not. I’m saying that it’s my favorite book, and those two things aren’t synonymous. But more than that, I’m fascinated with the character of Heathcliff so much that I am preoccupied with how other people interpret him, in film and illustration. Tom Hardy, thus far, is my favorite Heathcliff of film. And now I search for all the Heathcliffs as seen through the eyes of illustrators. Good or bad, I want to know how he comes across to others. Why? Because whether it’s Batman, Dracula, Wonder Woman or Elizabeth Bennett, when you love certain characters it’s intriguing to see what other people think of them.

Heathcliffs Collage

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