Page:The complete poems of Emily Bronte.djvu/42

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


How did this lonely girl come to write a book at once so great and yet so strange? What were her sources? Mrs. Humphry Ward, following Mr. Shorter, has suggested, without dogmatising, that Emily Brontë worked probably under influences from German literature. We know that the Brontës read Blackwood diligently, and Mrs. Humphry Ward has discovered that Blackwood published about 1839 certain translations including Tieck's Pietro d'Abano. It is barely possible that the story of the 'beautiful and deeply beloved Crescentia' might have been read with pleasure by Emily, but I can find no real likeness between it and Wuthering Heights. Mrs. Ward also suggests Goethe's Dichtung und Wahrheit, but surely nothing could be more remote from the spirit of that book than the spirit of Wuthering Heights. Nor have I been able to find anything that justifies the suggestion that Hoffmann was an influence. The wild Irish stories which Mr. Brontë must have known at least have also been mentioned as possible influences, and I am strongly inclined to think that the Brontës must have known some of the books of Banim. As an Irishman, Mr. Brontë would relish those Rembrandtesque sketches of the Irish peasantry