Emily's Heathcliff: Metaphysical Love in Dickinson and Brontë
Abstract

Abstract:

Emily Brontë in Wuthering Heights and Emily Dickinson throughout her writing both imagine romantic love in an extreme form, one belonging to the literary tradition studied by Denis de Rougemont and characterized by René Girard as metaphysical. The intensity of such love is measured and usually enhanced by the obstacles it faces from social and religious authority. Like Heathcliff and Catherine's, Dickinson's lovers find their very being in one another, but when they are separated by death the survivor can only yearn for a reunion in the afterlife. Brontë explicitly and Dickinson suggestively but less consistently imagine this reunion as the resumption of a childhood experience at once edenic and rebellious. The result in both writers is a three-part narrative arc: childhood bliss, adult separation and agony, sublime reunion.