Wuthering Quotes: A Digital Retelling of Wuthering Heights

Linda Hutcheon states that successful adaptations ‘reinvent the familiar and make it fresh’. Wuthering Quotes is a new digital retelling of Wuthering Heights. With a purposeful move away from the skeuomorphism of ebooks, Wuthering Quotes will present the popular classic text in short, visual quotes. The quotes will be shared on Twitter @wutheringquotes, however, will be housed on www.wutheringquotes.co.uk (a website currently being created by myself on wordpress.org). I have defined Wuthering Quotes as a ‘digital retelling’. This reflects the fact that it will stay faithful to Bronte’s original text. However, rather than including the whole text from the book, Wuthering Quotes will contain memorable and poignant snippets, editorially chosen by myself.  Vandendorpe asserts, ‘Browsing the web is a different experience from reading a book or newspaper’; with this in mind, I considered how to make Wuthering Heights concise and shareable (aspects I believe make for good on-screen content).

Wuthering Quotes is largely designed for a ‘knowing audience’; it is meant to be interpreted with the context of the novel.  There will be around ten quotes for each chapter of the book; these will be chosen to help readers recollect the narrative, the project is designed to play on how we enjoy adaptations – recalling an original and filling in the gaps. Linda Hutcheon, in A Theory of Adaptation explains, ‘repetition brings comfort, a fuller understanding and a confidence that comes with the sense of knowing what is about to happen next’. I hope that the Wuthering Quotes will be stimulating for those who have read the text, as they will have the pleasure of remembering the blanks that are left unfilled by the quotes.

18th century literature has already been successfully transformed for internet consumption. Web series are one way that novels are manipulated; Pemberley digital’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, is particularly notable – with some of the YouTube episodes having over 2,000,000 views. Pemberley digital’s success proves that classic stories can thrive in a new digital format. Twitter feeds like @dailyjaneeyre and @dailywuthering, which post random quotes from the novels daily, are also popular. Twitter can be ideal for finding niche audiences and sharing short content. I have chosen Twitter to promote and share my project for these reasons. Initially I explored setting up a Pinterest account for the project, however, decided that this could risk spreading content too thin.

On the website, quotes will be tagged with prominent themes from the book. The themes will be: Love, Revenge, Family, Place and Class. This means that the quotes will be a useful resource. In From Papyrus to Hypertext, Christian Vandendorpe outlines how, ‘we are witnessing a proliferation of situations of selective reading, in which readers move within a text according to their needs, skimming, selecting, and extracting only the elements that suit their purpose’. Wuthering Quotes website delivers the story in a condensed form and allows quotes to be filtered by theme, making ‘skimming, selecting and extracting’ even more convenient.

Follow the Wuthering Quotes project @wutheringquotes

Here’s a little taster at what’s to come…

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