WUTHERING HEIGHTS

Emily Bronte

Over a hundred and fifty years after its initial publication, Emily Brontë’s turbulent portrayal of the Earnshaws and the Lintons, two northern English households nearly destroyed by violent passions in the last quarter of the eighteenth century, continues to provoke and fascinate readers. Heathcliff remains one of the best-known characters in the English novel, and Catherine Earnshaw’s impossible choice between two rivals retains its appeal for contemporary readers. At the same time, the novel’s highly ambivalent representations of domesticity, its famous reticence about its characters and their actions, its formal features as a story within a story, and the mystery of Heathcliff’s origins and identity provide material for classroom discussion at every level of study.

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Over a hundred and fifty years after its initial publication, Emily Brontë’s turbulent portrayal of the Earnshaws and the Lintons, two northern English households nearly destroyed by violent passions in the last quarter of the eighteenth century, continues to provoke and fascinate readers. Heathcliff remains one of the best-known characters in the English novel, and Catherine Earnshaw’s impossible choice between two rivals retains its appeal for contemporary readers. At the same time, the novel’s highly ambivalent representations of domesticity, its famous reticence about its characters and their actions, its formal features as a story within a story, and the mystery of Heathcliff’s origins and identity provide material for classroom discussion at every level of study. The introduction and appendices to this Broadview edition, which place Brontë’s life and novel in the context of the developing “Brontë myth,” explore the impact of industrialization on the people of Yorkshire, consider the novel’s representation of gender, and survey the ways contemporary scholarship has sought to account for Heathcliff, open up multiple contexts within which Wuthering Heights can be read, understood, and enjoyed.

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  • Penguin Classics
  • Paperback
  • December 2002
  • 416 Pages
  • 9780141439556

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About Emily Bronte

Emily Jane Bronte was born July 30, 1818, at Thornton in Yorkshire, the fifth of six children of Patrick and Maria Bronte. Both of Emily’s parents had literary leanings; her mother published one essay, and her father wrote four books and dabbled in poetry. In 1821, shortly after Emily’s third birthday, Maria died of cancer. Maria’s sister, Elizabeth, came to live as a housekeeper and was responsible for training the girls in the household arts. Although Emily did spend a few short times away from Haworth, it was her primary residence and the rectory where she resided now serves as a Bronte Museum. Emily’s only close friends were her brother Branwell and her sisters Charlotte and Anne.

Emily died of tuberculosis on December 19, 1848, also at the age of thirty, and never knew the great success of her only novel Wuthering Heights, which was published almost exactly a year before her death on December 19, 1848. From the opinions of those who knew her well, Emily emerges as a reserved, courageous woman with a commanding will and manner. In the biographical note to the 1850 edition of Wuthering Heights, Charlotte Bronte attributes to her sister "a secret power and fire that might have informed the brain and kindled the veins of a hero."

Praise

"It is as if Emily Brontë could tear up all that we know human beings by, and fill these unrecognizable transparencies with such a gust of life that they transcend reality."—Virginia Woolf