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Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Wuthering Heights (original 1847; edition 2002)

by Emily Brontë, Pauline Nestor, Lucasta Miller (Preface)

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31,65046725 (3.91)4 / 1323
Title:Wuthering Heights
Authors:Emily Brontë
Other authors:Pauline Nestor, Lucasta Miller (Preface)
Info:Penguin Classics (2002), Edition: Revised, Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:@read: own

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Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (1847)

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(see all 32 recommendations)

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English (438)  Spanish (11)  Italian (7)  French (3)  Portuguese (2)  Swedish (2)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Finnish (1)  Piratical (1)  All languages (468)
Showing 1-5 of 438 (next | show all)
At the back of my copy of 'Wuthering' Heights, above the blurb, it is described as "One of the greatest love stories ever told." On the front cover is a giant white flower (or lily... I, er, don't really know much about flowers) floating down a dark, shadowy staircase, and the tagline "Love Never Dies..." I went into this book expecting the 1800s equivalent of a supernatural romance, something akin to a dark, tragic, melodramatic 'Pride and Prejudice' meets the movie 'Ghost'. I can't say I was disappointed with what I actually ended up reading, but I would hesitate to even call this a love story, let alone "one of the greatest love stories ever told."

If so, is whose love story is it? Catherine and Heathcliff's? Catherine and Edgar's? Cathy and Linton's? Cathy and Hareton's? The back cover blurb suggests it is intended to be that of Catherine and Heathcliff, in a tragic 'Romeo and Juliet'-esque star-crossed-lovers fashion. And sure, their doomed romance does drive the first third or so of the book, and is the catalyst for many events to follow, but when A) one half of that unrequited union is a truly awful human being and B) there are several other examples of genuinely sweet, healthy romantic entanglements, one can't help thinking that Cathy was quite lucky to have never ended up with her psychopathic crush, and that Heathcliff deserved every inch of the shitty hand he was dealt.

This isn't a criticism of the book itself, simply the odd reputation it seems to have gathered in the century and a half since it was published. This is no more of a romance than your average episode of Law & Order: SVU is a romance (I'm using the modern connotation of "romance" here, I will add), and that isn't actually a bad thing: Emily Brontë's story is considerably more interesting than a straight love story would have been. 'Wuthering Heights' is, at it's heart, a tale of jealousy and vengeance and hated, and the damage it wrecks on a person's psyche and on everyone around them, and while love, particularly of the unrequited variety, is a significant element of the story, this is not a love story.

Likewise, I dispute any interpretation of Heathcliff as a "tortured hero", even a "byronic anti-hero", as Wikipedia describes him . He is the villian of the story, pure and simple. As a child and teenager, certainly, he seems a fundamentally good if deeply troubled person, and it's easy to sympathize with him and his poor treatment by Hindley Earnshaw, and to understand his desire for vengeance. By the time he has reached adulthood, and especially once Cathy dies, Heathcliff has become a complete psychopath. He shows shreds of humanity here and there, even a few signs of remorse for his increasingly horrible actions, but he is still, unambiguously, the bad guy of this story, one who takes out his grudges against Hindley and Edgar Linton (the former grudge is completely justified, the latter less so - Edgar seems like a altogether decent guy who made the mistake of marrying Heathcliff's woman) on a succession of entirely innocent individuals, including the daughter of the woman he loved and his own son! Early on in the book, I rooted for Heathcliff and wanted to see him get one over arrogant snobs like Hindley. By the halfway point, I pitied poor, mad Hindley and his truly unlucky son Hareton, and had grown to loathe Heathcliff. By the end, I just wanted to see Nelly violently murder the awful sociopath.

For a book written over 150 years ago, 'Wuthering Heights' is surprisingly readable tome, the one exception being the incomprehensible babbling of the servant Joseph, whose impenetrable accent (written phonetically, like a blind-drunk Hagrid with a speech impediment) I initially attempted to decipher, and soon learnt to just skip entirely. Otherwise, this a compelling, often heart-breaking piece of 19th century fiction that is still powerful so many decades later. And while this is generally a depressing and tragic story, it ends on a lighter and happier note which is genuinely affecting after so much suffering.

Unrequited love sucks. I've certainly experienced that particular variety of misery. I assume that most people have at one point in their lives or another. Most of us have managed to avoid carrying out multi-generational roaring rampages of revenge on everyone remotely connected to said lost love. This again is not in any way a criticism of Brontë's writing or characterisation, rather the subsequent interpretation of Heathcliff as some form of tragic anti-hero and the male half of "one of the greatest love stories ever told." He's the truly hateable antagonist of a grim, sad, gothic melodrama and 'Wuthering Heights' is all the better for it. ( )
  asha.leu | May 2, 2015 |
I liked it. Sometimes depressing but I found the human relationships and interactions very intriguing. ( )
  KR_Patterson | Apr 28, 2015 |
Well this got off to a pretty good start with some excellent characters and plenty of tension between them. And then, about halfway through or even, probably, less than that, it all just petered out into nothing at all. Such a shame after waiting so long to read this that it really failed to deliver for me. As it brings to a close my reading of the Brontës’ works, it has failed to oust Villette from top spot. Charlotte wins, and it’s a tie between Emily and Anne for second.

So, of course, there’s Heathcliffe. He’s a raging beast of a character and he totally dominates the narrative whenever he’s around as he should do. Everyone cowers before him except Cathy. But just when things are getting interesting, Emily decides to kill her. But here’s something I didn’t know before reading this: everyone’s called Cathy, or at least it seemed that way. Anyway, before I knew it, I was dealing with completely different characters and a far less interesting storyline.

It had such promise, this novel. Heathcliffe and Cathy are legendary characters who deserve to have a novel to themselves. But they have to share it with various progeny who contribute very little to the scenery. In the end, the novel just kind of collapses in on itself in mediocrity and fizzles out. Before you get there though, you are treated to some great

And because the second half is so watered down, I’m not really sure what Emily was trying to communicate with her art as a whole (for this is the entire sum of her work as she died shortly after it was published). This seems a terrible shame, but somehow we’ve managed to build the 21st century without Wuthering Heights II.
  arukiyomi | Apr 14, 2015 |
For Christmas, I ordered an mp3 player (Library of Classics) that was pre-loaded with 100 works of classic literature in an audio format. Each work is in the public domain and is read by amateurs, so the quality of the presentation is hit or miss.

This Victorian classic, written by Emily Bronte, is engaging and enjoyable for about the first two-thirds of the novel. At the point where young Lynton Heathcliff arrives at the Grange, however, the story devolves into virtually non-stop mewling, whining and puerile dialogue. The repetition becomes so annoying that had I been able to fast forward to its conclusion, I would have done so. It is a shame that such a well-regarded piece of classic literature contains such an off-putting segment of text.

Otherwise, the story contains a collection of very well developed characters with a captivating story arc that proceeds nicely up to the point of young Lynton’s arrival, at which point it grinds to a halt. ( )
  santhony | Mar 26, 2015 |
I am SO glad that most authors do not write in this style anymore. I only read this book because I am completing a reading challenge and I had to read a classic romance. I had tried reading book from this time period before and I didn't enjoy them so I knew this was going to be a difficult one for me. So many of the characters are overly dramatic and make horrible decisions. There were numerous times I wanted to throw my book out the window because the characters were just plain stupid. There was not one character I could relate to or even like. I was SO excited when I was finished with this book so that I could move on to another. It just solidified the fact that this style of book is not my cup of tea. ( )
  KeriLynneD | Mar 20, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 438 (next | show all)
"wild, confused; disjointed and improbable"
added by GYKM | editExaminer
"In Wuthering Heights the reader is shocked, disgusted, almost sickened by details of cruelty, inhumanity, and the most diabolical hate and vengeance" ... "[it is] impossible to lay it aside afterwards and say nothing about it".
added by GYKM | editDouglas Jerrold's Weekly Newspaper
"How a human being could have attempted such a book as the present without committing suicide before he had finished a dozen chapters, is a mystery. It is a compound of vulgar depravity and unnatural horrors."
added by GYKM | editGraham's Lady Magazine
"We know nothing in the whole range of our fictitious literature which presents such shocking pictures of the worst forms of humanity."
added by GYKM | editAtlas
a "disagreeable story" ... the Bells "seem to affect painful and exceptional subjects"
added by GYKM | editAthenaeum, H. F. Chorley

» Add other authors (161 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brontë, Emilyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Daiches, DavidEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eichenberg, FritzIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Flosnik, AnneNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Forster, PeterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hinton, S. E.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kitchen, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Merkin, DaphneIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nicoll, HelenProducersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peters, DonadaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Routledge, PatriciaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, CandaceEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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1801—I have just returned from a visit to my landlord—the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with.
...he shall never know how I love him; and that, not because he's handsome, Nelly, but because he's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same, and Linton's is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire.
...my great thought in living is himself. If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and, if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger. I should not seem a part of it. My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods. Time will change it, I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees - my love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath - a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff- he's always, always in my mind- not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself - but, as my own being -...
...for what is not connected with her to me? and what does not recall her? I cannot look down to this floor, but her features are shaped in the flags! In every cloud, in every tree - filling the air at night, and caught by glimpses in every object, by day I am surrounded with her image! The most ordinary faces of men, and women - my own features - mock me with a resemblance. The entire world is a dreadful collection of memoranda that she did exist, and that I have lost her!
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This is the complete, unabridged work - Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë.  Please combine this ONLY with edition which are the complete, unabridged work.  Please do not combine this work with works about Wuthering Heights, abridged versions, adaptations, or (according to convention) the Norton Critical Editions.
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From the back of the 1940 edition:

Emily Bronte was primarily a poet (Matthew Arnold said of her "for passion, vehemence and grief she had no equal since Byron"). Yet her lasting fame is build on her first and only novel, Wuthering Heights, written but a year before her death at 29.
Wuthering Heights is a powerful story in the tradition of Dracula and Frankenstein. It's background is the rugged moorlands of the north of England,and her characters are strange mixture of savagery and gentleness. It has been well described as "the strangest love story ever told."

It has recently been released as a motion picture staring Merle Oberon, Laurence Olivier and David Niven, and universally acclaimed press and public,
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553212583, Mass Market Paperback)

"My greatest thought in living is Heathcliff. If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be... Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He's always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure... but as my own being." Wuthering Heights is the only novel of Emily Bronte, who died a year after its publication, at the age of thirty. A brooding Yorkshire tale of a love that is stronger than death, it is also a fierce vision of metaphysical passion, in which heaven and hell, nature and society, are powerfully juxtaposed. Unique, mystical, with a timeless appeal, it has become a classic of English literature.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:43:51 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

In 19th century Yorkshire, the passionate attachment between a headstrong young girl and a foundling boy brought up by her father causes disaster for them and many others, even in the next generation.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 67 descriptions

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47 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

8 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141439556, 0141023546, 0143105434, 0141326697, 0141045205, 1846146097, 0141199083, 0734306423

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