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Wuthering Heights (Oxford World's…

Wuthering Heights (Oxford World's Classics) (original 1847; edition 2008)

by Emily Bronte, Helen Small, Ian Jack (Editor)

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31,87247224 (3.91)4 / 1350
Title:Wuthering Heights (Oxford World's Classics)
Authors:Emily Bronte
Other authors:Helen Small, Ian Jack (Editor)
Info:Oxford University Press (2008), Edition: Reprint, Kindle Edition, 202 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (1847)

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English (444)  Spanish (11)  Italian (7)  Portuguese (2)  French (2)  Swedish (2)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Finnish (1)  Piratical (1)  All languages (473)
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A few of our group were revisiting Wuthering Heights this month, as most had read it in years past, but a classic such as this tends to offer up a little more of itself with each read.
Traditionally, the sense of place encompasses most readers of this novel and the isolation and barrenness of the moors sets the dark mood no matter how many times you read it.

But our discussion fell mostly on the clear class distinctions and the cruel manner the characters had towards each other. We wondered at the Brontes, their way of life and the amount of biographical content within the book.
It was generally agreed that this was a wonderfully written story, even though the dark tone throughout never really let up. The author has written a timeless classic that seems to have survived the generations and still stirs the heart and the mind today.

Our group questioned as to whether Wuthering Heights was a love story or a tragedy. The answer is sure to vary with every reader … but which ever you decide, you could never fail to find the truly timeless and enduring appeal of this masterpiece.

Monday Night Book Club ( )
  DaptoLibrary | Aug 18, 2015 |
I actually had to read this my first year in college, not high school, but I didn't get what all the hype was. It was a crappy love story, unsatisfying and annoying. I remember hating all of the characters. ( )
  engpunk77 | Aug 10, 2015 |
Title: Wuthering Heights
Author: Emily Brontë
Genre: Gothic Fiction

The novel Wuthering Heights written by Emily Brontë is a passionate Classic about an unstable love relationship between a couple with an impenetrable bond. Catherine is portrayed as stubborn and headstrong, Heathcliff on the other hand is cruel and menacing. Together, they make a beautiful loving couple and balance each other’s characteristics out. The reader explores the couples stories as they move through the eyes of Mr. Lockwood, a tenant willing to look after Wuthering Heights. The author wrote the novel in 1845 yet the book is set in the 1770’s. Due to the book being written in the romantic period, the novel contains great language and the author has described the characters well. The story is full of passion and desire as the reader learns more about Heathcliff and Catherine and their love story.

The story is set between two lands, Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange, where Catherine and Heathcliff grow up and play, although, one of the lands is owned by Edgar and Isabella Linton; two wealthy, affluent siblings. One day, Catherine and Heathcliff decide to go on one of their thrilling adventures and mock the prosperous siblings. Catherine ends up gaining feelings for the composed Edgar Linton as Heathcliff becomes jealous, for he had always had feelings for the lovely Catherine. This is just the beginning of Catherine and Linton’s relationship and Heathcliff’s plotted revenge. The battle that occurs in the readers head is about the relationships between the characters as they are torn between their love for one another, but the reader also has to think about the appropriateness for the love of their affection. This is a constant encounter that the reader will experience as they gain more knowledge about the characters.

The book has a great use of language and the reader enjoys the captivating story the novel explores. The author words the sentences similar to how Shakespeare writes, reminding the reader of the older style. Although it can be hard to understand, this makes the reader engage in the novel for they have to really focus and concentrate. The reader will love this book if they wish to expand their vocabulary and absorb new words. The author had really set a great scene for the novel as she used many descriptive settings and adjectives that helped the reader easily picture through the chapters.

Wuthering Heights would be recommended to anyone that is in search of a good book about a love story taking many twists as the characters discover more about each other’s nature. Although this book is about a love story, it still contains gothic themes as it is of the gothic genre. The book would not be for action loving readers but for readers that will love a romantic story filled with passion and dread. This book would suit ages from teen years above due to the choice of language the novel contains, for they may not be able to understand the story. Readers that like classic books would enjoy this novel as well as readers that are willing to try something new and different.

I would rate this book a 3.5 out of 5 stars because the novel does get a little slow at times since it is filled with drama about the relationships the characters are experiencing. The novel requires a lot of concentration and focus and if these two key practises aren’t there the novel is extremely hard to understand. I thought the story was really nice considering it wasn’t a story about action. ( )
  Tiahn | Jul 21, 2015 |
[From Books and You, Doubleday, Doran & Co., 1940, p. 43:]

Wuthering Heights is unique. It is an awkward novel to read, because sometimes it so outrages probability that you are completely bewildered; but it is passionate and profoundly moving; it has the depth and power of a great poem. To read it is not like reading a work of fiction, in which, however absorbed, you can remind yourself, if need be, that it is only a story; it is to have a shattering experience in your own life.

[From Ten Novels and Their Authors, Heinemann, 1954, pp. 204-33:]

Wuthering Heights is an extraordinary book. For the most part, novels betray their period, not only in the manner of writing common to the time at which they were written, but also by their concurrence with the climate of opinion of their day, the moral outlook of their authors, the prejudices they accept or reject. […] But Wuthering Heights is an exception. It is related in no way to the fiction of the time. It is a very bad novel. It is a very good one. It is ugly. It has beauty. It is a terrible, an agonizing, a powerful and a passionate book. Some have thought it impossible that a clergyman’s daughter who led a retired humdrum life, and knew few people and nothing of the world, could have written it. This seems to me absurd. Wuthering Heights is wildly romantic. Now, romanticism eschews the patient observation of realism; it revels in the unbridled flight of the imagination and indulges, sometimes with gusto, sometimes with gloom, in horror, mystery, passion and violence. Given Emily Brontë’s character, and fierce, repressed emotions, which what we know of her suggests, Wuthering Heights is just the sort of book one would have expected her to write.


It must be admitted that it is badly written. The Brontë sisters did not write well. Like governesses they were, they affected the turgid and pedantic style for which the word litératise has been coined. The main part of the story is told by Mrs Dean, a Yorkshire maid of all work like the Brontës’ Tabby; a conversational style would have been suitable; Emily makes her express herself as no human being could. Here is a typical example: “I tried to smooth away all disquietude on the subject, by affirming, with frequent iteration, that that betrayal of trust, if it merited so harsh an appellation, should be the last.” Emily Brontë seems to have been aware that she was putting in Mrs. Dean’s mouth words that it was unlikely she would have known, and, to explain it, makes her say that in the course of her service she has had the opportunity to read books, but, even at that, the pretentiousness of her discourse is appalling. She does not read a letter, she peruses an epistle; she doesn’t send a letter, but a missive. She does not leave a room, she quits a chamber. She calls her day’s work her diurnal occupation. She commences rather than begins. People don’t shout or yell, they vociferate; nor do they listen, they hearken. There is pathos in this parson’s daughter striving so hard to write in a lady-like way, only to succeed in being genteel. Yet one would not wish Wuthering Heights to have been written with grace: it would be none the better for being better written. Just as in one of those early Flemish pictures of the burial of Christ the anguished grimaces of the emaciated creatures concerned, their stiff, ungainly gestures, seem to add a greater horror, a matter-of-fact brutality, to the scene, which makes it more poignant, more tragic, than when the same event is pictured in beauty by Titian; so there is in this uncouth stylization of the language something which strangely heightens the violent passion of the story.

Wuthering Heights is clumsily constructed. That is not surprising, for Emily Brontë had never written a novel before, and she had a complicated story to tell, dealing with two generations. This is a difficult thing to do because the author has to give some sort of unity to two sets of characters and two sets of events; and he must be careful not to allow the interest of one to overshadow the interest of the other. This Emily did not succeed in doing. After the death of Catherine Earnshaw there is, until you come to the last finely imaginative pages, some loss of power. The younger Catherine is an unsatisfactory character, and Emily Brontë seems not to have known what to make of her; obviously she could not give her the passionate independence of the older Catherine, nor the foolish weakness of her father. She is a spoilt, silly, wilful, and ill-mannered creature; and you cannot greatly pity her sufferings. The steps are not made clear which to her falling in love with young Hareton. He is a shadowy figure, and you know no more of him than that he was sullen and handsome. […] I do not suppose that Emily Brontë deliberately thought out how to get a unit of impression into a straggling story, but I think she must have asked herself how to make it coherent; and it may have occurred to her that she could best do this by making one character narrate the long succession of events to another. It is a convenient way of telling a story, and she did not invent it. Its disadvantage is that it is impossible to maintain anything like a conversational manner when the narrator has to tell a number of things, descriptions of scenery for instance, which no sane person would think of doing.


But more than that, I think the method she adopted might have been expected of her, when you consider her extreme, her morbid, shyness and her reticence. What were the alternatives? One was to write the novel from the standpoint of omniscience, as, for instance, Middlemarch and Madame Bovary were written. I think it would have shocked her harsh, uncompromising virtue to tell the outrageous story as a creation of her own; and if she had, moreover, she could hardly have avoided giving some account of Heathcliff during the few years he spent away from Wuthering Heights – years in which he managed to acquire an education and to make quite a lot of money. She couldn’t do this, because she simply didn’t know how he had done it. The fact the reader is asked to accept is hard to believe, and she was content to state it and leave it at that. Another alternative was to have the story narrated to her, Emily Brontë, by Mrs. Dean, say, and tell it then in the first person; but I suspect that that, too, would have brought her into a contact with the reader too close for her quivering sensitivity. By having the story in its beginning told by Lockwood, and unfolded to Lockwood by Mrs Dean, she hid herself behind, as it were, a double mask.


And why did Emily need to hide herself when she wrote this powerful, passionate and terrible book? I think because she disclosed in it her innermost instincts. She looked deep into the well of loneliness in her heart, and saw there unavowable secrets of which, notwithstanding, her impulse as a writer drove her to unburden herself. It is said that her imagination was kindled by the weird stories her father used to tell of the Ireland of his youth, and by the tales of Hoffmann which she learned to read when she went to school in Belgium, and which she continued to read, we are told, back at the parsonage, seated on a hearthrug by the fire with her arm around Keeper’s neck. I am willing to believe that she found in the stories of mystery, violence and horror of the German romantic writers something that appealed to her own fierce nature; but I think she found Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw in the hidden depths of her own soul. I think she was herself Heathcliff, I think she was herself Catherine Earnshaw. Is it strange that she should have put herself into the two chief characters of her book? Not at all. We are none of us all of a piece; more than one person dwells within us, often in uncanny companionship with his fellows; and the peculiarity of the writer of fiction is that he has the power to objectify the diverse persons of which he is compounded in individual characters: his misfortune is that he cannot bring to life characters, however necessary to his story they may be, in which there is no part of himself. That is why the younger Catherine in Wuthering Heights is unsatisfactory.


Wuthering Heights is a love story, perhaps the strangest that was ever written, and not the least strange part of it is that the lovers remain chaste. Catherine was passionately in love with Heathcliff, as passionately in love with him as Heathcliff was with her. One wonders why those two people who were consumed with love did not, whatever the poverty that might have faced them, run away together. One wonders why they didn’t become real lovers. It may be that Emily’s upbringing caused her to look upon adultery as an unforgivable sin, or it may be that the idea of sexual intercourse between the sexes filled her with disgust. I believe both the sisters were highly sexed. Charlotte was plain, with a sallow skin and a large nose on one side of her face. She had proposals of marriage when she was obscure and penniless, and at that period a man expected his wife to bring a portion with her. But beauty is not the only thing that makes a woman attractive; indeed, great beauty is often somewhat chilling: you admire, but are not moved. If young men fell in love with Charlotte, a captious and critical young woman, it can surely have only been because they found her sexually attractive, which means that they felt obscurely that she was highly sexed. She was not in love with Mr Nicholls when she married him; she thought him narrow, dogmatic, sullen and far from intelligent. It is clear from her letters that after she married him she felt very differently towards him; for her they are positively skittish. She fell in love with him, and his defects ceased to matter. The most probable explanation is that those sexual desires of hers were at last satisfied. There is no reason to suppose that Emily was less highly sexed than Charlotte.


But though, as I have said, it is conceivable that Emily constructed Wuthering Heights entirely out of her own fantasies, I do not believe it. I should have thought that it was only very rarely that the fruitful idea that will give rise to a fiction comes to an author, like a falling star, out of the blue; for the most part, it comes to him from an experience, generally emotional, of his own, or, if it is told him by another, emotionally appealing; and then his imagination in travail, character and incidents little by little grow out of it, until at length the finished work comes into being. Few people, however, know how small a hint, how trivial to all appearances an occurrence, may be that will serve to set the spark that will kindle the author’s invention. When you look at the cyclamen with its heart-shaped leaves surrounding a profusion of flowers, their careless petals wearing a wilful look as though they grew haphazard, it seems incredible that this luscious beauty, this rich colour, should have come from a seed hardly larger than a pin’s head. So it may be with the productive seed that will give rise to an immortal book.

It seems to me that one only has to read Emily Brontë’s poems to guess what the emotional experience was that led her to seek release from cruel pain by writing Wuthering Heights. She wrote a good deal of verse. It is uneven; some of it is commonplace, some of it moving, some of it lovely. […] In 1845, three years before her death, she wrote a poem called The Prisoner. So far as is known, she had never read the works of any of the mystics, yet in these verses she so describes the mystical experience that it is impossible to believe that they do not tell of what she knew from personal acquaintance. She uses almost the very words that the mystics use when they describe the anguish felt on the return from union with the Infinite:

Oh dreadful is the check – intense the agony –
When the ear begins to hear, the eye begins to see;
When the pulse begins to throb, the brain to think again;
The soul to feel the flesh, and the flesh to feel the chain.

These lines surely reflect a felt, a deeply felt, experience. Why should one suppose that Emily Brontë’s love poems were no more than a literary exercise? I should have thought they pointed very clearly to her having fallen in love, to her love having being repulsed, and then to her having been bitterly hurt. She wrote these particular poems when she was teaching at a girls’ school at Law Hill, near Halifax. She was nineteen. There was little chance of her meeting men there (and we know how she fled from men), and so, from what we surmise of her disposition, it is likely enough that she fell in love with one or other of the mistresses, or with one of the girls. It was the only love of her life. It may well be that the unhappiness it caused her sufficed to implant the seed in the fruitful soil of her tortured sensibility which enabled her to create the strange book we know. I can think of no other novel in which the pain, the ecstasy, the ruthlessness of love have been so powerfully set forth. Wuthering Heights has great faults, but they do not matter; they matter as little as the fallen tree-trunks, the strewn rock, the snow-drifts which impede, but do not stem, the alpine torrent in its tumultuous course down the mountain-side. You cannot liken Wuthering Heights to any other book. You can liken it only to one of those great pictures of El Greco in which in a sombre, arid landscape, under clouds heavy with thunder, long emaciated figures in contorted attitudes, spell-bound by an unearthly emotion, hold their breath. A streak of lightning, flitting across the leaden sky, gives a mysterious terror to the scene.
  WSMaugham | Jun 25, 2015 |
Wuthering Heights is the timeless tale of love, revenge, and the inability to just let go. Written by Emily Bronte in the mid 1840s, this was a non-feminine and distasteful work for its time. Nonetheless, it has remained a classic. Being a part of the Gothic genre, it attempts to add some supernatural elements, most of it being pretty much the ghost of Catherine Linton, and it's still up in the air whether it was a ghost, or if Heathcliff merely envisioned her.

In terms of characters, I felt that they were fully fleshed out, for the most part. In most stories, I see each character as having various personality traits, and the levels of some of those traits differ. But Bronte's characters are a bit unbalanced in these personality levels, much like the various characters in some random MMORPG (magic user, speedster, physical giant, etc). But that is the heart of the story. Had Heathcliff not been a vengeful ass that wanted to inflict the most horrid of cruelty on his enemies and their offspring, then we wouldn't have a story, now would we? Now, throw in some other characters who are extremely sickly and die at a young age, two obstinate female characters who go against traditional values, and a foreboding setting. We've got Wuthering Heights.

"I have no pity! I have no pity! The more the worms writhe, the more I yearn to crush out their entrails! It is a moral teething, and I grind with greater energy, in proportion to the increase of pain."-Heathcliff

There is also the issue with prose. If you've ever played the game Telephone, then you'll understand. Everything is written by Lockwood, who is in turn relaying information told by Nelly Dean, who in turn sometimes tells events from other character's perspective, who sometimes might be repeating what others say. The bottom line is, nothing is firsthand. The narrator isn't omniscient, and therefore one can never fully trust the narrator. It's all based on what Nelly thinks of the situation...so it's more like reading a diary. This is something that should be understood when embarking on this reading. Other than that, the language is pretty easy to understand, except for the instances of the Yorkshire accent, which actually may be easier if pronounced out loud.

If you want a classic story that'll keep you guessing about the motives of the protagonist (or antagonist, depending on how you look at it), then this is the one to read. Great story. And, I'll leave with some wise words from Nelly Dean herself:

"'Good words,' I replied. 'But deeds must prove it also; and after he is well, remember you don't forget resolutions formed in the hour of fear.'" ( )
  jms001 | Jun 14, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 444 (next | show all)
La autora consiguió que uno perciba la fuerza, tristeza, alegría maldad y miseria de cada uno de los personajes con una historia tan fluida y bien narrada. Esta novela cuenta con sorpresas y giros, mostrando hechos crueles, apasionados y bellos, este clásico de la literatura pese a los años de su publicación maneja conceptos adaptables y reales a nuestros tiempos en cuanto a las relaciones sociales se refiere, es un clásico que no puedes dejar pasar
"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

» Add other authors (166 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brontë, Emilyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Becker, May LambertonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Booker, NellIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Daiches, DavidEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eichenberg, FritzIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Exell, FredCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Flosnik, AnneNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Forster, PeterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Henderson, PhilipEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hinton, S. E.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kitchen, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lane, MargaretIntroductionsecondary 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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:31 -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)

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