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Wuthering Heights (1847)

by Emily Brontë

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
51,83569824 (3.88)6 / 1902
  1. 492
    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (roby72, Olivia_Atlet_Writer)
  2. 303
    Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (Bonzer)
  3. 172
    The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë (Catreona, Olivia_Atlet_Writer)
  4. 152
    Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy (lesleymc)
  5. 166
    The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (brightbel, coffee.is.yum)
  6. 122
    My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier (Bonzer)
  7. 123
    The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot (roby72)
  8. 80
    Persuasion by Jane Austen (sturlington)
    sturlington: Persuasion is the antidote to Wuthering Heights.
  9. 62
    The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (ainsleytewce)
  10. 20
    A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen (lucy.depalma)
  11. 42
    Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (kara.shamy)
  12. 20
    Windward Heights by Maryse Condé (TheLittlePhrase)
  13. 32
    The White Earth by Andrew McGahan (Sassm)
    Sassm: This is an offbeat recommendation, but I believe it's a good one. The White Earth is another well written book in which the landscape is closely entwined in a rather gothic tale of human interaction.
  14. 32
    Manon Lescaut by Abbé Prévost (roby72)
  15. 32
    Camille: The Lady of the Camellias by Alexandre Dumas (peleiades22)
  16. 88
    Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton (opf)
  17. 22
    Moonfleet by John Meade Falkner (elizabeth.a.coates)
    elizabeth.a.coates: Both have very vivid settings that are well-described
  18. 22
    Dina's Book by Herbjørg Wassmo (Eustrabirbeonne)
    Eustrabirbeonne: Lord David Cecil's classification for the characters in "Wuthering Heights" - children of calm and children of storm - may be applied to Herbjorg Wassmo's book, and especially the eponymous heroine. What a child of storm we find in the tall, dark, savage, sensual, ruthless figure of Dina!… (more)
  19. 01
    A True Novel by Minae Mizumara (lottpoet)
    lottpoet: Retelling of Wuthering Heights in post-World War II Japan.
  20. 01
    The Shivering Sands by Victoria Holt (VictoriaPL)

(see all 34 recommendations)

Read (20)
AP Lit (21)
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Showing 1-5 of 641 (next | show all)
I love the song, I love the films and now I love the book.

The story is narrated by Nelly Dean for Mr Lockwood, the current tenant of Thrushcross Grange, who is curious about his landlord, Heathcliff, residing at Wuthering Heights. Nelly served both households over the years and provides an eye-witness account of events from Heathcliff’s introduction into the Earnshaw family at Wuthering Heights when Catherine was just 6 years old through to the novel’s present day. She is both go-between and confidante, devil’s advocate and peace-maker.

The intensely powerful and vivid descriptions of the harsh, unrelenting and unforgiving natural landscape are the perfect foil to Heathcliff’s wild and ‘wuthering’ nature and a stark contrast to the calm comfort of Thrushcross Grange, the ‘heath’ to the ‘cliff’ of Wuthering Heights.

An all-consuming love to the point of madness and acts of revenge against all who stand in the way. Extreme cruelty, abuse and neglect - malice, petulance and spite – tyranny, tears and temper - Emily Bronte’s imagination knows no bounds. Heathcliff is as intriguing as he is hateful which bears testimony to her superlative writing skills although I did find the local dialect rather challenging.

An unforgettable, all-time classic. ( )
  geraldine_croft | Mar 22, 2024 |
"The most haunting love story in the english language"
  YZHistorical_Library | Mar 18, 2024 |
This review is for an audiobook I borrowed from my local library.

Somehow, despite having an English degree and having a “classics” phase in my late teens I never read Wuthering Heights. In fact I think the only Brontë sister book I’ve read is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, which as a 15/16 year old I remember loving but I suspect I’d find it less “romantic” now twenty years later. That could be an interesting re-read project.

In any case, it turns out I had some misconceptions about Wuthering Heights. I had an idea what this was a romantic love story with Heathcliff being some kind of sexy antihero. There would be heartbroken woman in a nightgown wandering on the Yorkshire Moors wailing “Heathcliffe!” in the wind and rain. I don’t know where got this mental image from, maybe clips from the movie or TV adaptions? Maybe I just made it up, or got it confused with something else!

This is review, if I’m calling it that, is very much down to my own personal reading preferences. I absolutely agree with this book being considered a classic, and I do think it is a masterpiece of writing in many ways, it is just not one that jives with my taste and it didn’t have the elements that truly engage and excite me.

Plot

Though the novel was written during the literary Romantic period, and you could potentially classify it as a Gothic Romance, Wuthering Heights is not at all “romantic” in our modern sense. Any love found at the start very quickly turns obsessive, destructive and tips the line into hate. This book is filled with shocking cruelties, abuse and out-right violence.

Actually the childhood “romance” portion of the book ends with my least favourite romance genre trope – miscommunication! And worst of all, the overheard conversation where the listener leaves half way through a sentence missing the true sentiment. This is the basis for Heathcliff’s supremely petty, decades long “burn it all the fucking ground” revenge plot.

What follows is brutal and punishing for everyone unlucky enough to reside at Wuthering Heights or Thrushcross Grange.

Characters

The characters are all insufferable, but the worst of the lot are Heathcliff and Catherine. Even as children they are described as selfish, defiant, manipulative and moody little terrors, and neither mature in adulthood. They are both self-obsessed and generally awful to everyone around them, including each other. The second generation of Cathy and Linton are just as prone to histrionics as their parents, and Hareton (for all his misfortune) moulded to take after Heathcliff, is no more likeable in his brooding meanness.

The only truly sympathetic character I found was poor Edgar Linton, who was too soft and daft to escape when he could. He probably shouldn’t have kept his daughter so isolated her only choices for husband would be either (or both!) of her first cousins.

These melodramatic lunatics (in seriousness, there are definitely some untreated mental illnesses at play with Heathcliff and Catherine!) and the bizarrely destructive multigenerational revenge of Heathcliff made for a story I wasn’t particularly enthralled by. I just wanted to get away from them!

Structure

I also struggle when the narrative is told with a past first person perspective, and in this case it’s twice removed. We get the story first from new tenant Lockwood, a true outsider, and then from long-time housekeeper Nelly Dean telling him. Everything is filtered through Nelly and her judgements and assumptions, so we never can know the true thoughts and feelings of the subjects. I prefer to be there with the characters, getting a first hand account as they experience things. So this framing made the whole thing feel staged and inauthentic to me, because it is essentially the gossip of an old woman, who is hardly impartial as she has her own role in the story.

It might not be to my personal reading tastes but I can understand why this has stood the test in time. It is a heck of a story, I just think I would probably enjoy it more as a campy movie. It is incredibly atmospheric, and feels both claustrophobic – everything takes place in or on the moors between the houses of Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange – and also curiously epic, despite the insular pettiness.

The audiobook version I listened to was entirely performed by Joanne Froggatt and was excellent. She’s a fantastic audiobook narrator, and also of course is from North Yorkshire so can do the authentic accent. In fact the reason I found and borrowed this was because I was searching BorrowBox to see what else she had done after I’d loved her reading The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell.

I still plan to continue my little voyage into the classics of Gothic literature, so soon I will give Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier a go.

Now tell me I am not the only one that didn’t know what the real plot of Wuthering Heights is?

REVIEW SUMMARY
I LIKED

  • - I can admire the scope and imagination. The atmosphere is both claustrophobic and epic.

  • - Totally understand why other people love this and why it’s a classic!


I DIDN’T LIKE

  • - The worst narcissistic characters. Heathcliff and Catherine are both awful to everyone. The second generation are no better! I hated them all.

  • - Heathcliff’s petty decades long “burn it all to the ground” revenge is based on mishearing a conversation.

  • - Secondhand first person narrative is too gossipy and removed from true emotions.


  • This review and more on my blog!
( )
  ImagineAlice | Mar 2, 2024 |
Years ago, I read and fell in love with Jane Eyre, and ever since then, I’ve wanted to read some of the Brontë sisters’ other works. Recently, I realized I could listen to the books, rather than try to find time to read them, so I downloaded a version of Wuthering Heights and had at it.

I’m so glad I decided to listen, rather than read! I doubt I’d ever have gotten through it otherwise.

I’ve decided that the draw for this book, if there is one, is the setting. I found many of the characters, and especially their actions, quite depressing, so that wasn’t a plus in my opinion. The setting itself, though, was fascinating—the moors’ bleakness and hopelessness was an interesting “character” in itself. This book is also an interesting study of human nature, as different characters act or react to others’ decisions.

I doubt I’ll ever read the story again. I didn’t appreciate the language in the story, for one, but the violence and bitterness were the parts I really didn’t enjoy. I am grateful for that last chapter—if it weren’t for that, I’d have ended up a lot more depressed than I was, in the end! I appreciate dark stories at times, but this one was slightly too dark for me. In saying that, though, I’m glad to have had the chance to experience it, because it is the kind of book often referenced in literature. Recommended, if you don’t mind darker reads, and do want to check this classic off your list. Just be sure to have a lighthearted, happy book ready to follow up with after this one—you’ll need it! ( )
  EstherFilbrun | Mar 1, 2024 |
Quick review: This is one of those most chilling books I've ever read. This is my third read of it, and I fall in love with it every single time. It's gorgeously painful. ( )
  CADesertReader | Feb 29, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 641 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (241 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brontë, Emilyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Becker, May LambertonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blumenthal, JosephDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Booker, NellIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bordwin, GabrielleCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brontë, CharlottePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cai, RovinaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cornelius, RobertCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Daiches, DavidEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Delebecque, FredericTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dobrée, BonamyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Donnelly, JenniferForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eichenberg, FritzIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eichenberg, FritzIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Exell, FredCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Flosnik, AnneNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Forster, E. M.Afterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Forster, PeterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Henderson, PhilipEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hill, JamesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hinton, S. E.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holway, Tatiana M.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jack, IanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnson, DianeIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jong, Akkie deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kellendonk, FransTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kitchen, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lane, MargaretIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lewes, George HenryAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Macaulay, RoseIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marchetti, LouCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martín Gaite, CarmenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McTeer, JanetNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meßner, MichaelaÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Merkin, DaphneIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miller, LucastaPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moreno-Garcia, SilviaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nestor, PaulineEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nicoll, HelenProducersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peters, DonadaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pucci, Albert JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rambach, GreteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Routledge, PatriciaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Small, HelenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, PattiIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevenson, JulietNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stoneman, PatsyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Timson, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Varho, HelkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, CandaceEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whitley, John S.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wolfenstein, AlfredContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woolf, VirginiaAfterwordsecondary 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.
Quotations
...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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This is the complete, unabridged work - Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë.  Please combine this ONLY with editions 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.
Abbreviated reading on CD; please don't combine with the complete text!
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Book description
Considered lurid and shocking by mid-19th-century standards, Wuthering Heights was initially thought to be such a publishing risk that its author, Emily Brontë, was asked to pay some of the publication costs.
Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine’s father. After Mr Earnshaw’s death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine’s brother Hindley and wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man. He proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries. The action of the story is chaotic and unremittingly violent, but the accomplished handling of a complex structure, the evocative descriptions of the lonely moorland setting and the poetic grandeur of vision combine to make this unique novel a masterpiece of English literature.

A fiend of a book — an incredible monster... The action is laid in hell, — only it seems places and people have English names there. —Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Haiku summary
This is romantic?
Depersonalisation
So many corpses.
(captainfez)

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