Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights

You can find the redesigned cover of this edition HERE.This best-selling Norton Critical Edition is based on the 1847 first edition of the novel. For the Fourth Edition, the editor has collated the 1847 text with several modern editions and has corrected a number of variants, including accidentals. The text is accompanied by entirely new explanitory annotations.New to the...

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Title:Wuthering Heights
Author:Emily Brontë
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Wuthering Heights Reviews

  • karen

    "all i care about in this goddamn life are me, my drums, and you"...

    if you don't know that quote, you're probably too young to be reading this and isn't it past your bedtime or shouldn't you be in school or something?

    but that quote, hyper-earnest cheese - that is romance. wuthering heights is something more dangerous than romance. it's one long protracted retaliation masquerading as passion. and goddamn do i love it. i can't believe i haven't reviewed it before - i mention this book in more than

    "all i care about in this goddamn life are me, my drums, and you"...

    if you don't know that quote, you're probably too young to be reading this and isn't it past your bedtime or shouldn't you be in school or something?

    but that quote, hyper-earnest cheese - that is romance. wuthering heights is something more dangerous than romance. it's one long protracted retaliation masquerading as passion. and goddamn do i love it. i can't believe i haven't reviewed it before - i mention this book in more than half of my reviews, i have a whole shelf devoted to its retellings, so why the delay?? but better late than never.

    no, it's not a perfect novel; it's a flawed structure revealing the actions of seriously flawed people. the framing device-within-a-framing-device? totally awkward. having nelly dean tell the story even though where was she for most of the action? totally wrong move, bronte; it makes the beginning such a slog to get through. but that's just stale loaf - the good stuff is all the meat in between.

    and oh, the meat... the swarthy stranger of mysterious origins being raised in a family of sheltered overmoist english mushrooms, all pale and rain-bloated, the running wild, two-souls-against-the-world adolescence...childhood indiscretions... vows and tantrums, bonding, unspoken promises, yes i will yes i will yes i will. oh, but wait, what's this??...it's blond and it's rich and it's whats expected of me. very well then. see ya, heathcliff...

    it's just textbook gothic from here on out: revenge-seduction, overheard conversations, mysterious disappearances, murdered puppies, swooning, vindictive child-rearing, death, ghosts, moors, phoar...

    but this to me, is a perfect love story, even though it's more like torture. the unattainable is always more romantic than the storybook. i don't like an uncomplicated ending, and a story is more impactful with nuanced characters, preferably heavily unlikeable throughout. (this is where i plug head-on - one of my favorite movies ever. do it.)this story just makes me feel good. and i'm well over my teenage fascination with the "bad boy"; i realized pretty quick that "bad boys" are usually pretty dumb. so i moved on to "emotionally disturbed", which is the same thing, really; plenty of drama, and they will leave you drunken "presents" on your lawn (road signs, carousel ponies..), but not complete burnouts, at least. but my teenaged dating pool is neither here nor there, the point is that heathcliff can be romanticized as this victim/villain without having to correspond to the ideal. it's about the level of passion, the size of the grand romantic gesture. devoting your life to destroying the people who kept you from your true love is an amazingly grand gesture.

  • K.

    I understand why many people hate this book. Catherine and Heathcliff are monstrous. Monstrous. You won't like them because they are unlikable. They are irrational, self-absorbed, malicious and pretty much any negative quality you can think a person is capable of possessing without imploding. They seek and destroy and act with no thought to consequence. And I find it fascinating that Emily Bronte chose them to be her central protagonists.

    When this was first published it was met with animosity be

    I understand why many people hate this book. Catherine and Heathcliff are monstrous. Monstrous. You won't like them because they are unlikable. They are irrational, self-absorbed, malicious and pretty much any negative quality you can think a person is capable of possessing without imploding. They seek and destroy and act with no thought to consequence. And I find it fascinating that Emily Bronte chose them to be her central protagonists.

    When this was first published it was met with animosity because of how utterly repugnant these two characters were. The way they go about their business caring nothing for others but themselves was enough for me to shake my head in complete and total judgment, as if Catherine and Heathcliff could see me and are then effectively shamed by their actions.

    is epic, in my humble opinion, because I believe that the scope of this story is monumental. Let me explain: it is a simple tale between two families that are bound in such a way that their fates are irrevocably linked. What affects one, affects the other. Its about Catherine and Heathcliff who fall in love and how their relationship ruins the lives of those around them. The book, all 400 pages of it, occur almost entirely at Wuthering Heights, the estate of the Earnshaws, and at Thrushcross Grange, the estate of the Lintons with only a couple of miles of land in between.

    And yet it is not a small story.

    The emotional magnitude of this book is great and far reaching. The provoking and unapologetic quality of Bronte's writing is seductive. The process of reading this story can feel so masochistic sometimes that its almost if she's daring us to stop reading and throw the book away. Like its a game of personal endurance to see how much we can take, how far we can go. She pushes at us, challenging us and all the while knowing that we have to keep reading because redemption awaits. It is

    like its contemporaries.

    The moors, the darkness of the moors, that curses the household of Wuthering Heights and its inhabitants is ever present. Nature is personified. It is its own character; its there, lingering and simmering ever so quietly, saturating every scene with its silent threats of doom...okay, I have to stop talking like this...what am I anymore?

    There is poison in this book, but let me ease your mind by saying that it is balanced with goodness also. This isn't a perfect novel. There were still moments I found myself in perplexion (recently invented word). And while everything about Catherine and Heathcliff may be corrupt, there is hope in

    . If you can journey through the menacing forest of Emily Bronte's imagination, do it because the view is something to behold.

    Ha ha ha, this review...what even is this?

  • Emily May

    This is my favourite book. I do not say that lightly, I've read quite a lot from all different genres and time periods, but

    . Of all time. Ever. The ladies over at

    kindly allowed me to get my feelings of utter adoration for

    off my chest in their "Year of the Classics" feature, but I now realise it's time I posted a little something in this blank review space. I mean, come on, it's my favourite book so it deserves better than empty nothi

    This is my favourite book. I do not say that lightly, I've read quite a lot from all different genres and time periods, but

    . Of all time. Ever. The ladies over at

    kindly allowed me to get my feelings of utter adoration for

    off my chest in their "Year of the Classics" feature, but I now realise it's time I posted a little something in this blank review space. I mean, come on, it's my favourite book so it deserves better than empty nothingness.

    So, what do I love so much about

    ?

    . Okay, maybe not, that wouldn't really be saying it strongly enough.

    What I love about this novel is the setting, the wilderness. This is not a story about niceties and upper class propriety, this is the tale of people who aren't so socially acceptable, who live away from the strict rules of civilization - it's almost as if they're not quite from the world we know. The isolation of the setting out on the Yorkshire moors between the fictional dwellings of The Heights and Thrushcross Grange emphasises how far removed these characters are from social norms, how unconventional they are, and how lonely they are.

    This is a novel for readers who can appreciate unlikeable characters, readers who don't have to like someone to achieve a certain level of understanding them and their circumstances. People are not born evil... so what makes them that way? What torments a man so much that he refuses to believe he has any worth? What kind of person digs up the grave of their loved one so they can see them once again? Heathcliff was not created to be liked or to earn your forgiveness,

    simply tells his story from the abusive and unloved childhood he endured, to his obsession with the only person alive who showed him any real kindness, to his adulthood as an angry, violent man who beats his wife and imprisons the younger Cathy in order to make her marry his son.

    It would be so easy to hate Heathcliff, and I don't feel that he is some dark, sexy hero like others often do. But I appreciate what

    attempts to teach us about the cycle of violence and aggression. Heathcliff eventually becomes little more than the man he hates, by being brought up with beatings and anger he in turn unleashes it on everyone else. And Cathy is no delicate flower either. What hope did Heathcliff have when the only person he ever loved was a selfish, vindictive, little wretch? But I love

    for creating such imperfect, screwed-up characters.

    This is a dark novel that deals with some very complicated individuals, but I think in the end we are offered the possibility of peace and happiness through Cathy (younger) and Hareton's relationship, and the suggestion that Cathy (older) and Heathcliff were reunited in the afterlife. I had an English teacher in high school that said Cathy and Heathcliff's personalities and their relationship were too much for this world and that peace was only possible for them in the next. I have no idea if this was something Ms Bronte intended, but the romantic in me likes to imagine that it's true.

  • Amalia Gavea

    How can I find and put together the suitable words and write a review about one of the most iconic creations in World Literature? One of those books that provoke such intense feelings that either you worship them or you utterly hate them. There is no middle ground. Every year, I revisit

    for two reasons. First, it is one of my personal Christmas traditions and secondly, I prepare extracts to use in class for my intermediate level students. This year, I finally felt confident eno

    How can I find and put together the suitable words and write a review about one of the most iconic creations in World Literature? One of those books that provoke such intense feelings that either you worship them or you utterly hate them. There is no middle ground. Every year, I revisit

    for two reasons. First, it is one of my personal Christmas traditions and secondly, I prepare extracts to use in class for my intermediate level students. This year, I finally felt confident enough to write a text. I will not call it a review, but a summary of what this masterpiece means for me, what I feel each time I gaze upon its title.

    I was 12 when my mother made me a special gift. (I have a mother that gave me a book about self-destructive love and a father that gave me

    a year later. I know, they rock!) It was a thick volume with a dark cover. A cover as black as the night scene it depicted. A young couple running in the moors against the wind, and a black, foreboding mansion looming in the background. To this day, that cherished Greek edition of Emily's only novel is the most beautiful I've ever seen. I read it in a single day. I remember it was a windy day, a summer torrent rain that lasted all afternoon. It left me speechless. It shaped me. It shaped my reading preferences, it shaped my love for eerie, dark, doomed, haunting stories with twisted anti-heroes. It even shaped the choice of my profession.

    When I was 15, one of the best teachers I've ever had gave us a project. She divided us into groups and asked us to make a presentation of our favourite book. She put me in a group with two classmates. Such kind and charming souls they were but would never open a book if their lives depended on it. I didn't care, I was happy because I'd get to choose the book. We left our teacher crying buckets in the classroom, marking a heroic A+ on our papers. During the 3rd year in university, we had to complete individual assignments. I'll let you guess the theme and the book I chose. My professor had to interrupt me at some point, kindly but firmly.

    Were they? Anyway, you get the point. My level of obsession with this novel equal Heathcliff's obsession with Cathy.

    Emily Brontë's novel may not be for everyone. It doesn't matter. Nothing is for everyone. But, she has created an eternal tale -or nightmare- of a love that is destructive, dark, twisted and stranger than all the other sweet, lovey-dovey stories that have been written. She has created one of the most iconic couples in Literature, she has provided the first and finest example of the Anti-hero in the face of Heathcliff. She has ruined many girls' expectations, because who wouldn't want to be loved as fiercely as Cathy was? (For years, my notion of the ideal man was Ralph Fiennes as Heathcliff in the 1992 film. The best adaptation of the novel, with Juliette Binoche as Cathy) How many writers who have written only one novel can claim to have accomplished all these?

    One of the reasons I became a teacher was to have the opportunity to teach this book. It is my greatest satisfaction when I see its impact on my teenage students. They are familiar with the bleak and twisted tales of our times, nothing shocks them anymore. They love it unanimously, it is a rare case where boys and girls love the same book equally. So, mission accomplished.

    For me, this book is my soul. It lies there, making the question ''What is your favourite book?'' the easiest ever.

    P.S. Please, God, when I die, put me in a sector where I can meet Emily. You can keep Shakespeare, Austin, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. I prefer long talks with a disturbed, fragile, wild girl...

  • Larissa

    Certain novels come to you with pre-packaged expectations. They just seem to be part of literature's collective unconscious, even if they are completely outside of your own cultural referents. I, for instance, who have no particular knowledge of--or great love for--romantic, Anglo-Gothic fiction, came to

    with the assumption that I was picking up a melancholy ghost story of thwarted, passionate love and eternal obsession. Obsession turned out to be only accurate part of this pre

    Certain novels come to you with pre-packaged expectations. They just seem to be part of literature's collective unconscious, even if they are completely outside of your own cultural referents. I, for instance, who have no particular knowledge of--or great love for--romantic, Anglo-Gothic fiction, came to

    with the assumption that I was picking up a melancholy ghost story of thwarted, passionate love and eternal obsession. Obsession turned out to be only accurate part of this presumption.

    Having an image of Heathcliff and Cathy embracing

    -style on a windy moor ironed in my mind, I was almost completely unprepared for the hermetic, moribund, bleak, vengeful, perverse, and yes--obsessive--novel that this really is.

    is not about windmills and

    is not really a love story. Heathcliff and Cathy's love affair (if it can be called that) is a narcissistic ("I am Heathcliff!" Cathy exclaims at one point), possessive, and imminently cruel relationship predicated on self-denial and an obsessiveness that relies not on passion, but rather borders on hatred. They are selfish, violent, and contriving people who have borne their fair share of abuses (mostly Heathcliff in this respect) and in turn, feel no compunction about raining similar abuses on those who they find beneath them.

    Given this dynamic, it seems perhaps inevitable that these two characters would make not only themselves miserable, but everyone around them miserable--even after death. This is particularly easy to accomplish mainly because there are--with the exception of Mr. Lockwood, the tenant who rents a home from Heathcliff--no outside characters. Everyone in the novel (including the servants) is isolated, trapped between the same two homes, with the same two families, and have truly no chance of escaping any of the events and repercussions that occur.(One character makes a temporary escape, only to suffer all the more for it later.)

    More important, however, is the fact that Heathcliff and Cathy don't even need be present (although they usually are in some fashion) for their influences to be felt by the other characters. The sins of the father, are literally, inherited and distributed among the next generation. The children of

    are not only physical doubles of their parents (At least 3 characters look like Cathy, and one resembles Heathcliff), but they are also spiritual stand-ins. They must suffer for past transgressions, and they must find a way to make amends for them. All, I might add, without the particular benefit of ever having the full story, the context that might be necessary to actually change their circumstances. Misery, it seems, is inevitable.

    There is, of course, much more to be said about this novel. One could spend quite some time dissecting all the various repetitions and doublings, the narrative structure (the story is told by the housekeeper to the lodger who then writes it down as a diary entry), or the archetypal analogies and semi-biblical symbolism that seems to be implicit to every part of this story.

    The point being, I suppose, that while

    may not be the wistful romance one (or maybe just I) expected to be, it is a particularly satisfying one for all of its dark and layered surprises.

  • Eliszard

    Ah the classics. Everybody can read their own agenda in them. So, first a short plot guide for dinner conversations when one needs to fake acculturation, and then on to the critics’ view.

    A woman [1:] is in love with her non-blood brother [2:] but marries her neighbor [3:] whose sister [4:] marries the non-blood brother [2:]; their [1,3:] daughter [5:] marries their [2,4:] son [6:]; meanwhile, their [1,2:] elder brother marries and has a son [7:]. Then everybody dies, 1 of bad temper, 4 of stupi

    Ah the classics. Everybody can read their own agenda in them. So, first a short plot guide for dinner conversations when one needs to fake acculturation, and then on to the critics’ view.

    A woman [1:] is in love with her non-blood brother [2:] but marries her neighbor [3:] whose sister [4:] marries the non-blood brother [2:]; their [1,3:] daughter [5:] marries their [2,4:] son [6:]; meanwhile, their [1,2:] elder brother marries and has a son [7:]. Then everybody dies, 1 of bad temper, 4 of stupidity, 3 of a cold, 6 because he’s irritating, 2 because he’s mean and tried to rise above his station. 5 and 7 are the only ones left, so they marry. The women are all called Catherine, the men are mostly called Earnshaw, and through intermarriage everybody is a bit of a Heathcliff.

    The Marxist critic: the oppressed and underprivileged [2:] revolts to improve his lot in life, but fails to make allies and loses everything, as always.

    The Post-colonialist critic: once again the rich [1,3,4:] meddle with the lives of the poor [2:] under the pretense of improving them, in fact wrecking havoc.

    The Feminist critic: if only the Catherines had read The Feminine Mystique…

    The Freudian critic: repeated intermarriage and border-line incest make for such good stories!

    The Shakespearean critic: Much Ado About Nothing

    The Entertainment Weekly executive: stories told by sources close to the protagonists always sell well, because most people live vicariously. And dinnertime has always been the perfect slot for gossip.

  • Bookdragon Sean

    I’m going to start with the positives. The characterisation of Heathcliff is incredibly strong. He is a man who is utterly tormented by the world. As a gypsy boy he is dark skinned and dark haired, and to the English this rough, almost wild, look makes him a ruffian. He stands up for himself, and bites back; thus, he is termed a monster. In a very, very, Fran

    I’m going to start with the positives. The characterisation of Heathcliff is incredibly strong. He is a man who is utterly tormented by the world. As a gypsy boy he is dark skinned and dark haired, and to the English this rough, almost wild, look makes him a ruffian. He stands up for himself, and bites back; thus, he is termed a monster. In a very, very, Frankenstein’s monster like sense, his perceived outer image begins to permeate his soul. Call a man a monster, and eventually he may start acting like one.

    He is a very complex man, capable of great cruelty and kindness. The world has made him bitter, and in a way ruined him. He reaps revenge, but revenge always ends the same way; it doesn’t solve problems but creates more. So he becomes even more tormented, this time by his own actions. He is very Byronic, and by today’s standards a little bit of a bad boy. He has all the standard tropes of an anti-hero, one that becomes a figure that can be sympathised with and hated. He’s a very complex man.

    The Bronte’s were directly affected by Byron’s poetry. Rochester is Charlotte’s portrayal of a similar, albeit less vengeful, character. Love is the key torment in both works. Heathcliff has been rejected, as Rochester cannot open his heart because of his secret wife. But, rather that overcome his personal loss, and subject the world to his dark and broody personality, Heathcliff actually seeks to do others harm. He is a very sensitive man when it comes to his own emotions, though he lacks any real empathy. He does not care that he is creating more pain for others. He spends his life spreading more hate into the world. His only redeeming quality is his love for Catherine, but that doesn’t excuse his tyranny. He knows how nasty he is:

    He's so self-centred:

    So I rather like his character, well not like but appreciate the complexity, though the novel’s structure itself was abysmal. I have quite a few problems with the narrative.

    Why is a servant telling us this story as she speaks to a visitor of her master’s house? Why are we hearing someone’s interpretation of the events rather than the events themselves? Why is it twenty years later in the form of an extremely long conversation? Why is the servant still actually working for Heathcliff? She would have left. Nobody would choose to work for such a man. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense. At times it felt like the credibility of the story was stretched to breaking point. Nelly (the servant) actually being in some of the scenes was almost laughable. Often it was followed by a terrible explanation attempting to justify her presence. It sounded very desperate to me.

    This leads perfectly on to my next point. Half way through the story (the start of volume ii) we are told that the conversation has ended. We then hear the visitor’s description of the servant’s narrative about Heathcliff’s life. I mean seriously? So there are three layers of storytelling. Isn’t that completely unnecessary and overcomplicated? Why not just have Heathcliff tell the story or at the very least have the servant tell the story from start to finish in one story arc with no time shifts. For me, it felt like Emily wrote herself into a corner with her choice of narrative and desperately tried to write herself out of it to the point of ridiculousness. How much of the story can we believe? How much bias is in the narratives?

    Then there was the dialogue overloads. Large parts of the novel were entirely conversational. The narration was minimalistic and bare. The only character whose thoughts we were privy to, again Nelly the servant, was completely irrelevant to the plot. Who cares about the servant’s emotion and reactions? This isn’t her story; thus, the dialogue was packed out to the point of unnaturalness to fit in the thoughts of characters whose minds we weren’t privy to. Simply put, the characters said things people wouldn’t realistically say in conversation. It was overflowing with emotions and private thoughts. It was awkward. I’m not talking about private conversations, those don’t happen as Nelly is awkwardly present for every single event, but announcements or decisions (that should be internal) announced to a group of people. This is why plays have asides and soliloquies. And this is why novels aren’t told from the perspective of a random servant.

    There is clearly a great story here. Plot wise the novel is wonderful. But the way in which Emily told her story was nothing short of disastrous. It felt like a wasted opportunity. I’m absolutely horrified at how poor it is. This novel needed to be taken apart, re-wrote, and put back together again. Perhaps then it would have been worthy of the story it failed to tell. I’ve never been so massively underwhelmed in such a blatant lack of skill in a canonised piece of literature, one that has immense critical reception.

  • Chelsea

    I've tried it three times. I know people are obsessed with it. I hate everyone in the book - and I just can't care about a book where I actually

    the characters.

    And, sure, I get the interpretation that as terrible as Heathcliff and Cathy are, it's their love that redeems them, and

    .

    No.

  • Ellen

    I never expected this book to be as flagrantly, unforgivably bad as it was.

    To start, Bronte's technical choice of narrating the story of the primary characters by having the housekeeper explain everything to a tenant 20 years after it happened completely kills suspense and intimacy. The most I can say is that to some extent this functions as a device to help shroud the story and motives from the reader. But really, at the time literary technique hadn't quite always gotten around to accepting tha

    I never expected this book to be as flagrantly, unforgivably bad as it was.

    To start, Bronte's technical choice of narrating the story of the primary characters by having the housekeeper explain everything to a tenant 20 years after it happened completely kills suspense and intimacy. The most I can say is that to some extent this functions as a device to help shroud the story and motives from the reader. But really, at the time literary technique hadn't quite always gotten around to accepting that omnipotent 3rd person narrators are allowed, so you'd have to have a multiperspective story told by an omnipotent 3rd person narrator who was actually a character in the story (e.g. the housekeeper Ellen). The layers of perspective make it annoying and sometimes impossible to figure out who is telling what bit of story; and moreover, because so much is related as two characters explaining things between themselves, the result is that we rarely see any action, and instead have the entire book explained in socratic, pedantic exposition.

    The sense of place is poorly rendered and almost entirely missing. Great, the moor is gray.

    But ultimately, the most damning thing is that the characters are a bunch of immature, insuffrable, narcissistic assholes with very little self respect. This isn't a story of great love and passion. It's the story of how child abuse perpetuates itself through the generations. The characters are either emotionally abused as children or, as in the case of Cathy I, they're spoiled and overindulged with no discipline and can't muster the restraint and self-respect to ditch abusive relationships. I kept waiting for any of the characters to be remotely worth my time, but I found no respite from the brutish abuse of the horribly twisted Heathcliff or from the simpering idiocy of Cathy I and II. Ugh. Not only are there no transformations or growth, but the characters aren't even that likable to begin with. How this book got to be a classic is beyond me.

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