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Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights

1847

Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights

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  • Intro

    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.

     

    Wuthering Heights is one of the most strikingly original novels ever written. Its elements are simple to relate: the passionate relationship between Catherine Earnshaw and the dark, brooding Heathcliff, the destructive effects of their love, and the wild backdrop of the Yorkshire moors, based on the landscape around Emily Brontë’s native Haworth. Yet the novel is much more complex than this. It has an intricate structure in which events are recounted to an external narrator, a traveller called Lockwood, by the housekeeper Nelly Dean, whose down-to-earth voice throws the intensity of Catherine and Heathcliff’s story into sharp relief. Names are repeated down the generations, relationships are interwoven, and devices such as Catherine’s diary give us further insights into the characters.

     

    Published in 1847, Wuthering Heights was Emily Brontë’s only novel. Her sister Charlotte said that it was ‘hewn in a wild workshop, with simple tools, out of homely materials’, but its images are often nightmarish and cruel, bordering on the Gothic.

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