Wuthering Heights is the only novel by Emily Brontë, one of the Brontë sisters and the others, Charlotte and Anne, were also famous authors.
Wuthering Heights was published in December 1847 and Emily Brontë dies a year later of tuberculosis. The novel is based in Yorkshire in Northern England, where the author was from. It is a romance story that is as tragic as Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, with two star-crossed lovers. Wuthering Heights has a Romeo and Juliet feel to it, for example the rivalry between the Capulet’s and the Montague’s that Shakespeare wrote of.
The novel is told by the housekeeper, Nelly, who grew up with Heathcliff and Cathy and retells the story to a visitor, Mr Lockwood. Mr Lockwood travels to Wuthering Heights and to The Grange, where he finds out about Heathcliff. Heathcliff is found in Liverpool by Mr Earnshaw, who raises him at Wuthering Heights with his two children Hindley and Catherine. Heathcliff is disliked by all of the other characters except Catherine and even admits to Nelly that he opened her grave eighteen years later to see her. He is hostile to the others and is described negatively as being “avaricious”, “you’re a cruel man” and you were very wicked, Mr Heathcliff.” He is described as either ‘Heathcliff’ or ‘Mr Heathcliff’ as he was named Heathcliff when the family brought him in after their own deceased child, but not given a surname.
Heathcliff and Catherine fall in love, however he hears Catherine telling Nelly that he is beneath her, because of class “It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now, so he shall never know how I love him.” Heathcliff disappears and Catherine marries Linton, so Heathcliff moves into Wuthering Heights, a few miles from the Grange to seek revenge.
“I AM HEATHCLIFF” -CATHERINE
It is apparent that Catherine loves Heathcliff, but does not feel that they can be together as she explains to Nelly “My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods. Time will change it I’m well aware, as the 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.” Heathcliff does not hear here say this so he becomes angry and leaves. Later on, Heathcliff and Catherine see each other again, to profess their love, but Catherine dies in childbirth shortly after. Eventually, Heathcliff marries Linton’s sister Isabella and treats her badly, which causes a rift between the two houses.
Background information on Wuthering Heights
Biography of Emily Brontë
Wuthering Heights Review in The Guardian
BBC Radio 4 Wuthering Heights discussion panel
Kate Bush – Wuthering Heights – Official Music Video