Wuthering Heights

Paperback | November 28, 2000

byEmily BronteIntroduction byDiane Johnson

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Introduction by Diane Johnson
Commentary by George Henry Lewes, Virginia Woolf, and E. M. Forster
 
Wuthering Heights, first published in 1847, the year before the author’s death at the age of thirty, endures today as perhaps the most powerful and intensely original novel in the English language. The epic story of Catherine and Heathcliff plays out against the dramatic backdrop of the wild English moors, and presents an astonishing metaphysical vision of fate and obsession, passion and revenge. “Only Emily Brontë,” V. S. Pritchett said, “exposes her imagination to the dark spirit.” And Virginia Woolf wrote, “Hers . . . is the rarest of all powers. She could free life from its dependence on facts . . . by speaking of the moor make the wind blow and the thunder roar.” This edition also includes Charlotte Brontë’s original Introduction.
 
INCLUDES A MODERN LIBRARY READING GROUP GUIDE

From the Publisher

Introduction by Diane Johnson Commentary by George Henry Lewes, Virginia Woolf, and E. M. Forster   Wuthering Heights, first published in 1847, the year before the author’s death at the age of thirty, endures today as perhaps the most powerful and intensely original novel in the English language. The epic story of Catherine and Heathcl...

From the Jacket

"It is as if Emily Brontë could tear up all that we know human beings by, and fill these unrecognizable transparencies with such a gust of life that theytranscend reality."--Virginia Woolf

Diane Johnson is the author of many books, including the bestselling novel Le Divorce, which was a 1997 National Book Award finalist. She divides her time between San Francisco and Paris.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:464 pages, 8 × 5.2 × 0.9 inPublished:November 28, 2000Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0375756442

ISBN - 13:9780375756443

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Customer Reviews of Wuthering Heights

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from My favourite One of my favourite books of all time!
Date published: 2016-11-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from I don't even know. I hated it. It was painfully difficult to read, but somehow it was still good? The only real problem I had was that I hated the main characters and could not seem to get past that to see what else it had to offer. The writing is good though and I can understand why it is so well-liked. I feel like I need to read it again despite my wanting to stay away.
Date published: 2015-05-03
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Difficult to like I bought this book because I figured it was a classic and I ought to read it at some point, but this was no Jane Austen novel. It was well written and I can understand why one might praise it, however the characters (although well developed) were horrible people for the most part. I could not see past my dislike of the characters to be able to grasp the "terrific love story" it is supposed to be. It was incredibly difficult for me to get through this book, but I said I would recommend it to a friend because although it was not an enjoyable read for me I can see how it would be for certain people. It was at least an interesting read and though I would not do it again I am glad that I did it once.
Date published: 2014-06-12
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Painfully difficult to read This novel was a mandatory reading assigned in my high school English class. Fourteen years later, I still recall how boring this novel was. It was a difficult read and the story itself was unable to capture anyone's attention. I fail to see the reason why this book has received any praise or attention. 
Date published: 2014-03-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it!! Many people who read it, find it to be a slow moving book, but I was hooked from the first chapter. I loved the ending especially.
Date published: 2014-01-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Haunting Love Story Emily Bronte skillfully creates a tale of thwarted love and undying passion. In the dark, gloomy setting of the moors, two characters fall deeply in love with one another, which serves as the catalyst for the events in the rest of the novel. The first half of the book shows the powerful romance between Catherine and Healthcliff, while the second half involves Catherine's daughter and a boy named Hareton Earnshaw. Although the characters are well-developed, none of them are likeable and are full of faults. What is endearing about them however, is their capacity to love. A reader can even feel sympathy for the cold-hearted and brutal Heathcliff, whose affection for Catherine began from childhood and ended at death. It is an amazing read and a tragic classic that will touch any reader.
Date published: 2011-08-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Library Staple This was my third or fourth go round with this remarkable classic, which, for me, rates right up there with Hardy's Jude the Obscure. There is a richness of character development here, a taught arc of plot. Bronte creates such complex characters that you both love and detest, and in the end she forges a tragedy that has earned its right in classic literature. Like Hardy, she runs an undercurrent of environment, almost as a background character, that shapes and influences both protagonists and plot. And while the plot's denouement is predictable, that predictability acts as tension, reinforcing the futility of escaping both the nature of one's environment, and the nature of one's basic character. For me it is a staple of our library, and should be for any true lover of literature.
Date published: 2010-10-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book I started reading Wuthering Heights and could not put it down. It’s a tale of passion and revenge and I found it very unsettling. Most all of the characters have a capacity to resort to violence; even the weakest of them seem pushed to commit or desire to commit violence or self-destruction. It’s very well written and as much as it arouses discomfort, it also has sweet moments. It’s impossible to begin and not finish it but what’s more, it’s impossible to lay it down and forget about it. I’m not sure whose plight is worse: Catherine’s or Heathcliff’s? I will have to come back to it again to figure it out.
Date published: 2009-12-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Darkly Romantic Novel, Wuthering Heights is a disturbingly dark book about love, obsession and revenge. It is a romantic novel full of twists and turns that nearly requires the reader to keep a running dictionary of characters, especially since names have a tendency to pop up in different places and on different people throughout the novel. I read this novel for a class assignment in Victorian Literature but it is helpful to know that the book employs many themes of the Romantic literary genre as well. Victorian ideas of social class are brought up as well as the fantasies of adolescence. Some of the Romantic ideas found in the novels include the idea of the tragic landscape. The landscape of the novel is foreboding and isolated, borrowed most likely from the gothic novel. The characters are extreme in their varying passions and the concept of the dream is used in a type of ghostly communication. One of the story's narrators has a dream of being visited by the ghost of Catherine, which causes a startling and dramatic reaction in Heathcliff. The belief that the reader cannot fully hate Heathcliff because of how he was mistreated as a child is also a Romantic ideal. The story contains a great deal of darkness and some cruelty, which may turn readers away. Love is often extreme to the point of violence in the novel while the romances themselves are nearly incestuous in tone. Cousins marry and adopted siblings hold lifelong affections and obsessions for each other. The novel also illustrates an element of cruelty that can be slightly disturbing at times. Heathcliff, the novel's antagonist, goes as far as to string up the beloved dog of the young woman he courts after Catherine rejects him. The main focus of the story is the rather twisted love story element that develops between Catherine and Heathcliff. Heathcliff is adopted into Catherine's family at a young age and the pair become close, though Catherine rejects him because he is poor and instead marries a rich neighbor. Though throughout the novel, other romances develop between the two highly inbred families, they are side stories in comparison to the main romance. The love of Catherine and Heathcliff eventually develops into an obsession that lasts, and in fact becomes even stronger with the eventual death of Catherine. Her spirit seems to haunt Heathcliff and further fire his obsession. Even before Catherine's death this obsessive love broadens to include an equally obsessive drive to ruin the lives of all the people who mistreated him and stood between him and Catherine, including her husband and older brother. These obsessions eventually lead to the last of the major themes of the novel, revenge. A good part of the book is spent upon Heathcliff's attempts to destroy the lives of anyone and everyone who mistreated him or got in the way of his relationship with Catherine. His need for revenge does not lessen as the book moves on and Heathcliff continues to take his revenge even upon the next generation, including Catherine's daughter and his own son. Whether or not Heathcliff succeeds in his attempts I leave to the reader. Personally, I enjoyed this book a great deal, if for no other reason than the simple fact that it was quite different from the usual school assigned reading. I was pleasantly surprised by how well woven and engaging the book was. The calculating lengths that Heathcliff goes to in order fulfill his quest for revenge are nearly reason enough to read the book. The old style language of the book, which I expected to be a hindrance, was hardly noticeable. In short, if you can handle (or enjoy) the book's darker aspects, then I highly recommend this classic to you. (And I'm not just saying that because I have to! ;))Enjoy!
Date published: 2009-09-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Classic This old classic is not for everyone as it can be hard to get into or some people might find it a bit of a dry read. This book made me wonder if I lived in that era and in any of the characters situations, how would I have dealt with it all. I found I wanted to keep reading to understand the characters better and why they did the things they did. Overall though, I'm glad I read it.
Date published: 2009-04-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Powerful Classic It can be difficult to read as the dialect is so old. But, the story takes a hold of you, the characters are so real. The love and loss with Cathy and Heathcliff is powerful and tragic.
Date published: 2009-03-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Interesting (Recommend) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte is an amazing classic that is very exciting and easy to understand. It is very well written and I am sure every one will enjoy it. This novel is full of so much emotion and was a great experience to read. It is about a boy that is found by Mr. Earnshaw and brought home one day. He is considered a savage, named Heathcliff, who falls madly in love with Catherine Earnshaw, the daughter of his benefactor. Misery results from their great longing for each other. They live in the moors, far away from the rest of society. What will happen with their relationship? What are the consequences of their love?
Date published: 2008-06-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Worthy Classic There seems to be an underlining meaning to the events in this book. A message is there for you to crack, a warning on the instability of society and human behavior. It is packed with contrast and parallel symbols. Not only that, but there is an unreliable narrator that really shows the reader’s true colours by their reactions to what is being said.
Date published: 2007-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent An amazing book that takes the reader on a romantic roller coster. Teaches a great lesson of the effects of our treatment of others... Recommended to everyone.
Date published: 2006-09-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wuthering Heights If you enjoy good, thought-provoking literature that simultaneously confuses and enlightens you, you will definitely enjoy this classic Victorian novel. Rich, intriguing characters generate conflicting feelings of love and hatred. They are both grotesque and romantic, vicious and tragic, torturers and victims. The story's twists and turns will leave you bewildered - and fascinated.
Date published: 1999-03-19

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Read from the Book

CHAPTER 11801--I have just returned from a visit to my landlord--the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with. This is certainly a beautiful country! In all England, I do not believe that I could have fixed on a situation so completely removed from the stir of society. A perfect misanthropist's Heaven: and Mr. Heathcliff and I are such a suitable pair to divide the desolation between us. A capital fellow! He little imagined how my heart warmed towards him when I beheld his black eyes withdraw so suspiciously under their brows, as I rode up, and when his fingers sheltered themselves, with a jealous resolution, still further in his waistcoat, as I announced my name.'Mr. Heathcliff?' I said.A nod was the answer.'Mr. Lockwood, your new tenant, sir. I do myself the honour of calling as soon as possible after my arrival, to express the hope that I have not inconvenienced you by my perseverance in soliciting the occupation of Thrushcross Grange: I heard yesterday you had had some thoughts--''Thrushcross Grange is my own, sir,' he interrupted, wincing. 'I should not allow any one to inconvenience me, if I could hinder it--walk in!'The 'walk in' was uttered with closed teeth, and expressed the sentiment, 'Go to the Deuce': even the gate over which he leant manifested no sympathizing movement to the words; and I think that circumstance determined me to accept the invitation: I felt interested in a man who seemed more exaggeratedly reserved than myself.When he saw my horse's breast fairly pushing the barrier, he did pull out his hand to unchain it, and then suddenly preceded me up the causeway, calling, as we entered the court,--'Joseph, take Mr. Lockwood's horse; and bring up some wine.''Here we have the whole establishment of domestics, I suppose,' was the reflection, suggested by this compound order. 'No wonder the grass grows up between the flags, and cattle are the only hedge-cutters.'Joseph was an elderly, nay, an old man: very old, perhaps, though hale and sinewy.'The Lord help us!' he soliloquised in an undertone of peevish displeasure, while relieving me of my horse: looking, meantime, in my face so sourly that I charitably conjectured he must have need of divine aid to digest his dinner, and his pious ejaculation had no reference to my unexpected advent.Wuthering Heights is the name of Mr. Heathcliff's dwelling. 'Wuthering' being a significant provincial adjective, descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in stormy weather. Pure, bracing ventilation they must have up there at all times, indeed: one may guess the power of the north wind blowing over the edge, by the excessive slant of a few stunted firs at the end of the house; and by a range of gaunt thorns all stretching their limbs one way, as if craving alms of the sun. Happily, the architect had foresight to build it strong: the narrow windows are deeply set in the wall, and the corners defended with large jutting stones.Before passing the threshold, I paused to admire a quantity of grotesque carving lavished over the front, and especially about the principal door; above which, among a wilderness of crumbling griffins and shameless little boys, I detected the date '1500,' and the name 'Hareton Earnshaw.' I would have made a few comments, and requested a short history of the place from the surly owner; but his attitude at the door appeared to demand my speedy entrance, or complete departure, and I had no desire to aggravate his impatience previous to inspecting the penetralium.One step brought us into the family sitting-room, without any introductory lobby or passage: they call it here 'the house' pre-eminently. It includes kitchen and parlour, generally; but I believe at Wuthering Heights the kitchen is forced to retreat altogether into another quarter: at least I distinguished a chatter of tongues, and a clatter of culinary utensils, deep within; and I observed no signs of roasting, boiling, or baking, about the huge fire-place; nor any glitter of copper saucepans and tin cullenders on the walls. One end, indeed, reflected splendidly both light and heat from ranks of immense pewter dishes, interspersed with silver jugs and tankards, towering row after row, on a vast oak dresser, to the very roof. The latter had never been underdrawn: its entire anatomy lay bare to an inquiring eye, except where a frame of wood laden with oatcakes and clusters of legs of beef, mutton, and ham, concealed it. Above the chimney were sundry villanous old guns, and a couple of horse-pistols: and, by way of ornament, three gaudily painted canisters disposed along its ledge. The floor was of smooth, white stone; the chairs, high-backed, primitive structures, painted green: one or two heavy black ones lurking in the shade. In an arch under the dresser, reposed a huge, liver-coloured bitch pointer, surrounded by a swarm of squealing puppies; and other dogs haunted other recesses.The apartment and furniture would have been nothing extraordinary as belonging to a homely, northern farmer, with a stubborn countenance, and stalwart limbs set out to advantage in knee-breeches and gaiters. Such an individual seated in his armchair, his mug of ale frothing on the round table before him, is to be seen in any circuit of five or six miles among these hills, if you go at the right time after dinner. But Mr. Heathcliff forms a singular contrast to his abode and style of living. He is a dark-skinned gipsy in aspect, in dress and manners a gentleman: that is, as much a gentleman as many a country squire: rather slovenly, perhaps, yet not looking amiss with his negligence, because he has an erect and handsome figure; and rather morose. Possibly, some people might suspect him of a degree of underbred pride; I have a sympathetic chord within that tells me it is nothing of the sort: I know by instinct, his reserve springs from an aversion to showy displays of feeling--to manifestations of mutual kindliness. He'll love and hate equally under cover, and esteem it a species of impertinence to be loved or hated again. No. I'm running on too fast: I bestow my own attributes over liberally on him. Mr. Heathcliff may have entirely dissimilar reasons for keeping his hand out of the way when he meets a would-be acquaintance, to those which actuate me. Let me hope my constitution is almost peculiar: my dear mother used to say I should never have a comfortable home; and only last summer I proved myself perfectly unworthy of one.While enjoying a month of fine weather at the seacoast, I was thrown into the company of a most fascinating creature: a real goddess in my eyes, as long as she took no notice of me. I 'never told my love' vocally; still, if looks have language, the merest idiot might have guessed I was over head and ears: she understood me at last, and looked a return--the sweetest of all imaginable looks. And what did I do? I confess it with shame--shrunk icily into myself, like a snail; at every glance retired colder and farther; till finally the poor innocent was led to doubt her own senses, and, overwhelmed with confusion at her supposed mistake, persuaded her mamma to decamp.By this curious turn of disposition I have gained the reputation of deliberate heartlessness; how undeserved, I alone can appreciate.I took a seat at the end of the hearthstone opposite that towards which my landlord advanced, and filled up an interval of silence by attempting to caress the canine mother, who had left her nursery, and was sneaking wolfishly to the back of my legs, her lip curled up, and her white teeth watering for a snatch.My caress provoked a long, guttural gnarl.'You'd better let the dog alone,' growled Mr. Heathcliff in unison, checking fiercer demonstrations with a punch of his foot. 'She's not accustomed to be spoiled--not kept for a pet.'Then, striding to a side door, he shouted again--'Joseph!'--Joseph mumbled indistinctly in the depths of the cellar, but gave no intimation of ascending; so his master dived down to him, leaving me vis-a-vis the ruffianly bitch and a pair of grim shaggy sheep-dogs, who shared with her a jealous guardianship over all my movements.Not anxious to come in contact with their fangs, I sat still; but, imagining they would scarcely understand tacit insults, I unfortunately indulged in winking and making faces at the trio, and some turn of my physiognomy so irritated madam, that she suddenly broke into a fury, and leapt on my knees. I flung her back, and hastened to interpose the table between us. This proceeding roused the whole hive. Half-a-dozen four-footed fiends, of various sizes and ages, issued from hidden dens to the common centre. I felt my heels and coat-laps peculiar subjects of assault; and, parrying off the larger combatants as effectually as I could with the poker, I was constrained to demand, aloud, assistance from some of the household in re-establishing peace.Mr. Heathcliff and his man climbed the cellar steps with vexatious phlegm: I don't think they moved one second faster than usual, though the hearth was an absolute tempest of worrying and yelping.Happily, an inhabitant of the kitchen made more dispatch: a lusty dame, with tucked-up gown, bare arms, and fire-flushed cheeks, rushed into the midst of us flourishing a frying-pan: and used that weapon, and her tongue, to such purpose, that the storm subsided magically, and she only remained, heaving like a sea after a high wind, when her master entered on the scene.'What the devil is the matter?' he asked, eyeing me in a manner I could ill endure after this inhospitable treatment.'What the devil, indeed!' I muttered. 'The herd of possessed swine could have had no worse spirits in them than those animals of yours, sir. You might as well leave a stranger with a brood of tigers!''They won't meddle with persons who touch nothing,' he remarked, putting the bottle before me, and restoring the displaced table. 'The dogs do right to be vigilant. Take a glass of wine?''No, thank you.''Not bitten, are you?''If I had been, I would have set my signet on the biter.'Heathcliff's countenance relaxed into a grin.'Come, come,' he said, 'you are flurried, Mr. Lockwood. Here, take a little wine. Guests are so exceedingly rare in this house that I and my dogs, I am willing to own, hardly know how to receive them. Your health, sir!'I bowed and returned the pledge; beginning to perceive that it would be foolish to sit sulking for the misbehaviour of a pack of curs: besides, I felt loath to yield the fellow further amusement at my expense; since his humour took that turn.He--probably swayed by prudential considerations of the folly of offending a good tenant--relaxed a little in the laconic style of chipping off1 his pronouns and auxiliary verbs, and introduced what he supposed would be a subject of interest to me,--a discourse on the advantages and disadvantages of my present place of retirement.I found him very intelligent on the topics we touched; and before I went home, I was encouraged so far as to volunteer another visit to-morrow.He evidently wished no repetition of my intrusion. I shall go, notwithstanding. It is astonishing how sociable I feel myself compared with him.CHAPTER 2Yesterday afternoon set in misty and cold. I had half a mind to spend it by my study fire, instead of wading through heath and mud to Wuthering Heights.On coming up from dinner, however, (N.B.--I dine between twelve and one o'clock; the housekeeper, a matronly lady, taken as a fixture along with the house, could not, or would not, comprehend my request that I might be served at five.) On mounting the stairs with this lazy intention, and stepping into the room, I saw a servant-girl on her knees, surrounded by brushes, and coal-scuttles; and raising an infernal dust as she extinguished the flames with heaps of cinders. This spectacle drove me back immediately; I took my hat, and, after a four miles' walk, arrived at Heathcliff's garden gate just in time to escape the first feathery flakes of a snow-shower.On that bleak hill-top the earth was hard with a black frost, and the air made me shiver through every limb. Being unable to remove the chain, I jumped over, and, running up the flagged cause-way bordered with straggling gooseberry bushes, knocked vainly for admittance, till my knuckles tingled, and the dogs howled.'Wretched inmates!' I ejaculated, mentally, 'you deserve perpetual isolation from your species for your churlish inhospitality. At least, I would not keep my doors barred in the day-time. I don't care--I will get in!'So resolved, I grasped the latch and shook it vehemently. Vinegar-faced Joseph projected his head from a round window of the barn.'Whet are ye for?' he shouted. 'T' maister's dahn i' t' fowld. Goa rahnd by th' end ut' laith, if yah went tuh spake tull him.'2'Is there nobody inside to open the door?' I hallooed, responsively.'They's nobbut t' missis; and shoo'll nut oppen 't an ye mak yer flaysome dins till neeght.'3'Why? cannot you tell her who I am, eh, Joseph?''Nor-ne me! Aw'll hae noa hend wi't,' muttered the head, vanishing.4The snow had began to drive thickly. I seized the handle to essay another trial; when a young man without coat, and shouldering a pitchfork, appeared in the yard behind. He hailed me to follow him, and, after marching through a wash-house, and a paved area containing a coal-shed, pump, and pigeon-cote, we at length arrived in the huge, warm, cheerful apartment, where I was formerly received.It glowed delightfully in the radiance of an immense fire, compounded of coal, peat, and wood; and near the table, laid for a plentiful evening meal, I was pleased to observe the 'missis,' an individual whose existence I had never previously suspected.I bowed and waited, thinking she would bid me take a seat. She looked at me, leaning back in her chair, and remained motionless and mute.'Rough weather!' I remarked. 'I'm afraid, Mrs. Heathcliff, the door5 must bear the consequence of your servants' leisure attendance: I had hard work to make them hear me!'She never opened her mouth. I stared--she stared also. At any rate, she kept her eyes on me in a cool, regardless manner, exceedingly embarrassing and disagreeable.'Sit down,' said the young man, gruffly. 'He'll be in soon.'I obeyed; and hemmed, and called the villain Juno, who deigned, at this second interview, to move the extreme tip of her tail, in token of owning my acquaintance.'A beautiful animal!' I commenced again. 'Do you intend parting with the little ones, madam?''They are not mine,' said the amiable hostess, more repellingly than Heathcliff himself could have replied.

Bookclub Guide

1. To what extent do you think the setting of the novel contributes to, or informs, what takes place? Do you think the moors are a character in their own right? How do you interpret Bronte's view of nature and the landscape?2. Discuss Emily Bronte's careful attention to a rigid timeline and the role of the novel as a sober historical document. How is this significant, particularly in light of the turbulent action within? What other contrasts within the novel strike you, and why? How are these contrasts important, and how do they play out in the novel?3. Do you think the novel is a tale of redemption, despair, or both? Discuss the novel's meaning to you. Do you think the novel's moral content dictates one choice over the other?4. Do you think Bronte succeeds in creating three-dimensional figures in Heathcliff and Cathy, particularly given their larger-than-life metaphysical passion? Why or why not?5. Discuss Bronte's use of twos: Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange; two families, each with two children; two couples (Catherine and Edgar, and Heathcliff and Isabella); two narrators; the doubling-up of names. What is Bronte's intention here? Discuss.6. How do Mr. Lockwood and Nelly Dean influence the story as narrators? Do you think they are completely reliable observers? What does Bronte want us to believe?7. Discuss the role of women in Wuthering Heights. Is their depiction typical of Bronte's time, or not? Do you think Bronte's characterizations of women mark her as a pioneer ahead of her time or not?8. Who or what does Heathcliff represent in the novel? Is he a force of evil or a victim of it? How important is the role of class in the novel, particularly as it relates to Heathcliff and his life?

Editorial Reviews

"It is as if Emily Brontë could tear up all that we know human beings by, and fill these unrecognizable transparencies with such a gust of life that they
transcend reality."
--Virginia Woolf