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
Publication Date: Originally published 1847
Publisher: Norton and Company
Age Group: Adult
Wuthering Heights is an incredible novel for its time for various reasons. Firstly, it was written by a woman in a time when the publishing world was dominated by men. It was originally published under the name Ellis Bell after her sister had successfully published her novel Jane Eyre under the name Currer Bell. Secondly, Bronte took supernatural literature in a new direction with the ghost of Catherine Earnshaw, one that was completely different to other supernatural novels of its time.
What I Liked: Wuthering Heights is deliciously creepy. The supernatural aspects are subtle and keep you on your toes. You never know when Catherine's ghost will wander the moors or when something will scratch at your window. It's never overdone, and it almost becomes more creepy because those moments are unexpected.
Heathcliff is one of my favourite characters of all time. He is sensitive, cruel, hard working, ambitious and selfish. He has no scruples when it comes to crushing the emotions of others and yet he is completely devoted Catherine. Many believe him beyond redemption, and yet I believe that his very actions, provoked by his love for Catherine, redeems him at least a very little.
The narrator, Nelly the housekeeper at Wuthering Heights, is one of my favourite characters in the novel. She shows a sense of humour and strong feelings towards the characters within her books. She leaves you wondering whether you can trust her as a narrator.
What I Didn't Like: I've learnt to deal with books with lots of characters, but some people would have difficulty dealing with all the different names within Wuthering Heights. Set in two parts there are many characters with similar names: Catherine Earnshaw who marries Edgar and becomes Catherine Linton, and Catherine Linton (Cathy) who is the daughter of Catherine Earnshaw, Linton Heathcliff son of Heathcliff and Isabel Linton, Hindley Earnshaw and Hareton Earnshaw (son of Hindley). It can make your head turn in circles.