by Emily Brontë
The novel Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë, was first published under the pen name Ellis Bell in 1847, just a year before Emily’s death in 1848. Below, in our interviews with literary critics and journalists, you’ll see why many people still view it as one of the greatest novels ever written in English. Also worth looking at are the contemporary reviews, some of which were found in Emily’s desk after her death. These are available on the web (see links below), but are also included in the Norton Critical Edition of Wuthering Heights.
Recommendations from our site
“Wuthering Heights is a strange novel in a lot of ways. It’s a standalone—there’s not really another book like it.” Read more...
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Claire Jarvis, Literary Scholar
“In Wuthering Heights once again it’s the landscape that underlines the choices the characters must make. Cathy must choose between the grand house in the lush valley: protected, comfortable and tame; or the wild, exhilarating bleakness of Wuthering Heights.” Read more...
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Rachel Hickman, Children's Author
“Cathy—and all of Emily Brontë’s characters—are more or less feral. That’s why we love them. It’s a different world, it’s a mad world. In some ways, Emily Brontë is more of a poet. But she has inspired many subsequent writers of fiction. You couldn’t imagine Lawrence without her, for example. You couldn’t imagine some of Hardy. “ Read more...
Robert McCrum, Journalist
“The Brontës had this idea of a Samson figure. Rochester, like Samson, has to be mutilated before he can be domesticated. What is interesting about Heathcliff, in Wuthering Heights, is that he isn’t. He remains this superman. He is greater than a human being. He is named after two elemental things, the heath and the cliff. We never know what his first name is.” Read more...
John Sutherland, Literary Scholar
“Again it’s about love turning into obsessions and being all-consuming and how even future generations are manipulated by this love.” Read more...
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Riz Khan, Journalist
“Wuthering Heights is a strange sort of book, baffling all regular criticism; yet, it is impossible to begin and not finish it; and quite as impossible to lay it aside afterwards and say nothing about it. In the midst of the reader’s perplexity the ideas predominant in his mind concerning this book are likely to be brutal cruelty, and semi-savage love…We strongly recommend all our readers who love novelty to get this story, for we can promise them that they never have read anything like it before.”
Review in Douglas Jerrold's Weekly Newspaper, January 15th, 1848, and found in Emily's desk after her death
“In spite of its truth to life in the remote nooks and corners of England Wuthering Heights is a disagreeable story.”
HF Chorley, review in the Athenaeum, Dec. 25, 1847 (cited in the Norton Critical Edition of Wuthering Heights)
“Wuthering Heights is a strange, inartistic story. There are evidences in every chapter of a sort of rugged power–an unconscious strength–which the possessor seems never to think of turning to the best advantage. The general effect is inexpressibly painful. We know nothing in the whole range of our fictitious literature which presents such shocking pictures of the worst forms of humanity”