Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Wuthering Heights

You can find the redesigned cover of this edition HERE.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 n...

Title:Wuthering Heights
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0393978893
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:464 pages

Wuthering Heights Reviews

  • Chelsea

    I've tried it three times. I know people are obsessed with it. I hate everyone in the book - and I just can't care about a book where I actually

    the characters.

    And, sure, I get the interpretation that as terrible as Heathcliff and Cathy are, it's their love that redeems them, and

    .

    No.

  • Larissa

    Certain novels come to you with pre-packaged expectations. They just seem to be part of literature's collective unconscious, even if they are completely outside of your own cultural referents. I, for instance, who have no particular knowledge of--or great love for--romantic, Anglo-Gothic fiction, came to

    with the assumption that I was picking up a melancholy ghost story of thwarted, passionate love and eternal obsession. Obsession turned out to be only accurate part of this pre

    Certain novels come to you with pre-packaged expectations. They just seem to be part of literature's collective unconscious, even if they are completely outside of your own cultural referents. I, for instance, who have no particular knowledge of--or great love for--romantic, Anglo-Gothic fiction, came to

    with the assumption that I was picking up a melancholy ghost story of thwarted, passionate love and eternal obsession. Obsession turned out to be only accurate part of this presumption.

    Having an image of Heathcliff and Cathy embracing

    -style on a windy moor ironed in my mind, I was almost completely unprepared for the hermetic, moribund, bleak, vengeful, perverse, and yes--obsessive--novel that this really is.

    is not about windmills and

    is not really a love story. Heathcliff and Cathy's love affair (if it can be called that) is a narcissistic ("I am Heathcliff!" Cathy exclaims at one point), possessive, and imminently cruel relationship predicated on self-denial and an obsessiveness that relies not on passion, but rather borders on hatred. They are selfish, violent, and contriving people who have borne their fair share of abuses (mostly Heathcliff in this respect) and in turn, feel no compunction about raining similar abuses on those who they find beneath them.

    Given this dynamic, it seems perhaps inevitable that these two characters would make not only themselves miserable, but everyone around them miserable--even after death. This is particularly easy to accomplish mainly because there are--with the exception of Mr. Lockwood, the tenant who rents a home from Heathcliff--no outside characters. Everyone in the novel (including the servants) is isolated, trapped between the same two homes, with the same two families, and have truly no chance of escaping any of the events and repercussions that occur.(One character makes a temporary escape, only to suffer all the more for it later.)

    More important, however, is the fact that Heathcliff and Cathy don't even need be present (although they usually are in some fashion) for their influences to be felt by the other characters. The sins of the father, are literally, inherited and distributed among the next generation. The children of

    are not only physical doubles of their parents (At least 3 characters look like Cathy, and one resembles Heathcliff), but they are also spiritual stand-ins. They must suffer for past transgressions, and they must find a way to make amends for them. All, I might add, without the particular benefit of ever having the full story, the context that might be necessary to actually change their circumstances. Misery, it seems, is inevitable.

    There is, of course, much more to be said about this novel. One could spend quite some time dissecting all the various repetitions and doublings, the narrative structure (the story is told by the housekeeper to the lodger who then writes it down as a diary entry), or the archetypal analogies and semi-biblical symbolism that seems to be implicit to every part of this story.

    The point being, I suppose, that while

    may not be the wistful romance one (or maybe just I) expected to be, it is a particularly satisfying one for all of its dark and layered surprises.

  • Ellen

    I never expected this book to be as flagrantly, unforgivably bad as it was.

    To start, Bronte's technical choice of narrating the story of the primary characters by having the housekeeper explain everything to a tenant 20 years after it happened completely kills suspense and intimacy. The most I can say is that to some extent this functions as a device to help shroud the story and motives from the reader. But really, at the time literary technique hadn't quite always gotten around to accepting tha

    I never expected this book to be as flagrantly, unforgivably bad as it was.

    To start, Bronte's technical choice of narrating the story of the primary characters by having the housekeeper explain everything to a tenant 20 years after it happened completely kills suspense and intimacy. The most I can say is that to some extent this functions as a device to help shroud the story and motives from the reader. But really, at the time literary technique hadn't quite always gotten around to accepting that omnipotent 3rd person narrators are allowed, so you'd have to have a multiperspective story told by an omnipotent 3rd person narrator who was actually a character in the story (e.g. the housekeeper Ellen). The layers of perspective make it annoying and sometimes impossible to figure out who is telling what bit of story; and moreover, because so much is related as two characters explaining things between themselves, the result is that we rarely see any action, and instead have the entire book explained in socratic, pedantic exposition.

    The sense of place is poorly rendered and almost entirely missing. Great, the moor is gray.

    But ultimately, the most damning thing is that the characters are a bunch of immature, insuffrable, narcissistic assholes with very little self respect. This isn't a story of great love and passion. It's the story of how child abuse perpetuates itself through the generations. The characters are either emotionally abused as children or, as in the case of Cathy I, they're spoiled and overindulged with no discipline and can't muster the restraint and self-respect to ditch abusive relationships. I kept waiting for any of the characters to be remotely worth my time, but I found no respite from the brutish abuse of the horribly twisted Heathcliff or from the simpering idiocy of Cathy I and II. Ugh. Not only are there no transformations or growth, but the characters aren't even that likable to begin with. How this book got to be a classic is beyond me.

  • K.

    I understand why many people hate this book. Catherine and Heathcliff are monstrous. Monstrous. You won't like them because they are unlikable. They are irrational, self-absorbed, malicious and pretty much any negative quality you can think a person is capable of possessing without imploding. They seek and destroy and act with no thought to consequence. And I find it fascinating that Emily Bronte chose them to be her central protagonists.

    When this was first published it was met with animosity be

    I understand why many people hate this book. Catherine and Heathcliff are monstrous. Monstrous. You won't like them because they are unlikable. They are irrational, self-absorbed, malicious and pretty much any negative quality you can think a person is capable of possessing without imploding. They seek and destroy and act with no thought to consequence. And I find it fascinating that Emily Bronte chose them to be her central protagonists.

    When this was first published it was met with animosity because of how utterly repugnant these two characters were. The way they go about their business caring nothing for others but themselves was enough for me to shake my head in complete and total judgment, as if Catherine and Heathcliff could see me and are then effectively shamed by their actions.

    is epic, in my humble opinion, because I believe that the scope of this story is monumental. Let me explain: it is a simple tale between two families that are bound in such a way that their fates are irrevocably linked. What affects one, affects the other. Its about Catherine and Heathcliff who fall in love and how their relationship ruins the lives of those around them. The book, all 400 pages of it, occur almost entirely at Wuthering Heights, the estate of the Earnshaws, and at Thrushcross Grange, the estate of the Lintons with only a couple of miles of land in between.

    And yet it is not a small story.

    The emotional magnitude of this book is great and far reaching. The provoking and unapologetic quality of Bronte's writing is seductive. The process of reading this story can feel so masochistic sometimes that its almost if she's daring us to stop reading and throw the book away. Like its a game of personal endurance to see how much we can take, how far we can go. She pushes at us, challenging us and all the while knowing that we have to keep reading because redemption awaits. It is

    like its contemporaries.

    The moors, the darkness of the moors, that curses the household of Wuthering Heights and its inhabitants is ever present. Nature is personified. It is its own character; its there, lingering and simmering ever so quietly, saturating every scene with its silent threats of doom...okay, I have to stop talking like this...what am I anymore?

    There is poison in this book, but let me ease your mind by saying that it is balanced with goodness also. This isn't a perfect novel. There were still moments I found myself in perplexion (recently invented word). And while everything about Catherine and Heathcliff may be corrupt, there is hope in

    . If you can journey through the menacing forest of Emily Bronte's imagination, do it because the view is something to behold.

    Ha ha ha, this review...what even is this?

  • Emily May

    This is my favourite book. I do not say that lightly, I've read quite a lot from all different genres and time periods, but

    . Of all time. Ever. The ladies over at

    kindly allowed me to get my feelings of utter adoration for

    off my chest in their "Year of the Classics" feature, but I now realise it's time I posted a little something in this blank review space. I mean, come on, it's my favourite book so it deserves better than empty nothi

    This is my favourite book. I do not say that lightly, I've read quite a lot from all different genres and time periods, but

    . Of all time. Ever. The ladies over at

    kindly allowed me to get my feelings of utter adoration for

    off my chest in their "Year of the Classics" feature, but I now realise it's time I posted a little something in this blank review space. I mean, come on, it's my favourite book so it deserves better than empty nothingness.

    So, what do I love so much about

    ?

    . Okay, maybe not, that wouldn't really be saying it strongly enough.

    What I love about this novel is the setting, the wilderness. This is not a story about niceties and upper class propriety, this is the tale of people who aren't so socially acceptable, who live away from the strict rules of civilization - it's almost as if they're not quite from the world we know. The isolation of the setting out on the Yorkshire moors between the fictional dwellings of The Heights and Thrushcross Grange emphasises how far removed these characters are from social norms, how unconventional they are, and how lonely they are.

    This is a novel for readers who can appreciate unlikeable characters, readers who don't have to like someone to achieve a certain level of understanding them and their circumstances. People are not born evil... so what makes them that way? What torments a man so much that he refuses to believe he has any worth? What kind of person digs up the grave of their loved one so they can see them once again? Heathcliff was not created to be liked or to earn your forgiveness,

    simply tells his story from the abusive and unloved childhood he endured, to his obsession with the only person alive who showed him any real kindness, to his adulthood as an angry, violent man who beats his wife and imprisons the younger Cathy in order to make her marry his son.

    It would be so easy to hate Heathcliff, and I don't feel that he is some dark, sexy hero like others often do. But I appreciate what

    attempts to teach us about the cycle of violence and aggression. Heathcliff eventually becomes little more than the man he hates, by being brought up with beatings and anger he in turn unleashes it on everyone else. And Cathy is no delicate flower either. What hope did Heathcliff have when the only person he ever loved was a selfish, vindictive, little wretch? But I love

    for creating such imperfect, screwed-up characters.

    This is a dark novel that deals with some very complicated individuals, but I think in the end we are offered the possibility of peace and happiness through Cathy (younger) and Hareton's relationship, and the suggestion that Cathy (older) and Heathcliff were reunited in the afterlife. I had an English teacher in high school that said Cathy and Heathcliff's personalities and their relationship were too much for this world and that peace was only possible for them in the next. I have no idea if this was something Ms Bronte intended, but the romantic in me likes to imagine that it's true.


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