Wuthering Heights was Emily Brontë’s one and only novel, initially published in 1847 by Thomas Cautley Newby, after which an edited edition was published in 1850. In keeping with family tradition, Emily, like her two sisters; Charlotte and Anne, who were also writers, published her foreboding novel under the male pseudonym, ‘Ellis Bell.’
Synopsis: Mr Lockwood, a businessman from London retreats the bustle of the busy capital in search of more idyllic surroundings in the Yorkshire countryside and so decides to rent the home of Mr Heathcliff, an irascibly natured man, marred by his tragic romance with the beautiful Catherine Earnshaw.
Whilst residing at his rented home, Thrushcross Grange, Mr Lockwood meets a kindly housekeeper called Ellen Dean, who recounts to him the woeful tale of Mr Heathcliff, from his humble beginnings as an unnamed orphan boy to the proprietor of Wuthering Heights and all its estate.
Wuthering Heights is one of those highly acclaimed classic novels that I’ve long condemned myself for having not read yet. As such, my only regret is that I hadn’t read it sooner, especially back when I was completely infatuated with all things pertaining to Gothic literature, during my college days when my English Literature classes were my zenith and I revelled in the critical analysis of the works of Bram Stoker and Angela Carter…..takes a moment to reminisce..
This melancholic and tumultuous novel is about the extremely intense love affair between Mr Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw and the societal forces that tries to divide them. Their romance is one of tragedy and aggression that borders on the demonic. There is also an element of horror in the novel, but it didn’t feel incongruous, rather it seemed to complement the macabre tone.
The complex characterisation is arresting and makes even the most villainous of characters manifest a depth that inspires compassion. The most prominent examples of this, for me, are Mr Heathcliff and Catherine’s older brother, Mr Hindley Earnshaw. Both of whom are full of resentment and hatred particularly towards one another, both of whom are plagued by a bitterness that stems from their own vulnerabilities.
As I expected, Wuthering Heights completely blew me away, I mean they don’t call it a classic for nothing and I think it’s safe to say that this has to be my favourite novel of the year so far. This book deserves so much critical analysis, from the societal implications and originality of the romance to the flawless development of each one of the characters, with the exception of Mr Lockwood, who brought the comic relief. This book constantly subverted my expectations and so gets a very easy 5 stars!