Title page of the first edition
|Publisher||Thomas Cautley Newby|
Published in English
|LC Class||PR4172 .W7 2007|
|Text||Wuthering Heights online|
Wuthering Heights is Emily Brontë's only novel. Written between October 1845 and June 1846, Wuthering Heights was published in 1847 under the pseudonym ″Ellis Bell″; Brontë died the following year, aged 30. Wuthering Heights and Anne Brontë's Agnes Grey were accepted by publisher Thomas Newby before the success of their sister Charlotte's novel, Jane Eyre. After Emily's death, Charlotte edited the manuscript of Wuthering Heights, and arranged for the edited version to be published as a posthumous second edition in 1850.
Wuthering Heights is the name of the Yorkshire farmhouse where the story unfolds. The book's core theme is the destructive effect of jealousy and vengefulness both on the jealous or vengeful individuals and on their communities.
Although Wuthering Heights is now widely regarded as a classic of English literature, contemporary reviews for the novel were deeply polarized; it was considered controversial because its depiction of mental and physical cruelty was unusually stark, and it challenged strict Victorian ideals of the day, including religious hypocrisy, morality, social classes and gender inequality. The English poet and painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti referred to it as "A fiend of a book – an incredible monster ... The action is laid in hell, – only it seems places and people have English names there."
In the second half of the 19th century, Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre was considered the best of the Brontë sisters' works, but following later re-evaluation, critics began to argue Wuthering Heights was superior. The book has inspired adaptations, including film, radio and television dramatisations, a musical by Bernard J. Taylor, a ballet, operas (by Bernard Herrmann, Carlisle Floyd, and Frédéric Chaslin), a role-playing game, and a 1978 song by Kate Bush.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Characters
- 3 Timeline
- 4 Themes
- 5 Publication
- 6 Inspiration for locations
- 7 Critical response
- 8 References in culture
- 9 Adaptations
- 10 Works inspired
- 11 Notes
- 12 References
- 13 Bibliography
- 14 External links
Opening (chapters 1 to 3)
In 1801, Mr. Lockwood, a wealthy man from the south of England, rents Thrushcross Grange in Yorkshire for peace and recuperation. He visits his landlord, Mr Heathcliff, who lives in a remote moorland farmhouse, "Wuthering Heights", where he finds an odd assemblage: Heathcliff seems to be a gentleman, but his manners are uncouth; the reserved mistress of the house is in her mid-teens; and a young man seems to be a family member yet dresses and speaks like a servant.
Snowed in, Lockwood is grudgingly allowed to stay and is shown to a bedchamber where he notices books and graffiti left by a former inhabitant named Catherine. He falls asleep and has a nightmare in which he sees the ghostly Catherine trying to enter through the window. He cries out in fear, rousing Heathcliff who rushes to the room. Lockwood is convinced that what he saw was real. Heathcliff, believing Lockwood to be right, examines the window and opens it hoping to allow Catherine's spirit to enter. When nothing happens, Heathcliff shows Lockwood to his own bedroom and returns to keep watch at the window.
At sunrise, Heathcliff escorts Lockwood back to Thrushcross Grange. Lockwood asks the housekeeper, Nelly Dean, about the family at Wuthering Heights, and she tells him the tale.
Heathcliff's childhood (chapters 4 to 17)
Thirty years earlier, Wuthering Heights is occupied by Mr Earnshaw, his teenage son Hindley and his daughter Catherine. On a trip to Liverpool, Earnshaw encounters a homeless boy described as "dark-skinned gypsy in aspect". He adopts the boy and names him Heathcliff. Hindley feels that Heathcliff has supplanted him in his father's affections and becomes bitterly jealous. Catherine and Heathcliff become friends and spend hours each day playing on the moors. They grow close.
Hindley is sent to college. Three years later, Earnshaw dies and Hindley becomes the master of Wuthering Heights. He returns to live there with his new wife, Frances. He allows Heathcliff to stay but only as a servant.
A few months after Hindley's return, Heathcliff and Catherine walk to Thrushcross Grange to spy on the Lintons who are living there. After being discovered, they try to run away but are caught. Catherine is injured by the Lintons' dog and taken into the house to recuperate while Heathcliff is sent home. Catherine stays with the Lintons and is influenced by their fine appearance and genteel manners. When she returns to Wuthering Heights, her appearance and manners are more ladylike and she laughs at Heathcliff's unkempt appearance. The next day, knowing that the Lintons would visit, Heathcliff tries to dress up in an effort to impress Catherine, but he and Edgar Linton get into an argument and Hindley humiliates Heathcliff by locking him in the attic. Catherine tries to comfort Heathcliff, but he vows revenge on Hindley.
The following year, Frances Earnshaw gives birth to a son, named Hareton, but dies a few months later. Hindley descends into drunkenness. Two more years pass and Catherine and Edgar Linton eventually become friends while she becomes more distant from Heathcliff. While Hindley is away, Edgar visits Catherine, and they declare themselves lovers soon after.
Catherine confesses to Nelly that Edgar has proposed and she has accepted, although her love for Edgar is not comparable to her love for Heathcliff, whom she cannot marry because of his low social status and lack of education. She hopes to use her position as Edgar's wife to raise Heathcliff's standing. Heathcliff overhears her say it would 'degrade' her to marry him (but not how much she loves him) and in despair runs away and disappears without a trace. Distraught by Heathcliff's departure, Catherine makes herself ill out of spite. Nelly and Edgar thus begin to pander to her every whim to prevent her from becoming ill again. Three years pass. Edgar and Catherine marry, and live together at Thrushcross Grange.
Six months later, Heathcliff returns, now a wealthy gentleman. Catherine is delighted; Edgar is not. Edgar's sister, Isabella, soon falls in love with Heathcliff, who despises her but encourages the infatuation as a means of revenge. One day, he embraces Isabella, leading to an argument with Edgar. Upset, Catherine locks herself in her room, and begins to make herself ill again through spite and jealousy.
Heathcliff takes up residence at Wuthering Heights, and spends his time gambling with Hindley and teaching Hareton bad habits. Hindley dissipates his wealth and mortgages the farmhouse to Heathcliff to pay his debts. Heathcliff elopes with Isabella Linton; two months later the couple returns to Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff hears that Catherine is ill and, with Nelly's help, visits her secretly. However, Catherine is pregnant, and the following day she gives birth to a daughter, Cathy, shortly before dying.
After Catherine's funeral, Isabella leaves Heathcliff and takes refuge in the south of England. She too is pregnant, and gives birth to a son, Linton. Hindley dies six months after Catherine, and Heathcliff thus finds himself master of Wuthering Heights.
Heathcliff's maturity (chapters 18 to 31)
After twelve years, Catherine's daughter Cathy grows into a beautiful, high-spirited girl. Edgar learns his sister Isabella is dying, and so he leaves to retrieve her son Linton in order to adopt and educate him. Although Cathy rarely leaves the borders of the Grange, she takes advantage of her father's absence to venture farther afield. She rides over the moors to Wuthering Heights and discovers she has not one, but two cousins: Hareton in addition to Linton. She also lets it be known that her father has gone south to fetch Linton. When Edgar returns with Linton, a weak and sickly boy, Heathcliff insists that he live at Wuthering Heights.
Three years pass. Walking on the moors, Nelly and Cathy encounter Heathcliff, who takes them to Wuthering Heights to see Linton and Hareton. Heathcliff hopes Linton and Cathy will marry, so that Linton becomes the heir to Thrushcross Grange. Linton and Cathy begin a secret friendship, echoing the childhood friendship between their respective parents, Heathcliff and Catherine.
The following year, Edgar becomes very ill, taking a turn for the worse while Nelly and Cathy are out on the moors, where Heathcliff and Linton trick them into entering Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff keeps them captive to enable the marriage of Cathy and Linton to take place. After five days Nelly is released and later, with Linton's help, Cathy escapes. She returns to the Grange to see her father shortly before he dies.
Now master of Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange, and Cathy's father-in-law, Heathcliff insists on her returning to live at Wuthering Heights and remaining there after Linton's death. Soon after she arrives, Linton dies. Hareton tries to be kind to Cathy, but she retreats and then withdraws from the world.
At this point, Nelly's tale catches up to the present day. Time passes, and after being ill for a period Lockwood grows tired of the moors and informs Heathcliff that he will be leaving Thrushcross Grange.
Ending (chapters 32 to 34)
Eight months later, Lockwood returns to the area by chance. Given that his tenancy at Thrushcross Grange is still valid, he decides to stay there again. He finds Nelly living at Wuthering Heights and enquires what has happened since he left.
She explains that she moved to Wuthering Heights to replace the housekeeper, Zillah, who had left. Hareton had an accident and was confined to the farmhouse. During his convalescence, he and Cathy overcame their mutual antipathy and became close. While their friendship developed, Heathcliff began to act strangely and had visions of Catherine. He stopped eating and after four days was found dead in Catherine's old room. He was buried next to Catherine.
Lockwood learns that Hareton and Cathy plan to marry on New Year's Day. As he readies to leave, he passes the graves of Catherine, Edgar, and Heathcliff, and pauses to contemplate the quiet of the moors.
- Heathcliff: Found, presumably orphaned, on the streets of Liverpool and taken to Wuthering Heights by Mr Earnshaw where he is reluctantly cared for by the family. He and Catherine grow close and their love is the central theme of the first volume. His revenge against the man she chooses to marry and its consequences are the central theme of the second volume. Heathcliff has been considered a Byronic hero, but critics have pointed out that he re-invents himself at various points, making his character hard to fit into any single "type." Because of his ambiguous position in society and his lack of status — underlined by the fact that "Heathcliff" is his given name; he has no surname — his character has been a favourite subject of Marxist criticism.
- Catherine Earnshaw: First introduced to the reader after her death, through Lockwood's discovery of her diary and carvings. The description of her life is confined almost entirely to the first volume. She seems unsure whether she is — or wants to become — more like Heathcliff, or aspires to be more like the type Edgar portrays. It is as if she wants both, even perhaps recognizing she can't discover herself fully without both, and yet society or human nature makes that impossible ( the latter making her rue her rejecting Heathcliff ). Some critics have argued that her decision to marry Edgar Linton is allegorically a rejection of nature and a surrender to culture — a choice with fateful consequences for all the other characters. Literary critics have examined her character through many different lenses, including those of psychoanalytic theory and feminist theory.
- Edgar Linton: Introduced as a child in the Linton family, he resides at Thrushcross Grange. Edgar's style and manners are in sharp contrast to Heathcliff's, who instantly dislikes him, and Catherine, who is drawn to him. Catherine marries him instead of Heathcliff because of his higher social status, with disastrous results. From the perspective of feminist theory, this exemplifies the problems inherent in a social structure in which women can gain prestige and financial security only through marriage.
- Nelly Dean: The main narrator of the novel, Nelly is a servant to three generations of the Earnshaws and two of the Linton family. In a sense, she straddles the "culture versus nature" divide. Humbly born, she regards herself nevertheless as Hindley's foster-sister (they are the same age and her mother is his nurse). She lives and works among the rough inhabitants of Wuthering Heights, but is well-read, and she also experiences the more genteel manners of Thrushcross Grange. She is referred to as Ellen — her given name — to show respect, and as Nelly among those close to her. Nelly comes across as an unprejudiced narrator whose close connections to the main characters mean she often not only witnesses but is actively involved in events. Critics have discussed how far her actions (as an apparent bystander) affect the other characters.
- Isabella Linton: Introduced as part of the Linton family, Isabella is only shown in relation to other characters. She views Heathcliff romantically, despite Catherine warning her against such a view, and becomes an unwitting participant in his plot for revenge against Edgar. Heathcliff marries her, but treats her abusively. Pregnant, she escapes to London and gives birth to a son, Linton. Because she suffers such abuse from her husband and ultimately escapes from it, some critics — particularly feminist-theory critics — consider Isabella the true (conventional) "tragic-romantic" heroine of Wuthering Heights.
- Hindley Earnshaw: Catherine's elder brother, Hindley despises Heathcliff immediately and bullies him throughout their childhood before his father sends him away to college. Hindley returns with his wife, Frances, after Mr Earnshaw dies. He is more mature but his hatred of Heathcliff remains the same. After Frances's death, Hindley is caught in a downward spiral of destructive behaviour, and ruins the Earnshaw family by drinking and gambling to excess. Heathcliff beats up Hindley at one point when he attempts to kill him with a pistol.
- Hareton Earnshaw: The son of Hindley and Frances, raised at first by Nelly but soon by Heathcliff. Nelly works to instill a sense of pride in the Earnshaw heritage (even though Hareton will not inherit Earnshaw property, because Hindley has mortgaged it to Heathcliff). Heathcliff, in contrast, teaches him vulgarities, as a way of avenging himself on Hindley. Hareton speaks with an accent similar to Joseph's, and occupies a position similar to a servant at Wuthering Heights, unaware how he has been done out of his inheritance. In appearance he reminds Heathcliff of his aunt, Catherine.
- Cathy Linton: The daughter of Catherine Earnshaw and Edgar Linton, a spirited and strong-willed girl unaware of her parents' history. Edgar is very protective of her and as a result she is eager to discover what lies beyond the confines of the Grange. Although one of the more symphatic characters of the novel, she is also somewhat snobbish against Hareton and his lacking education.
- Linton Heathcliff: The son of Heathcliff and Isabella. A weak child, his early years are spent with his mother in the south of England. He learns of his father's identity and existence only after his mother dies, when he is twelve. In his selfishness and capacity for cruelty he resembles Heathcliff, but he appears to lack his father's only redeeming feature: the capacity to love. He marries Cathy Linton because his father, who terrifies him, directs him to do so.
- Joseph: A servant at Wuthering Heights for 60 years who is a rigid, self-righteous Christian but lacks any trace of genuine kindness or humanity. He speaks a broad Yorkshire dialect and hates nearly everyone in the novel.
- Mr. Lockwood: The first narrator, he rents Thrushcross Grange to escape society, but in the end decides society is preferable. He narrates the book until Chapter 4, when the main narrator, Nelly, picks up the tale.
- Frances: Hindley's ailing wife and mother of Hareton Earnshaw. She is described as somewhat silly and is obviously from humble family backgrounds.
- Mr. and Mrs. Earnshaw: Catherine's and Hindley's father Mr. Earnshaw is the master of Wuthering Heights at the beginning of Nelly's story and is described as an irascible, but loving and kind-hearted man. He has a strange obsession on his adopted son Heathcliff which causes trouble in the family. In contrast, his wife mistrusts the child Heathcliff from their first encounter.
- Mr. and Mrs. Linton: Edgar's and Isabella's parents, they educate their children in a well-behaved and sophisticated way. Mr. Linton also serves as the judge of Gimmerton, like his son in later years.
- Dr. Kenneth: The longtime doctor of Gimmerton and a friend of Hindley who is present at the cases of illness during the novel. Although not much of his character is known, he seems to be a rough but honest person.
- Zillah: A servant to Heathcliff at Wuthering Heights during the period following Catherine's death. Although kind-hearted to Lockwood, she doesn't like or help Cathy at Wuthering Heights because of Cathy's arrogance and Heathcliff's instructions.
- Mr. Green: Edgar's corruptible lawyer who should change his will and prevent Heathcliff from gaining Thrushcross Grange. But Green changes sides and helps Heathcliff to inherit Grange as his property.
- black line: son or daughter of; if dotted it means adoption
- red line: wedding; if double it means second wedding
- pink line: love
- blue line: affection
- green line: hate
- light yellow area: plot-driving characters
- violet area: external observers
|1500:||The stone above the front door of Wuthering Heights, bearing the name of Hareton Earnshaw, is inscribed, possibly to mark the completion of the house.|
|1757:||Hindley Earnshaw born (summer)|
|1762:||Edgar Linton born|
|1765:||Catherine Earnshaw born (summer); Isabella Linton born (late 1765)|
|1771:||Heathcliff brought to Wuthering Heights by Mr Earnshaw (late summer)|
|1773:||Mrs Earnshaw dies (spring)|
|1774:||Hindley sent off to college|
|1775:||Hindley marries Frances; Mr Earnshaw dies and Hindley comes back (October); Heathcliff and Catherine visit Thrushcross Grange for the first time; Catherine remains behind (November), and then returns to Wuthering Heights (Christmas Eve)|
|1778:||Hareton born (June); Frances dies|
|1780:||Heathcliff runs away from Wuthering Heights; Mr and Mrs Linton both die|
|1783:||Catherine has married Edgar (March); Heathcliff comes back (September)|
|1784:||Heathcliff marries Isabella (February); Catherine dies and Cathy born (20 March); Hindley dies; Linton Heathcliff born (September)|
|1797:||Isabella dies; Cathy visits Wuthering Heights and meets Hareton; Linton brought to Thrushcross Grange and then taken to Wuthering Heights|
|1800:||Cathy meets Heathcliff and sees Linton again (20 March)|
|1801:||Cathy and Linton are married (August); Edgar dies (August); Linton dies (September); Mr Lockwood goes to Thrushcross Grange and visits Wuthering Heights, beginning his narrative|
|1802:||Mr Lockwood goes back to London (January); Heathcliff dies (April); Mr Lockwood comes back to Thrushcross Grange (September)|
|1803:||Cathy plans to marry Hareton (1 January)|
Ellen Moers demonstrated a feminist theory that relates female writers including Emily Brontë and the Gothic in her Literary Women. Catherine Earnshaw has been identified as a literary "type" of Gothic demon in that she "shape-shifts" in order to marry Edgar Linton, assuming a domesticity contrary to her nature. Catherine’s relationship with Heathcliff conforms to the "dynamics of the Gothic romance, in that the woman falls prey to the more or less demonic instincts of her lover, suffers from the violence of his feelings and at the end is entangled by his thwarted passion."
The original 1847 text is available online in two parts, as published by Thomas Cautley Newby. Emily's novel was first published together with Anne Brontë's Agnes Grey in a three-volume format; Wuthering Heights occupied the first two volumes, while Agnes Grey made up the third.
In 1850 a second edition of Wuthering Heights was due for republishing, Charlotte Brontë edited the original text published by Thomas Cautley Newby, including punctuation, spelling errors and Joseph's thick Yorkshire dialect. Writing to her publisher W.S. Williams, she mentions that "It seems to me advisable to modify the orthography of the old servant Joseph’s speeches; for though, as it stands, it exactly renders the Yorkshire dialect to a Yorkshire ear, yet I am sure Southerns must find it unintelligible; and thus one of the most graphic characters in the book is lost on them." An essay written by Irene Wiltshire on dialect and speech in the novel compares some of the edits Charlotte made to the original 1847 edition.
Inspiration for locations
Several theories exist about which building was the inspiration for Wuthering Heights. One is Top Withens, a ruined farmhouse located in an isolated area near the Haworth Parsonage. Because its structure does not match that of the farmhouse described in the novel, it is considered less likely to be the model. Top Withens was first suggested as the model for the fictitious farmhouse by Ellen Nussey, a friend of Charlotte Brontë, to Edward Morison Wimperis, a commissioned artist for the Brontë sisters' novels in 1872.
The second possibility is the now demolished High Sunderland Hall, near Halifax. This Gothic edifice was located near Law Hill, where Emily worked briefly as a governess in 1838. While very grand for the farmhouse of Wuthering Heights, the hall had grotesque embellishments of griffins and misshapen nude males similar to those described by Lockwood in chapter one of the novel:
- "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'."
The inspiration for Thrushcross Grange has been traditionally connected to Ponden Hall, near Haworth, which is very small. Shibden Hall, near Halifax, is a more likely possibility. The Thrushcross Grange that Emily describes is rather unusual. It sits within an enormous park as does Shibden Hall. By comparison, the park at Chatsworth (the home of the Duke of Devonshire) is over two miles (3.2 km) long but, as the house sits near the middle, it is no more than a mile and a half (2.4 km) from the lodge to the house. Considering that Edgar Linton apparently did not even have a title, this seems rather unlikely. There is no building close to Haworth which has a park anywhere near this size but a few houses which might have inspired some elements. Shibden Hall has several features which match the descriptions in the novel.
Early reviews (1847–1848)
Early reviews of Wuthering Heights were mixed in their assessment. Whilst most critics at the time recognised the power and imagination of the novel, they were also baffled by the storyline and found the characters extremely forward and uninhibited for Victorian times.[note 1] Published in 1847, at a time when the background of the author was deemed to have an important impact on the story itself, many critics were also intrigued by the authorship of the novels.[note 2] Henry Chorley of the Athenæum said that it was a "disagreeable story" and that the "Bells" (Brontës) "seem to affect painful and exceptional subjects".
The Atlas review called it a "strange, inartistic story," but commented that every chapter seems to contain a "sort of rugged power." Atlas summarized the novel by writing: "We know nothing in the whole range of our fictitious literature which presents such shocking pictures of the worst forms of humanity. There is not in the entire dramatis persona, a single character which is not utterly hateful or thoroughly contemptible ... Even the female characters excite something of loathing and much of contempt. Beautiful and loveable in their childhood, they all, to use a vulgar expression, "turn out badly"."
Graham's Lady Magazine wrote "How a human being could have attempted such a book as the present without committing suicide before he had finished a dozen chapters, is a mystery. It is a compound of vulgar depravity and unnatural horrors."
The American Whig Review wrote "Respecting a book so original as this, and written with so much power of imagination, it is natural that there should be many opinions. Indeed, its power is so predominant that it is not easy after a hasty reading to analyze one's impressions so as to speak of its merits and demerits with confidence. We have been taken and carried through a new region, a melancholy waste, with here and there patches of beauty; have been brought in contact with fierce passions, with extremes of love and hate, and with sorrow that none but those who have suffered can understand. This has not been accomplished with ease, but with an ill-mannered contempt for the decencies of language, and in a style which might resemble that of a Yorkshire farmer who should have endeavored to eradicate his provincialism by taking lessons of a London footman. We have had many sad bruises and tumbles in our journey, yet it was interesting, and at length we are safely arrived at a happy conclusion."
Douglas Jerrold's Weekly Newspaper wrote "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. In Wuthering Heights the reader is shocked, disgusted, almost sickened by details of cruelty, inhumanity, and the most diabolical hate and vengeance, and anon come passages of powerful testimony to the supreme power of love – even over demons in the human form. The women in the book are of a strange fiendish-angelic nature, tantalising, and terrible, and the men are indescribable out of the book itself. Yet, towards the close of the story occurs the following pretty, soft picture, which comes like the rainbow after a storm....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. It is very puzzling and very interesting, and if we had space we would willingly devote a little more time to the analysis of this remarkable story, but we must leave it to our readers to decide what sort of book it is."
New Monthly Magazine wrote "Wuthering Heights, by Ellis Bell, is a terrific story, associated with an equally fearful and repulsive spot… Our novel reading experience does not enable us to refer to anything to be compared with the personages we are introduced to at this desolate spot – a perfect misanthropist's heaven."
Tait's Edinburgh Magazine wrote "This novel contains undoubtedly powerful writing, and yet it seems to be thrown away. Mr. Ellis Bell, before constructing the novel, should have known that forced marriages, under threats and in confinement are illegal, and parties instrumental thereto can be punished. And second, that wills made by young ladies' minors are invalid. The volumes are powerfully written records of wickedness and they have a moral – they show what Satan could do with the law of Entail."
Examiner wrote "This is a strange book. It is not without evidences of considerable power: but, as a whole, it is wild, confused, disjointed, and improbable; and the people who make up the drama, which is tragic enough in its consequences, are savages ruder than those who lived before the days of Homer."
Literary World wrote "In the whole story not a single trait of character is elicited which can command our admiration, not one of the fine feelings of our nature seems to have formed a part in the composition of its principal actors. In spite of the disgusting coursness of much of the dialogue, and the improbabilities of much of the plot, we are spellbound."
Britannia called it a "strangely original" book that depicts "humanity in this wild state." Although mostly hostile, it notes that the book is "illuminated by some gleams of sunshine towards the end which serve to cast a grateful light on the dreary path we have traveled."
References in culture
The earliest known film adaptation of Wuthering Heights was filmed in England and directed by A. V. Bramble. It is unknown if any prints still exist. The most famous was 1939's Wuthering Heights, starring Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon and directed by William Wyler. This acclaimed adaptation, like many others, eliminated the second generation's story (young Cathy, Linton and Hareton) and is rather inaccurate as an literature adaption. It won the 1939 New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Film and was nominated for the 1939 Academy Award for Best Picture.
The 1970 film with Timothy Dalton as Heathcliff is the first colour version of the novel, and gained acceptance over the years though it was initially poorly received. The character of Hindley is portrayed much more sympathetically, and his story-arc is altered. It also subtly suggests that Heathcliff may be Cathy's illegitimate half-brother.
In 1978 the BBC produced a five part TV serialisation of the book starring Ken Hutchinson, Kay Adshead and John Duttine with music by Carl Davis; it is considered one of the most faithful adaptations of Emily Brontë's story.
The 1992 film Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights starring Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche is notable for including the oft-omitted second generation story of the children of Cathy, Hindley and Heathcliff.
Recent film or TV adaptations include ITV's 2009 two part drama series starring Tom Hardy, Charlotte Riley, Sarah Lancashire, and Andrew Lincoln. and the 2011 film starring Kaya Scodelario and James Howson and directed by Andrea Arnold.
Adaptations which reset the story in a new setting include the 1954 adaptation retitled Abismos de Pasion directed by Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel set in Catholic Mexico, with Heathcliff and Cathy renamed Alejandro and Catalina. In Buñuel's version Heathcliff/Alejandro claims to have become rich by making a deal with Satan. The New York Times reviewed a re-release of this film as "an almost magical example of how an artist of genius can take someone else's classic work and shape it to fit his own temperament without really violating it," noting that the film was thoroughly Spanish and Catholic in its tone while still highly faithful to Brontë. Yoshishige Yoshida's 1988 adaptation also has a transposed setting, this time in medieval Japan. In Yoshida's version, the Heathcliff character, Onimaru, is raised in a nearby community of priests who worship a local fire god. In 2003, MTV produced a poorly reviewed version set in a modern California high school.
The 1966 Indian film Dil Diya Dard Liya is based upon this novel. The film is directed by Abdul Rashid Kardar and Dilip Kumar. The film stars the thespian Dilip Kumar, Waheeda Rehman, Pran, Rehman, Shyama and Johnny Walker. The music is by the legendary composer Naushad. Although it did not fare as well as other movies of Dilip Kumar, it was well received by critics
The novel has been popular in opera and theatre, including operas written by Bernard Herrmann, Carlisle Floyd, and Frédéric Chaslin (most cover only the first half of the book) and a musical by Bernard J. Taylor.
In 2011, a graphic novel version was published by Classical Comics, and stays close to the original novel. It was adapted by Scottish writer Sean Michael Wilson and hand painted by comic book veteran artist John M Burns. This version received a nomination for the Stan Lee Excelsior Awards, voted by pupils from 170 schools in the United Kingdom.
Kate Bush's song "Wuthering Heights" is most likely the best-known creative work inspired by Brontë's story that is not properly an "adaptation." Bush wrote and released the song when she was eighteen and chose it as the lead single in her debut album (despite the record company preferring another track as the lead single). It was primarily inspired by the Olivier-Oberon film version which deeply affected Bush in her teenage years. The song is sung from Catherine's point of view as she pleads at Heathcliff's window to be admitted. It uses quotations from Catherine, both in the chorus ("Let me in! I'm so cold!") and the verses, with Catherine's admitting she had "bad dreams in the night." Critic Sheila Whiteley wrote that the ethereal quality of the vocal resonates with Cathy's dementia, and that Bush's high register has both "childlike qualities in its purity of tone" and an "underlying eroticism in its sinuous erotic contours."
The 1976 album Wind and Wuthering, by British progressive rock band Genesis, alludes to the Brontë novel not only in the album's title but also in the titles of tracks 7 ("Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers...") and 8 ("...In That Quiet Earth"), which are derived from the novel's closing sentence: "I lingered round them, under that benign sky: watched the moths fluttering among the heath and harebells, listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass, and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth."
Wuthering Heights has also inspired a role-playing game. The game is distributed free on the Internet by French author Philippe Tromeur. The game is mentioned in the introduction for the 2007 Broadview Press edition of Wuthering Heights and in a footnote in the 2005 (Volume 33) issue of periodical Victorian literature and culture.
- Emily Brontë saved sections of five reviews of the 1847 version of Wuthering Heights, of which four have been identified as having appeared in the January 1848 numbers of the Atlas, Douglas Jerrold's Weekly Newspaper, the Examiner, and the Britannia. The fifth has neither a date nor source.
- Wuthering Heights was published alongside Agnes Grey under the pseudonyms "Acton and Ellis Bell" (Anne and Emily respectively). Wuthering Heights comprised the first two parts of the volume, and Agnes Grey the third: "The third volume of the book is made up of a separate tale relating to the fortunes of a governess." (Britannia (1848))
- Bloom's Guides: Wuthering Heights
- Charlotte's 1850 Edition
- "Excerpts from Contemporary Reviews". Academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu. 4 March 2009. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
- "''Wuthering Heights'': Publication & Contemporary Critical Reception". Academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu. 4 March 2009. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
- Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Letter of Sept. 19 1854
- "Later Critical Response to Wuthering Heights". Academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu. 4 March 2009. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
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- Gilbert, Sandra M. and Susan Gubar. The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Imagination. New Haven: Yale UP, 2000.
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- Wuthering Heights Vol.1
- Wuthering Heights Vol.2
- Irene Wiltshire: Speech in Wuthering Heights
- Paul Thompson (June 2009). "Wuthering Heights: the home of the Earnshaws". Retrieved 11 October 2009.
- Paul Thompson (June 2009). "The inspiration for the Wuthering Height's farmhouse?". Retrieved 11 October 2009.
- Robert Barnard (2000) Emily Brontë
- Ian Jack (1995) Explanatory Notes in Oxford World's Classics edition of Wuthering Heights
- Publication Stir
- American Whig Review
- Critical reception
- Critical reception
- Literary World review
- Britannia review
- Wuthering Heights (1920) at the Internet Movie Database
- Wuthering Heights (2009(TV)) at the Internet Movie Database
- Vincent Canby (27 December 1983). "Abismos de Pasion (1953) Bunuel's Brontë". New York Times. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
- "Classical Comics". Classical Comics. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
- Whiteley, Sheila (2005). Too much too young: popular music, age and gender. Psychology Press. p. 9. ISBN 0-415-31029-6.
- Tromeur, Philippe (January 2011). "Wuthering Heights" game. Many reviews of the game use an older link. Retrieved on 8 January 2011 from http://www.unseelie.org/rpg/wh/index.html.
- The former on page 11, the latter on p. 611
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Cousin, John William (1910). A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature. London: J. M. Dent & Sons. Wikisource
- 'Law of the Moors' essay
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- Wuthering Heights at the British Library
- Now in the public domain, Wuthering Heights can also be downloaded and read online from a number of sites, of which the following is just a selection:
- Wuthering Heights at Project Gutenberg.
- Wuthering Heights, overview and ebook (PDF).
- Wuthering Heights at GirleBooks free downloads in PDF, PDB and LIT formats.
- Wuthering Heights public domain audiobook at LibriVox
- Reader's Guide to Wuthering Heights
- Wuthering Heights voted UK's favourite love story, Guardian