Emily Brontë wrote Wuthering Heights, a love story, when she was 27 years old. It is the only novel she wrote. She died three years later in 1848, in Yorkshire, English farm country which she had rarely left and which is the setting for this one tempestuous and tragic book that established her fame.
With only her stealthy observations of a few neighbors and the teachings of her hot, proud heart, Emily Brontë created two intense, ill-fated lovers… Heathcliff, brought to Wuthering Heights as a starving Liverpool waif… Catherine Earnshaw, whom he grew up to love in that house with a passion that became a destroying rage when Cathy rejected him for her more proper neighbor Edgar Linton.
As demonic and relentless as the wind whistling across the Yorkshire moors is Heathcliff’s revenge and its inevitably Satanic conclusion.
Written with ardour and astounding competence, this probing novel by a relatively inexperienced young woman remains a masterpiece long after other romantic tales of its time have been forgotten.
Cover art by Lou Marchetti (thanks Ruben!).
If you’ve read my review of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, you will know what a fan I am of the Minster Classics. Wuthering Heights is number 47 in this series. This isn’t my favourite cover by a long shot, but the typeface is nice and big and (fairly) easy to read by candlelight if you were ever so inclined!
Speaking of which, I saw the new Wuthering Heights film recently. Directed by Andrea Arnold, there was a Q&A session with her afterwards. Time and budgetary constraints meant that only about half the book is covered and I got the impression this film was less about making another adaptation of the book and more an attempt to understand and tell Heathcliff’s part of the story.
Largely criticised as being too grim, (I guess none of the critics have read the book then) I thought the film was stunning and, for me anyway, very reminiscent of Emily Bronte’s poetry. One of those rare movies you watch and you immediately want to watch it all over again. Lucky for me, since it’s a Film 4 production, it should be on the telly any day now!