Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights is Emily Bronte’s supreme legacy. Indeed, many eminent critics consider it the greatest novel in the English language – a dramatic and imaginative masterpiece.

The scene is the dark windswept Yorkshire moors. The time is the last century. The drama concerns the attempt of Heathcliff, a dark-skinned gypsy waif of passionate and violent nature, to destroy the families of Earnshaw and Linton. The mystical history of Heathcliff’s life after the death of his love, Catherine, is perhaps the most poignant fictional haunting in any European language, and one which lives unforgettably in the memory.

Panther Imperial edition first published April 1961.

I have been away from blogging for a while and thought I’d ease myself gently back into the swing of things with this lovely Panther Edition of Wuthering Heights. Though I haven’t been posting much, that’s not to say I haven’t been reading! So I do hope to have more lovely gothic romance reviews on here soon.

In the meantime, here’s a link to a great blog I stumbled on. Fittingly entitled Bad Reviews of Good Books, it chronicles readers’ honest opinions about some of the greatest classic novels of all time and I found it compulsive reading! Taking a look at what our learned friends from cyber-space have been saying about Wuthering Heights, the comments range from the bizarre:

“The story carries the reader along, but every character is laced with a dramatic flaw (and by dramatic, I mean, it isn’t like a ‘weak man’ could just be weak to his wife; he’s weak in the face of the universal will. A selfish person isn’t just selfish about her daily amount of reading time, or whether her husband goes out whoring or not; she’s selfish about every single thing that comes into contact with her).”

 To the downright ridiculous:

“I read it on the train and, as we RAN SOMEONE OVER, I got eightish hours to read it.”

It certainly is an interesting debate as to whether just reading a book gives you the automatic right to critique someone else’s work and to how informed that opinion might be. Personally, I love reading other people’s reviews, good, bad or ugly but only after I have finished reading the book for myself. 

Anyway, to end with a good review of this great book – here’s what Charlotte Bronte herself had to say about her sister’s novel:

 “Wuthering Heights stands colossal, dark and frowning, half-statue, half-rock. It is Moorish and wild and knotty as a root of heather. Over much there broods ‘a horror of great darkness’; in its storm-heated and electrical atmosphere we seem at times to breathe lightening.”


Wuthering Heights

Dominated by the wild, terrible figure of Heathcliff and infused with much of the bleak beauty of its setting, the Yorkshire Moors, Wuthering Heights is one of the most highly imaginative novels in the English language. Such is the intense power of the atmosphere which Emily Bronte builds up that even the incredible Heathcliff seems real and every detail of the fantastic story of his love for Catherine Earnshaw remains clearly remembered long after one has finished the book. It is a strange story, with something of the vividness of a nightmare and something of the beauty of an old ballad, and it contrasts strongly with Agnes Grey and Jane Eyre, the novels which were written at the same time by Anne and Charlotte Bronte.

Written by Emily Bronte, first published 1847. Published in Penguin Books 1946. This reprint, 1965. Cover art Paul Hogarth.

I’ve said it before and will no doubt say it again – there’s too much running and not enough kissing going on in this blog and so of course I had to share this gorgeously smoochalicious cover of Wuthering Heights the minute I saw it.

According to Wikipedia, Paul Hogarth OBE was an English artist and illustrator best known for the cover drawings that he did in the 1980s for Penguin’s Graham Greene’s books. And yes, his artwork is worth looking out for – search for his book covers online and there is an amazing array of his work out there, it’s great.

And it’s been a good week for ferreting out some of my favourite books and writers – in addition to the Penguin edition of Wuthering Heights above, I also found this:

The Infernal World of Branwell Bronte. Written by Daphne du Maurier. Doubleday edtion published March 1961. Giant Cardinal edition published December 1962. 1st printing October 1962.

Of all the Brontes, Branwell, as a child, showed the most promise. He was worshipped by his sisters and his widowed father; it was to him they all looked for literary success. Yet he alone was unable to bridge the gap between childhood fantasy and adulthood, and produce a mature, finished book.

There is, however, no question of his influence upon the writings of his sisters, and certainly Emily drew heavily on him for her memorable portrait of Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights.

Conscious to the end of his sisters’ success and his own monumental failure, he turned to a life of dissipation and withdrew to live in the wild, fantastic imagination of his mythical, self-invented kingdom of Angria.

He died at thirty one, from alcohol and excessive laudanum – an ‘eloquent unpublished poet.’

It’s an amazing biography – Daphne du Marier’s skill as a novelist and storyteller bringing the life and times of the Bronte family alive. Anyone interested in the writings of the Bronte sisters can’t help but be drawn in by this beautifully written and wonderfully observed portrait of their incredibly talented but deeply troubled brother, Branwell.

I bought both these books for £1 at the wonderful Colin Page Books in Brighton, an amazing bookshop known and loved by bibliophiles far and wide. This is the kind of place that sells proper old books – gilt edged, leather bound, dusted in antiquity – rows upon rows of them, stacked floor to ceiling in that wonderful  ‘there must be some sort of order to this chaos’ way that real bookstores have.

And fear not all you cheap’n’cheerful paperback pulp fans – this place has something for everyone! For outside the shop are a couple of trestle tables where the paperbacks are sold and there is always a great selection, most priced at a very reasonable £1. I’m lucky enough to live and work nearby so this is one of my favourite lunchtime stops for a browse and a bargain!

For more info on this wonderful place, check out the antiquarian Booksellers’ Association page HERE.

Wuthering Heights

There are few more convincing, less sentimental accounts of passionate love than Wuthering Heights. This is the story of a savage, tormented foundling, Heathcliff, who falls wildly in love with Catherine Earnshaw, the daughter of his benefactor, and the violence and misery that result from their thwarted longing for each other. A book of immense power and strength, it is filled with the raw beauty of the moors and an uncanny understanding of the terrible truths about men and women – an understanding made even more extraordinary by the fact that it came from the heart of a frail, inexperienced girl who lived out her lonely life in the moorland wildness and died a year after this great novel was published.

Written by Emily Bronte 1847. This is the Signet Classic edition with a foreword by Geoffrey Moore, copyright 1959.

Happy Birthday Emily Bronte, you are 193 today, so I thought I’d commemorate the occasion by posting another wonderful edition of Wuthering Heights.

This Signet cover is gorgeous and illustrated by the same artist who did the cover to the Signet edition of Turn of the Screw, reviewed HERE. The signature is a little easier to read- Jaines / Jainee Hill? – but I’ve not been able to find any info on the artist.

Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights is unique, and cannot be classified; the reader feels either pronounced dislike or tremendous admiration. It is sombre, humourless, of unrelieved gloom. Yet there is about it a titanic greatness, impressing one profoundly; indeed it is awesome. Its large outlines, its intensity of feeling, its foreboding shadows at once stimulate and oppress the imagination. It is a wild prose poem rather than a novel – the tragedy of souls at grips with fate and fighting a hope-lost battle. Love of life and passionate adoration of the earth burns in it.

Written by Emily Bronte. First published 1847. This edition printed Richard Clay & Company, Bungay, Suffolk and published by P.R Gawthorn Ltd, Russell Square, London. With an introduction by Robert Harding.

Well, well, well,  it feels almost as if I had given up blogging for lent but fear not dear reader, I am back, this time with another copy of my favourite gothic and what is the first hardback book to grace these pages.

Wandering around on the edge of the town just the other day, I came across a rather enchanting looking church, old enough and ugly enough to warrant further investigation. Popping in to light some candles, I was delighted to find  a booksale taking place in the crypt, where I unearthed this copy of Wuthering Heights as well as a some Mary Stewart novels and a mint copy of the 6th Pan book of Horror Stories.

Normally, I’m not a huge fan of hardback books myself – too unwieldy, too much faff to carry around – but this is a nice edition with a lovely full colour frontispiece by C.E. Montford. My only quibble would be about some of the points made in the introduction by Robert Harding, in which he describes Wuthering Heights as  “humourless, of unrelieved gloom,” and “one of those books of which only two feelings are possible: hearty dislike or baffled admiration.”

Anyway, a link to the original artwork, recently sold as part of a lot for £80, is HERE.

Wuthering Heights

“My great thought in living is Heathcliff. If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be… My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks… Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He’s always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure…  but as my own being.”

WUTHERING HEIGHTS is a classic work of artistry and genius. Today, one hundred and thirty years after it was published, it is still a totally absorbing and utterly compelling novel of a grim passion, of a glorious love.

Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff must take their places amongst the great lovers of the world. Their complete obsession, and possession of each other, symbolises the oldest, the grandest, and the most romantic theme in literature…

Written by Emily Bronte, first published 1847.

Two more editions of my all-time favourite gothic Wuthering Heights.

The one above is the English Corgi edition published in 1978. This one to the right is the earlier American version published by Bantam books in April 1974.

Apart from the cover art, both are similar versions, containing the same excerpts from the author’s diary, letters, poetry and early writings, with an afterword, biographical sketch and notes on the text by Baruch Hochman.

The cover art for the above seems to be painted by Robert McGinnis – I found a link  featuring  some of his artwork for Wuthering Heights – it is very similar to this except there is no cottage in the background and the foreground is much more desolate. But the woman in the picture looks identical.  I can’t  make up my mind! Some links to the original cover art are HERE and HERE.

Wuthering Heights

The ominous and brooding shadows of the Yorkshire moors set a dramatic background for the tragedy of WUTHERING HEIGHTS. It tells of the frustrated love of Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff. When Catherine marries another man, Heathcliff’s passion turns to revenge – an urge to destroy the people and the raw beauty of the places the two of them had enjoyed as children.

Emily Bronte’s only novel , a masterpiece, lays bare the full misery of a man and woman who can never be free to love one another and the ultimate destruction this brings.

Written by Emily Bronte. First published 1847. This edition published 1967 by Pan Books Ltd, second printing 1968. With an introduction by Elizabeth Jennings and notes by Phyllis Bentley. Also includes  a selection of Emily Bronte’s poems. Cover art John Raynes (Thanks Tim!).

Of course this book needs no introduction. I thought I would share this lovely edition I picked up last week at the Worthing Car Boot Fair for a £1.

I love this cover – those dark, brooding purples and turbulent brushstrokes really capture the spirit of the story. Check out more of artist John Raynes’ work over at the amazing Pan Paperback Books website. Just follow the artists link at the top of the page.

I’m reading this again for what must be the hundredth time and still loving it – the poems are an extra treat too. Five out of five stars.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 86 other followers