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Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights

Title page of the first edition
Author Emily Brontë
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Gothic novel
Publisher Thomas Cautley Newby
Publication date December 1847
Published in English 1847
Media type Print (hardback)
Pages 260 (Penguin classics 1994 edition)
ISBN ISBN 978-1-932535-14-3 (facsimile edition, Washington [D.C.] : Orchises, 2007), ISBN 0-14-043001-6 (Harmondsworth : Penguin, 1965), ISBN 978-0-14-062012-2 (London : Penguin 1994)
OCLC Number 71126926
Dewey Decimal 823/.8 22
LC Classification PR4172 .W7 2007

Wuthering Heights is a novel by Emily Brontë, written between October 1845 and June 1846,[1] and published in 1847 under the pseudonym Ellis Bell. It was her first and only published novel: she died the following year, at age 30. The decision to publish came after the success of her 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.[2]

Wuthering Heights is the name of the farmhouse on the Yorkshire moors where the story unfolds. The book’s core theme is the destructive effect that jealousy and vengefulness have, both on the jealous or vengeful individuals and on their communities.

Although Wuthering Heights is now widely regarded as a classic of English literature, it received mixed reviews when first published, and 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.[3][4] The English poet and painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti referred to it as a “fiend of a book — an incredible monster.”[5]

In the second half of the 19th century, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre was considered the best of the Brontë sisters‘ works, but later critics argued that Wuthering Heights was superior.[6] Wuthering Heights 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.


Opening (chapters 1 to 3)[edit]

In 1801, Mr Lockwood, a wealthy man from the south of England, rents Thrushcross Grange in the north 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 was 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)[edit]

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 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.

The climb to Top Withens, thought to have inspired the Earnshaw’s home in Wuthering Heights.

A few months after Hindley’s return, Heathcliff and Catherine walk to Thrushcross Grange to spy on the Lintons who were living there. After being discovered, they tried to run away but are caught. Catherine was injured by the Lintons’ dog and is taken into the house to recuperate while Heathcliff is sent home. Catherine stays with the Lintons and was 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 tried 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 proposed, that she accepted, and that this is despite the fact that she does not love Edgar—she loves Heathcliff, but cannot marry him 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 this, and in despair he 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)[edit]

Brontë Society plaque at Top Withens

After twelve years, Catherine and Edgar’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 walks to the moors where she meets Hareton, and from him learns of Wuthering Heights and discovers she has not one, but two cousins: Hareton in addition to Linton.

When Edgar returns with Linton, a weak and sickly boy, Cathy wants him to stay but Heathcliff insists that he live at Wuthering Heights instead.

Three years pass. Walking on the moors, Nelly and Cathy encounter Heathcliff, who takes them to Wuthering Heights to meet Linton and Hareton. Heathcliff hopes that Linton and Cathy will marry, so that Linton would become 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. He takes a turn for the worse when Nelly and Cathy are visiting Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff prevents them from leaving and keeps them captive to encourage Cathy and Linton’s courtship and to deny Edgar the chance to see his daughter before he dies. After five days, with Linton’s help, Cathy escapes. She returns to the Grange to see her father shortly before he dies.

As master of Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange, Heathcliff forces Cathy to live with him and Hareton. 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, Lockwood arrives and Nelly’s tale catches up to the present day. Some time passes, and after being ill for an extended period, Lockwood grows bored with the moors and informs Heathcliff that he will be departing from Wuthering Heights.

Ending (chapters 32 to 34)[edit]

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 inquires about what had happened since he left.

She explains that she moved to Wuthering Heights to replace the housekeeper, Zillah, who had departed. She explains that Hareton had an accident and was confined to the farmhouse. During his convalescence, he and Cathy 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.


Family tree

  • Heathcliff: Found, presumably orphaned, on the streets of Liverpool and taken to Wuthering Heights by Mr Earnshaw and reluctantly cared for by the family. He and Catherine grew close. Their love is the central theme of the first volume. His revenge against the man she chose to marry and its consequences are the central theme of the second volume. Heathcliff has been considered as 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” serves as his given name; he has no surname—his character has been a favourite subject of Marxist criticism.[7]
  • 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 more like Edgar. It is as if she wants both, even perhaps cannot be fully herself without both, and yet society or human nature makes that impossible. 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.[8]
  • 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 for all three generations of the Earnshaw and Linton families. In a sense, she straddles the “culture versus nature” divide. She is humbly born and has lived and worked amid the rough manners of Wuthering Heights, but is an educated woman who has experienced 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 unbiased narrator. Critics have discussed how far her actions (as an apparent bystander) affect the other characters.[9]
  • Isabella Linton: Introduced as part of the Linton family, Isabella is only shown in relation to other characters. She views Heathcliff as a romantic hero, 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, unlike Catherine, suffered such abuse from her husband and ultimately escaped from it, many 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 far more mature now but his hatred of Heathcliff remains the same. After Frances’ 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 where he attempts to kill him with a pistol.
  • Hareton Earnshaw: The son of Hindley and Frances, at first raised 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 Mr Earnshaw mortgaged it to Heathcliff). Heathcliff, in contrast, taught him vulgarities as a way of avenging himself on his father, Hindley. Hareton speaks with an accent similar to Joseph’s, and works as a servant at Wuthering Heights, unaware of his true rights. His appearance reminds Heathcliff of Catherine.
  • Cathy Linton: The daughter of Catherine Earnshaw and Edgar Linton is a spirited girl unaware of her parents’ history. Edgar is very protective of her and as a result she is constantly wanting to discover what lies beyond the confines of the Grange.
  • Linton Heathcliff: The son of Heathcliff and Isabella is a weak child. His character resembles Heathcliff’s, but without its only redeeming feature; the capacity to love. He marries Cathy Linton because his father directs him to do so. 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, as he enters his teens.
  • Joseph: A servant at Wuthering Heights who is hypocritical and self-righteous, while masquerading as a Christian. He speaks with a very thick Yorkshire accent.
  • Lockwood: The first narrator, he rents Thrushcross Grange to escape society, but in the end decides that society is preferable to a situation in which one might end up being like Heathcliff. He narrates the book until Chapter 4, when the main narrator, Nelly, picks up the tale.
  • Frances: A generally amiable character, she is Hindley’s wife and gives birth to Hareton Earnshaw.
  • Zillah: A servant to Heathcliff at Wuthering Heights during the period following Catherine’s death.

Relationships map[edit]


  • 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
1777: 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)



Author Joyce Carol Oates sees the novel as “an assured demonstration of the finite and tragically self-consuming nature of ‘passion’.”[10]


In “Emily Brontë and the Gothic: Female Characters in Wuthering Heights”, Yukari Oda discusses Bronte’s use of Gothic conventions in portraying Isabella, Cathy Linton, and Catherine Earnshaw.[11] 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.[12] 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.”[13]


1847 edition[edit]

The original 1847 text is available online in two parts, as published by Thomas Cautley Newby.[14][15]

1850 edition[edit]

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.[16]

Inspiration for locations[edit]

High Sunderland Hall in 1818, shortly before Emily Brontë saw the building.

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.[17] 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.[18]

The second possibility is the now demolished High Sunderland Hall, near Halifax, West Yorkshire.[17] 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 men 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.[19][20] 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.

Critical response[edit]

Early reviews (1847–1848)[edit]

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”.”[21]

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.”[21]

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.”[22]

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.”[23]

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.”[24]

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.”[24]

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.”[23]

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.”[25]

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.”[26]

References in culture[edit]


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.[27] The most famous was 1939’s Wuthering Heights, starring Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon and directed by William Wyler. This adaptation, like many others, eliminated the second generation’s story (young Cathy, Linton and Hareton). 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.

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.[28] 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.[29] 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 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. The libretto of Herrmann’s opera (written by his wife) incorporates material from poems by Emily Brontë, and his score has a few musical motifs that appeared in both prior and subsequent film scores by Herrmann.

In autumn of 2008, Mark Ryan launched a dramatic musical adaptation of the novel, narrated by Ray Winstone. He composed, sang, and produced the tracks with Robb Vallier who had worked on Spamalot. He also directed the video for the song “Women” filmed especially for the website and featuring Jennifer Korbee, Jessica Keenan Wynn, and Katie Boeck.

In 2011, a graphic novel version was published by Classical Comics,[30] 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.

Works inspired[edit]

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.”[31]

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.[32] 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.[33]


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ 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))


  1. ^ Bloom’s Guides: Wuthering Heights
  2. ^ Charlotte’s 1850 Edition
  3. ^ “Excerpts from Contemporary Reviews”. 4 March 2009. Retrieved 19 May 2010. 
  4. ^ “”Wuthering Heights”: Publication & Contemporary Critical Reception”. 4 March 2009. Retrieved 19 May 2010. 
  5. ^ Dante Gabriel Rossetti letters
  6. ^ “Later Critical Response to Wuthering Heights”. 4 March 2009. Retrieved 19 May 2010. 
  7. ^ Eagleton, Terry. Myths of Power: A Marxist Study of the Brontës. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.
  8. ^ Gilbert, Sandra M. and Susan Gubar. The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Imagination. New Haven: Yale UP, 2000.
  9. ^ Harley, James (1958). The Villain in Wuthering Heights (PDF). p. 17. Retrieved 3 June 2010. 
  10. ^ Oates, Joyce Carol. “The Magnanimity of Wuthering Heights”, Critical Inquiry, 1983
  11. ^ Yukari Oda. “Emily Brontë and the Gothic: Female Characters in Wuthering Heights”, LISA/LISA e-journal [Online, Writers, writings, Literary studies, document 1, 9 March 2010]
  12. ^ Beauvais, Jennifer. “Domesticity and the Female Demon in Charlotte Dacre’s Zofloya and Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights”, Romanticism on the Net, Numéro 44, novembre 2006, DOI: 10.7202/013999ar
  13. ^ Cristina Ceron, Christina. “Emily and Charlotte Brontë’s Re-reading of the Byronic hero”, Revue LISA/LISA e-journal [Online, Writers, writings, Literary studies, document 2, 9 March 2010, DOI : 10.4000/lisa.3504]
  14. ^ Wuthering Heights Vol.1
  15. ^ Wuthering Heights Vol.2
  16. ^ Irene Wiltshire: Speech in Wuthering Heights
  17. ^ a b Paul Thompson (June 2009). “Wuthering Heights: the home of the Earnshaws”. Retrieved 11 October 2009. 
  18. ^ Paul Thompson (June 2009). “The inspiration for the Wuthering Height’s farmhouse?”. Retrieved 11 October 2009. 
  19. ^ Robert Barnard (2000) Emily Brontë
  20. ^ Ian Jack (1995) Explanatory Notes in Oxford World’s Classics edition of Wuthering Heights
  21. ^ a b Publication Stir
  22. ^ American Whig Review
  23. ^ a b Critical reception
  24. ^ a b Critical reception
  25. ^ Literary World review
  26. ^ Britannia review
  27. ^ Wuthering Heights (1920) at the Internet Movie Database
  28. ^ Wuthering Heights (2009(TV)) at the Internet Movie Database
  29. ^ Vincent Canby (27 December 1983). “Abismos de Pasion (1953) Bunuel’s Brontë”. New York Times. Retrieved 22 June 2011. 
  30. ^ “Classical Comics”. Classical Comics. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  31. ^ Whiteley, Sheila (2005). Too much too young: popular music, age and gender. Psychology Press. p. 9. ISBN 0-415-31029-6. 
  32. ^ Tromeur, Philippe (2011-01). “Wuthering Heights” game, January 2011. Many reviews of the game use an older link. Retrieved on 2011-01 from
  33. ^ The former on page 11, the latter on p. 611


External links[edit]

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