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About the book
  • Published: 6 March 2003
  • ISBN: 9780141439556
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • RRP: $12.99

Wuthering Heights

Penguin English Library




Wuthering Heights has achieved an almost mythical status as a love story, yet it is also a unique masterpiece of the imagination: an unsettling, transgressive novel about obsession, violence and death.

Emily Brontë's only novel, a work of tremendous and far-reaching influence, the Penguin Classics edition of Wuthering Heights is the definitive edition of the text, edited with an introduction by Pauline Nestor.
Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange, situated on the bleak Yorkshire moors, is forced to seek shelter one night at Wuthering Heights, the home of his landlord. There he discovers the history of the tempestuous events that took place years before; of the intense relationship between the gypsy foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw; and how Catherine, forced to choose between passionate, tortured Heathcliff and gentle, well-bred Edgar Linton, surrendered to the expectations of her class. As Heathcliff's bitterness and vengeance at his betrayal is visited upon the next generation, their innocent heirs must struggle to escape the legacy of the past.
In this edition, a new preface by Lucasta Miller, author of The Brontë Myth, looks at the ways in which the novel has been interpreted, from Charlotte Brontë onwards. This complements Pauline Nestor's introduction, which discusses changing critical receptions of the novel, as well as Emily Brontë's influences and background.
Emily Brontë (1818-48), along with her sisters, Charlotte and Anne, was one of the most significant literary figures of the 19th century. She wrote just one strikingly innovative novel, Wuthering Heights, but was also a gifted and intense poet.
If you enjoyed Wuthering Heights, you may like Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, also available in Penguin Classics.
'Wuthering Heights is commonly thought of as "romantic", but try rereading it without being astonished by the comfortableness with which Brontë's characters subject one another to extremes of physical and psychological violence'
Jeanette Winterson
'As a first novel, there is very little that can compare to it. Even Shakespeare took over a decade to reach the clifftop extremities of King Lear'
Sarah Waters

  • Pub date: 6 March 2003
  • ISBN: 9780141439556
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • RRP: $12.99

About the Author

Emily Bronte

Emily Brontë was born on 30 July 1818. Her father was curate of Haworth, Yorkshire, and her mother died when she was five years old, leaving five daughters and one son. In 1824 Charlotte, Maria, Elizabeth and Emily were sent to Cowan Bridge, a school for clergymen's daughters, where Maria and Elizabeth both caught tuberculosis and died. The children were taught at home from this point on and together they created vivid fantasy worlds which they explored by writing stories. Emily worked briefly as a teacher in 1938 but soon returned home. In 1846, Emily’s poems were published alongside those of her sisters, Charlotte and Anne, in Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. The following year Wuthering Heights was published. Emily Brontë died of consumption on 19 December 1848.


Emily Bronte lived from 1818 to 1848. Although she wrote only Wuthering Heights and about a dozen poms she is accepted as one of the most gifted writers ever. Perhaps the intensity of her writing grew out of the extraordinary pressures of her home life.

Emily's mother died when she was three and she lived with her four sisters and one brother in a bleak, isolated Yorkshire village – Haworth. Her father doted on his only son, Branwell, and expected little from his daughters – they surprised him while Branwell wasted his life and died an alchoholic and drug addict. The girls suffered dreadfully at a cheap boarding school, the oldest two dying of malnutrition. Emily, Charlotte and Anne were brought home just in time but Emily never lost her terrible fear of institutions and of being closed in. The sisters later became governesses to help support Branwell, seen by their father as a future great artist. They also began to publish their writing, under male pen-names as there was much prejudice against women writers. Their first book, a collection of poetry, failed but Emily's novel Wuthering Heights, was highly acclaimed and is still widely read today.

Emily seldom left her home village yet produced one of the most powerful novels of the inner self ever written. She caught a cold at her brother's funeral in 1848 and died a few months later.

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