Review: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

PAPERBACK; 312 P.
GIUNTI EDITORE, 2002/1847
SOURCE: PURCHASED

From Goodreads:

Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine’s father. After Mr Earnshaw’s death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine’s brother Hindley and wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man. He proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries. The action of the story is chaotic and unremittingly violent, but the accomplished handling of a complex structure, the evocative descriptions of the lonely moorland setting and the poetic grandeur of vision combine to make this unique novel a masterpiece of English literature.

Wuthering Heights is one of those classics that divides opinions. Some absolutely love it for its passion and complexity, some hate it because of its narration and chaotic nature. In the time of its publication, Emily Brontë’s novel was not as popular as those of her sisters, but she has later risen in fame and the book is considered as one of the must-read classics of English literature.

The book begins with a young urban gentleman who rents a residence at a remote area of the countryside, and tries to make the acquaintance of his neighbours at Wuthering Heights. The neighbours, however, turn to be a very strange and cross group of people, and he later finds out from one of his servants that there is a dark story behind the family living in the house. He pleads the old servant, Nelly, to tell him the story, and thus begins the story of the two families, the Lintons and the Earnshaws. It’s a complicated tale of two generations of love, hatred, jealousy, pride and beliefs. Wuthering Heights explores the dark side of human nature and passion, with a touch of paranormal elements, making it the very epitome of Gothic literature.

I read Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre this time last year, and really enjoyed that one. Wuthering Heights has many similarities to Jane Eyre, such as the strong minded female character, but the tone of the narration in Wuthering Heights is a whole lot darker. I was expecting it to be a more of a love story than a story of pain and misery and revenge, but at the same time, I think I enjoyed it more because it wasn’t what I expected. It is harrowing and unpleasant, but still very gripping and moving. Part of the fascination in the story is the jumping time line, that makes the reader aware of the narrator (who is a third party herself), and the impact of the strong feelings translates extremely well into the writing. I loved how Emily Brontë described the moors and the nature, making it almost like one of the characters in the story. Wuthering Heights is clearly one the most original and interesting works of art that holds many elements of beauty without being beautiful. I’d definitely recommend this if you’re a fan of classics or want to read something of the Gothic genre.

4/5

I have dreamt in my life, dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they have gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind. And this is one: I’m going to tell it – but take care not to smile at any part of it.

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8 thoughts on “Review: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

    • I think that if I had read this when I initially bought my copy (I was 16), I too would have hated it. It’s not a book that instantly kindled my heart, but many of the passages left a deep impression on me.

  1. This was the novel we had to study for our A level exam in English lit (Advanced level) and you are absolutely right that it divided opinions. the boys all hated it and the girls all went gaga over Mr H… I can still quote from the book after 40 years. It had quite an impact as you can tell but at the same time I was conscious that it had flaws, like the fact that it was really stretching our belief Nelly was able to hear all those conversations…

    • Haha, I can believe the arguments in class were quite heated!
      I agree that it is definitely a bit of a stretch that Nelly would have heard as much as she did, but I guess it comes with the challenge of having a third person narrator.

  2. Gosh…I now really want to read this book!!
    I’m glad that you liked the book and stated the reasons why it is so.I saw far too many people hating on Wuthering Heights,and ultimately I started thinking that maybe it is a bland story that deserves no place on my reading list – I was already dismissing the book as one of those classics I would never read.Fortunately I read your review! 🙂

    • I’m glad that my review made you reconsider reading Wuthering Heights! I can definitely understand that it might not be the right book for everyone, but the writing is so captivating that I can’t see how anyone could describe it as bland 🙂

  3. I’ve been wanting to read Wuthering Heights for such a long time. It sounds like a classic I would enjoy. I just need to find the time to sit down and read it. There are just too many books I want to read, haha.

    • Yes, I definitely recommend that you try and find the right time to read it. I think the reason why the 15-year-old me couldn’t get past page 50 was because I didn’t really have the time nor focus to truly enjoy the book and the writing style. However, I do suggest that you read it because it is a stunning book.

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