Wuthering Heights

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Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë's only novel, was published in 1847 under the pseudonym "Ellis Bell". It was written between October 1845 and June 1846. Wuthering Heights and Anne Brontë's Agnes Grey were accepted by publisher Thomas Newby before the success of their 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.

Wuthering Heights contains elements of gothic fiction, and another significant aspect is the moorland setting. The novel has inspired adaptations, including film, radio and television dramatisations, a musical, a ballet, operas, and a song by Kate Bush.

In 1801, Lockwood, a wealthy young man from the South of England, who is seeking peace and recuperation, rents Thrushcross Grange in Yorkshire. He visits his landlord, Heathcliff, who lives in a remote moorland farmhouse, Wuthering Heights. There Lockwood finds an odd assemblage: Heathcliff, who seems to be a gentleman, but his manners are uncouth; the reserved mistress of the house, who is in her mid-teens; and a young man, who seems to be a member of the family, yet dresses and speaks as if he is 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 into the room. Lockwood is 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. After his visit to the Heights, Lockwood becomes ill and is confined to his bed for some length of time. The Grange housekeeper, Ellen (Nelly) Dean, who is looking after him, tells him the story of the family at the Heights during his convalescence.

Thirty years earlier, the owner of Wuthering Heights was Mr. Earnshaw, who lived with his son Hindley and younger daughter Catherine. On a trip to Liverpool, Earnshaw encounters a homeless boy, described as a "dark-skinned gypsy in aspect". He adopts the boy and names him Heathcliff. Hindley feels that Heathcliff has 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 university/college. Three years later Earnshaw dies, and Hindley becomes the landowner; he is now master of Wuthering Heights. He returns to live there with his new wife, Frances. He allows Heathcliff to stay, but only as a servant, and regularly mistreats him.

Read the complete novel for further story....
 

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