Oxford World’s Classics
‘You said I killed you – haunt me, then!’
Wuthering Heights is one of the most famous love stories in the English language. It is also one of the most potent revenge narratives. The intense and unbreakable bond between the fiery Catherine Earnshaw and the foundling Heathcliff has startled and fascinated readers since its first publication in 1847. Of uncertain parentage and ethnicity, Heathcliff comes to Wuthering Heights as a child when Catherine’s father finds him wandering alone through the slave-trading port of Liverpool. After Mr Earnshaw’s death, Heathcliff and Catherine find refuge in each other when the household falls into the hands of Catherine’s dissolute older brother. Their bond deepens as they escape together from the violence and stern religion of their home to the Yorkshire moors.
But the story of Catherine and Heathcliff’s attachment transforms from intimacy to strife when Catherine marries the refined Edgar Linton. The ensuing story of violence and thwarted passion is one of the most powerful tales of the gothic tradition, a literary mode from which Emily Brontë wrings all of its terrifying potential. A regional novel with a global reach, a work of sensational effects with a startling ethical core, Wuthering Heights is both a romantic melodrama and wrenching study of the difficulty of escaping from the legacies of violence.
This edition reproduces the authoritative Clarendon text, with revised and expanded notes and a selection from the poems of Emily Brontë.