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Emily Brontë's beloved gothic romance, plumbing the dark depths of the human psyche with unmatched passion and drama
In Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë tells the story of Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange on the bleak Yorkshire moors, who 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 passion between the foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw, and her betrayal of him. As Heathcliff’s bitterness and vengeance is visited upon the next generation, their innocent heirs must struggle to escape the legacy of the past. In this Penguin Classics edition, a new preface by Lucasta Miller, author of The Brontë Myth, looks at the ways in which the novel has been interpreted, from Emily Brontë's time onwards. This complements Pauline Nestor’s introduction, which discusses changing critical receptions of the novel, as well as Emily Brontë’s influences and background.
For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Emily Jane Brontë was born July 30, 1818, at Thornton in Yorkshire, the fifth of six children of Patrick and Maria Brontë. Both of Emily's parents had literary leanings; her mother published one essay, and her father wrote four books and dabbled in poetry. In 1821, shortly after Emily's third birthday, Maria died of cancer. Maria's sister, Elizabeth, came to live as a housekeeper and was responsible for training the girls in the household arts. Although Emily did spend a few short times away from Haworth, it was her primary residence and the rectory where she resided now serves as a Brontë Museum. Emily's only close friends were her brother Branwell and her sisters Charlotte and Anne. Emily died of tuberculosis on December 19, 1848, also at the age of thirty, and never knew the great success of her only novel Wuthering Heights, which was published almost exactly a year before her death on December 19, 1848. From the opinions of those who knew her well, Emily emerges as a reserved, courageous woman with a commanding will and manner. In the biographical note to the 1850 edition of Wuthering Heights, Charlotte Brontë attributes to her sister "a secret power and fire that might have informed the brain and kindled the veins of a hero."
Pauline Nestor is senior lecturer in English at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.
Lucasta Miller is the author of The Brontë Myth.