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Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Wuthering Heights: A Norton Critical Edition / Edition 4

Wuthering Heights: A Norton Critical Edition / Edition 4

by Emily Brontë, Richard J. Dunn
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As featured on PBS’s The Great American Read

The text of the novel is based on the first edition of 1847.

For the Fourth Edition, the editor collated the 1847 text with the two modern texts (Norton’s William J. Sale collation and the Clarendon), and found a great number of variants, including accidentals. This discovery led to changes in the body of the Norton Critical Edition text that are explained in the preface. New to "Backgrounds and Contexts" are additional letters, a compositional chronology, related prose, and reviews of the 1847 text. "Criticism" collects five important assessments of Wuthering Heights, three of them new to the Fourth Edition, including Lin Haire-Sargeant’s essay on film adaptations of the novel.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393978896
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 12/28/2002
Series: Norton Critical Editions Series
Edition description: Fourth Edition
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 131,236
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Emily Brontë (1818-1848) spent most of her life in a stone parsonage in the small village of Haworth on the wild and bleak Yorkshire moors. Despite the isolation of Haworth, the Brontë family shared a rich literary life.

Richard J. Dunn is Professor of English at the University of Washington. His books include the Norton Critical Edition of Wuthering Heights, Approaches to Teaching Dickens’s David Copperfield, David Copperfield: An Annotated Bibliography, The English Novel, Twentieth-Century Criticism, Defoe to Hardy, and Oliver Twist: Whole Heart and Soul.

Read an Excerpt


I have just returned from a visit to my landlord--the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with. This is certainly a beautiful country! In all England I do not believe that I could have fixed on a situation so completely removed from the stir of society. A perfect misanthropist's heaven; and Mr. Heathcliff and I are such a suitable pair to divide the desolation between us. A capital fellow! He little imagined how my heart warmed towards him when I beheld his black eyes withdraw so suspiciously under their brows, as I rode up, and when his fingers sheltered themselves, with a jealous resolution, still further in his waistcoat, as I announced my name.

"Mr. Heathcliff?" I said.

A nod was the answer.

"Mr. Lockwood, your new tenant, sir. I do myself the honour of calling as soon as possible after my arrival, to express the hope that I have not inconvenienced you by my perseverance in soliciting the occupation of Thrushcross Grange: I heard yesterday you had had some thoughts--"

"Thrushcross Grange is my own, sir," he interrupted, wincing. "I should not allow any one to inconvenience me, if I could hinder it--walk in!"

The "walk in" was uttered with closed teeth, and expressed the sentiment, "Go to the deuce": even the gate over which he leant manifested no sympathizing movement to the words; and I think that circumstance determined me to accept the invitation: I felt interested in a man who seemed more exaggeratedly reserved than myself.

When he saw my horse's breast fairly pushing the barrier, he did put out his hand to unchain it, and then sullenly preceded me up the causeway, calling, as we entered thecourt--"Joseph, take Mr. Lockwood's horse; and bring up some wine."

"Here we have the whole establishment of domestics, I suppose," was the reflection suggested by this compound order. "No wonder the grass grows up between the flags, and cattle are the only hedge-cutters."

Joseph was an elderly, nay, an old man: very old, perhaps, though hale and sinewy. "The Lord help us!" he soliloquised in an undertone of peevish displeasure, while relieving me of my horse: looking, meantime, in my face so sourly that I charitably conjectured he must have need of divine aid to digest his dinner, and his pious ejaculation had no reference to my unexpected advent.

Wuthering Heights is the name of Mr. Heathcliff's dwelling. "Wuthering" being a significant provincial adjective, descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in stormy weather. Pure, bracing ventilation they must have up there at all times, indeed: one may guess the power of the north wind blowing over the edge, by the excessive slant of a few stunted firs at the end of the house; and by a range of gaunt thorns all stretching their limbs one way, as if craving alms of the sun. Happily the architect had foresight to build it strong: the narrow windows are deeply set in the wall, and the corners defended with large jutting stones.

Before passing the threshold, I paused to admire a quantity of grotesque carving lavished over the front, and especially about the principal door; above which, among a wilderness of crumbling griffins and shameless little boys, I detected the date "1500," and the name "Hareton Earnshaw." I would have made a few comments, and requested a short history of the place from the surly owner; but his attitude at the door appeared to demand my speedy entrance, or complete departure, and I had no desire to aggravate his impatience previous to inspecting the penetralium.

One step brought us into the family sitting-room, without any introductory lobby or passage. They call it here "the house" pre-eminently. It includes kitchen and parlour, generally; but I believe at Wuthering Heights the kitchen is forced to retreat altogether into another quarter: at least I distinguished a chatter of tongues, and a clatter of culinary utensils, deep within; and I observed no signs of roasting, boiling, or baking, about the huge fireplace; nor any glitter of copper saucepans and tin cullenders on the walls. One end, indeed, reflected splendidly both light and heat from ranks of immense pewter dishes, interspersed with silver jugs and tankards, towering row after row, on a vast oak dresser, to the very roof. The latter had never been underdrawn: its entire anatomy lay bare to an inquiring eye, except where a frame of wood laden with oatcakes and clusters of legs of beef, mutton, and ham concealed it. Above the chimney were sundry villainous old guns and a couple of horse-pistols: and, by way of ornament, three gaudily painted canisters disposed along its ledge. The floor was of smooth, white stone; the chairs, high-backed, primitive structures, painted green: one or two heavy black ones lurking in the shade. In an arch under the dresser reposed a huge liver-coloured bitch pointer, surrounded by a swarm of squealing puppies; and other dogs haunted other recesses.

The apartment and furniture would have been nothing extraordinary as belonging to a homely, northern farmer, with a stubborn countenance and stalwart limbs set out to advantage in knee-breeches and gaiters. Such an individual seated in his armchair, his mug of ale frothing on the round table before him, is to be seen in any circuit of five or six miles among these hills, if you go at the right time after dinner. But Mr. Heathcliff forms a singular contrast to his abode and style of living. He is a dark-skinned gipsy in aspect, in dress and manners a gentleman: that is, as much a gentleman as many a country squire: rather slovenly, perhaps, yet not looking amiss with his negligence, because he has an erect and handsome figure; and rather morose. Possibly, some people might suspect him of a degree of underbred pride; I have a sympathetic chord within that tells me it is nothing of the sort: I know, by instinct, his reserve springs from an aversion to showy displays of feeling--to manifestations of mutual kindliness. He'll love and hate equally under cover, and esteem it a species of impertinence to be loved or hated again. No, I'm running on too fast: I bestow my own attributes over liberally on him. Mr. Heathcliff may have entirely dissimilar reasons for keeping his hand out of the way when he meets a would-be acquaintance, to those which actuate me. Let me hope my constitution is almost peculiar: my dear mother used to say I should never have a comfortable home; and only last summer I proved myself perfectly unworthy of one.

Table of Contents

Plot synopsis
family trees
who's who in "Wuthering Heights"
themes images in "Wuthering Heights"
text commentary
self-test questions
how to write a coursework essay
writing an examination essay
self-test answers.

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Wuthering Heights: A Norton Critical Edition 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 60 reviews.
mmillet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Supposedly one of the 'great' love stories of all time, I have always felt Catherine and Heathcliff's relationship was selfish, manipulative and just plain weird. I could never understand why she felt she could marry Linton and still have Heathcliff on the side and that Edgar would accept him too. I guess she could see herself aiding Heathcliff in the process, but I just can't see how she could rationalize that. Maybe it is just a bitter reminder of how stringent class distinctions were in that period. For the longest time I felt nothing but disgust for Heathcliff until after thinking about this book for some time: he may be vindictive, mean spirited and low but he did have a rough life where he was mistreated at every turn. I think his one redeeming moment was when Cathy and Hareton were starting to connect and he couldn't bear to punish them -- perhaps he did have a heart if only it lay beneath layers and layers of darkness. This time around I actually felt like Catherine was more the villain than he ever was.I'm glad I reread this one from an adult standpoint. I know that love isn't always passionately destructive and all consuming -- but 'Wuthering Heights' truly is an engrossing tale. I highly recommend the recent Masterpiece adaptation, it was fantastic!
colbud on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have tried to read this short book five times, and can never make it more than fifty pages into it. It's so painfully boring! The entire story could probably be condensed into 10 pages, and it might actually be interesting then.Um, do Catherine and Heathcliff love each other? OMG! It was so hard to tell when that's all Brontë talks about without actually going anywhere with the plot! Ugh! Awful story!
paulskiy2k on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Best book that was written by the Bronte sisters. Truly gripping tale about true love and how far some will go to be with their true love. Has great drama that many people try to achieve today, but fail because no one has been able to top this story when telling how far one will go for true love.
thelittlereader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
i had heard mixed things about Wuthering Heights, but decided to give it a try on daily lit to see if it could hold my attention. since i've been busy with school i haven't had the chance to read any other way, so it's been a good way to at least feel like i'm reading something.anyhow, the first half or so was rather boring for me, with lots of background and overly descriptive passages. i was definitely glad to be reading it in the daily lit format. i don't think i would have stuck with it otherwise. but, after that, it really picked up, and i found myself clicking for the next installment the end, i can definitely say i enjoyed it. it was quirky and fun and the character development was wonderful. i particularly enjoyed the style of narration and will be much less leary of picking up another bronte book in the future.
morningrob on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What a bad book. Why it is a classic is beyond me. A book about miserable people, being miserable.
thewalkinggirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The passionate, turbulent tale of mutually destructive love between Heathcliff and Catherine set against a dark, almost claustrophobic background. (It kind of reminds me of Goya in his Black period.) It's really as much a horror story as it is a love story, at least in the first half. The second half seems more Victorian morality play. I'm glad I read it, but if I were to ever re-read it, I think I'd just read the first half and skip the second.
tap_aparecium on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I can't believe that it took me twenty three years to pick up this classic novel. I loved the passion and the gothic overtones. Easily one of my favorites.
girlsgonereading on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tilly Farmer and I have a lot in common. We are both 32. We both married our high school sweethearts. And we both work in high schools in the towns where we grew up. You would think that all this similarity would breed familiarity, but I found Tilly very difficult to take until the very end of the book. Ironically, I think it was all these similarities that made it harder for me to like her, made me focus on our differences. Tilly, in the beginning, loves prom (I avoid the sponsor for weeks before so I don¿t have to chaperone), always smiles to fix a problem (anyone who knows me will tell you that I prefer yelling), and thinks her boy-man husband is adorable when he falls asleep watching another baseball game (um¿I don¿t even know how to answer this!).So as the novel begins, Tilly is ¿blind¿ in more ways than one. The fact that it took her two hundred pages to recognize that her husband was a poor spouse was aggravating. The way that she makes excuses for her alcoholic father was not helpful. And the way Tilly spent so much of the book telling me everything was perfect made me want to scream. She ignored the issues in her life for too long in the novel for me to truly love it. And it was this slow beginning that made her ultimate discovery-which came very quickly in the end-lose its punch.The shining spots of this work came in the end. When Tilly finally finds clarity, she is inspirational. She relaxes and lets the other people in her life handle their own problems. She learns to let go, and that her students, her siblings, and her spouse are able to think without her constant guidance and cliched advice. Tilly almost won me back in these last wonderful fifty pages. She further reminded me of our similarities, when she realizes what she has given up for her family. ¿I abandoned it: for Darcy, for my family, for my father. I lost myself for them, which we all have to do every once in a while but probably shouldn¿t do forever.¿ What mother, wife, teacher hasn¿t sacrificed a lot for their family only to occasionally want it back?Scotch shows she is a good writer in lines like the ones above, but it was too little, too late to win me back entirely. This is the first time that I have ever read her work, and I would like to read Time of My Life-her first novel. Allison¿s blog, Ask Allison, is always witty and insightful, and although I never comment I always wish I would. The One that I Want is an interesting idea, but I hope that Scotch¿s other works cuts to the chase a little faster, and that maybe the characters don¿t have lives so close to mine!
sonyau on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Well, I wanted to give it a four star review, but I didn't "really like it." I recognize the power of its passion, but I was dragged kicking and screaming the entire way, much like the way Heathcliff tortured Catherine Jr. and also his own unformed "lizard-like" son, Linton. Best case scenario for marital bliss? Make sure your dating pool is larger than two lackluster, underwhelming cousins.
HannahKiwi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The great mystery of Wuthering Heights is that, despite misery for generations, the final collection of residents form the societal norm as the novel closes. It reaches a fairy-tale conclusion which seems set apart from the Gothic nature of the remainder of the narrative. It is either a failure of readership (which I will confess I desire to be true), of tone or narrative structure, or of genre. The latter suggests a delicacy which nudges the reader towards gendered narrative: as in Jane Eyre, another Bronte has succumb to the tropes of female writer (whether this was known at the time is irrelevant), and, through the conclusion of the norm family (that is, the family within the patriarchal and capitalist discourses) which can only trap the female. The novel thus becomes a contrast of the unsupressed wild woman (in Cathy, her darker nature expressed through Heathcliff) and the younger Cathy, who has been repressed into the societal norms. The tendency towards a id-ego-superego reading becomes inevitable. Alas, that final chapter!
chase4720 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What I absolutely love about Wuthering Heights is that I've read it at least ten times and still can't decide if I like the novel. I mean obviously I like it enough to read it over and over again but I'm undecided how I feel about the characters and the story. That's what makes a great story- one that you can never make up your mind about; one that you get new ideas and new meaning reading it every time.
jwhenderson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For someone who read Jane Eyre at an early age and has reread it several times since this is a strange companion book. It is a companion in the sense, at least, that the author was the sister of Charlotte, but while both books are romantic, the way they demonstrate romanticism appears to be very different. Emily's book exhibits the wild abandon associated with dionysian excess. It is a dark and bold romanticism that brings to mind images such as those depicted in the famous cinematic adaptation with Merle Oberon and Sir Laurence Olivier. Perhaps beneath the apparent differences between these novels there is a similarity that is closer to the foundations of the Romanticism of the era. I await further reading to confirm that possibility.
nateage on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found this a very good book. I like to read it as a statement of Bronte's view on Fundamentalist Chris
rayski on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Heathcliff loves Catherine who wants money instead of love, but dies young with money of broken heart for heathcliff. Heathcliff takes it out on the rest of the world until his death.
Angelic55blonde on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love this book!!! It is a classic... a dark romance and it is interesting from beginning to end. I absolutely loved it!
KMDHOW on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The love story of Heathciff and Catherine. I was disappointed. I didn't like Heathcliff at all and can't understand why he is considered a great romantic figure. He didn't deserve to live happily ever after. He didn't want anyone else to be happy. Why should he get what he wants?
NovelKnightEMc More than 1 year ago
I'm almost positive I would prefer the movie A tale of revenge, envy, pride, love denied, family strife, with an orphan in it? This should be my jam! Alas, it was not. This was a weird read for me. I kept trying to figure out why it was such a slog. I usually love to read about people I love to hate, and almost every character qualifies. Instead I hoped Lockwood and Nelly would just shut up. (Also, I'm sure I cheated in high school. I definitely did not read this on the dates I've scribbled in the front cover.) I do admire the twisted way Emily Brontë told this tale. It's a complex way to get a story out and very smart. While this is clearly brilliant writing, I just didn't fancy it. It's a bit like some Bach -- I can appreciate the technical skill and accomplishment, but I just don't enjoy listening to it. I never know how to award stars in this situation? It's not really a matter of I liked it versus I didn't. There's an added dimension that demands a few stars... Anyway, I'm glad I finally forced myself to finish the last 18 pages. At least it's over, and I can now say I've read it. I do wonder why I had the idea that this was a romantic story, and I'm sure I would have liked it less if it was. I can't honestly figure out why I disliked it, but I did. (This is one where I'm almost positive I would prefer the movie.)
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I started reading this book and did not really know what to expect. I tried to come into it with an open mind since I am not much of reader. I think that Emily Bronte structured this book with sheer genius. For being her first and only book the structure is quite complex. I was a little overwhelmed in the first 5 or 6 chapters because it took a while to get use to the writing style of the book. The reading is fairly tough because of the time period it is set in; especially when a character named Joseph starts talking. I think that the characters are well represented are gone into in quite detail. It is sad that the characters that are immature, unstable, self-absorbed and hell-bent on revenge. This is to be considered one of the greatest love stories ever told. Ironically there is not much love exhibited throughout the novel from anyone. It is more of a tragedy than anything and if you are into tragic love stories and genius novel structure than this book would be for you.
Pat_McGrown More than 1 year ago
This book is very complex for an average person to read. The plot itself is interesting as towards the end you want to find out what happens. One strength that this story has is that you feel for the characters that are in the story. A great book is one that the reader can zone in on a character and understand the emotions that the character is going through. The main characters Heathcliff and Catherine are very relatable. Women can feel for Catherine as she struggles to find her true love and tries to find the right man. Ultimately, though, she picks the wrong one. Men can feel for Heathcliff as well. He is a guy who struggles to find success but ends up finding it, even if he takes a toll getting there. One negative that I feel the book has is that it is very hard to read. For example, in the first five chapters, the author was very descriptive to the point where she was overly descriptive. Also, at certain chapters, it is hard to figure out sometimes who is talking as pronouns were used more than proper nouns. All in all, if you like reading books, then this book could be your cup of coffee but it you are a casual reader, you might get bored and confused with this book quick.