Wuthering heights
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Wuthering Heights. by Emily Bronte. Born July 30, 1818, in England One of six, 5 girls and 1 boy. Emily Bronte. At 2, moved to Haworth, near Yorkshire moor—wild & desolate Died here 30 years later; inspired setting for Wuthering Heights. Emily Bronte. Death and Disease.

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Wuthering Heights

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Wuthering Heights

by Emily Bronte

Born July 30, 1818, in England

One of six, 5 girls and 1 boy

Emily Bronte

At 2, moved to Haworth, near Yorkshire moor—wild & desolate

Died here 30 years later; inspired setting for Wuthering Heights

Emily Bronte

Death and Disease

  • Mother died when she was three

  • By ten, her two eldest sisters died of tuberculosis

  • Rev. Bronte--distant; raised by stern Aunt Elisabeth who did not stifle their creativity

  • http://gtm-media.discoveryeducation.com/videos/19342/chp905704_700k.asf

What’s there to do in Haworth?

  • The three Bronte sisters (Charlotte and Anne) and their brother Branwell read many books and created a fantasy world all their own, filled with unique characters and events.


  • In 1846, Emily and her two sisters publish a book of poems under the pseudonyms Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell (attempt to thwart sexism of the day)

  • Sold only two books


  • Each author begins writing her own novel

  • Charlotte is published first—Jane Eyre (although finished last, publisher knew its success would guarantee audience for other two sisters)

  • Emily is next—WutheringHeights (mediocre reception but critiques agree Heights is best of three)

  • Anne’s novel is Agnes Grey http://gtm-media.discoveryeducation.com/videos/11673/chp897475_700k.asf

  • http://gtm-media.discoveryeducation.com/videos/19342/chp905707_700k.asf


  • Emily dies December 19, 1848, one year after the publication of Wuthering Heights

  • Branwell dies three months before; she catches a cold at his funeral which turns into tuberculosis

  • Anne dies shortly after Emily in 1849

  • Only Charlotte survivor of six, until 1855

  • http://gtm-media.discoveryeducation.com/videos/11673/chp897476_700k.asf



Social class

Significance of setting


The cosmic universe

The Fall

Elemental forces


Abusive patriarch

Childhood and family

Intense suffering

Wuthering HeightsGeneral Themes

Heathcliff as First Anti-hero—overtones of the Byronic hero

  • Qualities associated with the Byronic Hero:

  • dark, handsome appearance; brilliant but cynical and self-destructive

  • "wandering," searching behavior

  • haunted by some secret sin or crime, sometimes hints of forbidden love

  • modern culture hero: appeals to society by standing apart from society, superior yet wounded or unrewarded

  • fictional examples in American literature: Magua in Last of the Mohicans, Claggart in Billy Budd

  • Byronic authors in American literature: Poe, Hawthorne

  • As with the "fair lady-dark lady" tradition of literature, the dark Byronic hero is sometimes paired a more innocent, unmarked, even angelic figure. http://gtm-media.discoveryeducation.com/videos/11673/chp897472_700k.asf


  • "The Gothic" is a style, tone, or genre in western literature that most people recognize through various names or images: "the dark side," haunted houses, repressed fears & desires, death & decay, bad-boy Byronic heroes, fair & dark ladies, interplay of dark and light with shades of gray or blood-red colors in-between, grotesque figures and lurid symbols; blood as visual spectacle and genealogy / ethnicity.

  • Elements of the gothic make a long list, and so do its literary genres:

  • gothic novels or romances, horror films, thrillers, mysteries, film noir

  • or in performance culture: “goth” fashion and gothic rock or metal.

  • Frequently today the gothic (and earlier) the gothic is spoofed or satirized as a formula: The Addams Family, Young Frankenstein, etc.

  • The gothic has deep roots in theology, architecture, psychology, the imagination, and many traditions of literature.

  • Images associated with the gothic stretch back to Christian visions of hell, devils, and demons, with Lucifer as the original Byronic hero: proud, rebellious, attractive, dangerous to know. As the gothic develops, such imagery becomes secularized but may still evoke the supernatural.

  • The indispensable feature of nearly any gothic narrative is a haunted space that reflects or corresponds to a haunted mind. In European literature the gothic space is typically a haunted castle or other architectural structure such as a maze or labyrinth. American literature sometimes features a gothic building, as in Faulkner’s southern gothic, but American literature and films often transfer the gothic to a haunted forest or wilderness—from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and The Last of the Mohicans to The Blair Witch Project.

Emily Bronte

  • Born July 30, 1818, in England

  • One of six, 5 girls and 1 boy

  • At 2, moved to Haworth, near Yorkshire moors—wild and desolate

  • Died there 30 years later; inspired setting for Wuthering Heights

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