Wuthering Heights

  • Enid L. Duthie


While Emily Brontë’s poetic activity, like the writing of her Gondal chronicles, occupied her from adolescence onward, Wuthering Heights was the product of her final years. The actual date of its inception is not known, but Charlotte Brontë was able to offer to send the manuscript, together with those of The Professor and Agnes Grey, to a publisher in July 1846. The previous October had seen an interruption in her poetic activity, coinciding with Charlotte’s discovery of her poems, and it seems probable that her writing of a novel intended for publication did not begin before then.1 To produce such a work in so short a time was a remarkable feat. There is no doubt that she must have been considerably helped by the practice acquired in the writing of the Gondal prose chronicles, and it has been shown that there are undoubted affinities between characters and situations in the Gondal poems and in Wuthering Heights.2 But the actual composition of Emily’s only novel indubitably belonged to the period when life at the parsonage was darkened by the increasingly rapid decline of Branwell and, as John Hewish has said, “it is reasonably certain that Wuthering Heights and Heathcliff would hardly have been the same without this example of romantic self-destruction so close to its author”.3


Dual Aspect Spiritual Force Moorland Heather Green Valley Penis Tone 
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  1. 7.
    J. F. Goodridge, Emily Brontë: Wuthering Heights (Studies in English Literature, no. 20), (London, 1964) p. 60.Google Scholar
  2. 11.
    Halliwell Sutcliff, By Moor and Fell in West Yorkshire, (London, 1899) p. 31.Google Scholar
  3. 12.
    Richard Benvenuto, Emily Brontë (Boston, 1982) p. 78.Google Scholar
  4. 15.
    For the use of animal metaphors, see M. Schorer, The World We Imagine (London, 1970), Part I, section 3, pp. 32–3.Google Scholar
  5. 16.
    Edgar F. Shannon, Jr., “Lockwood’s Dreams and the Exegesis of Wuthering Heights”, Nineteenth-Century Fiction, XIV, Sept. 1959, pp. 98–9.Google Scholar
  6. 21.
    See Miriam Allott, “The Rejection of Heathcliff?”, in Wuthering Heights: A Casebook, edited by Miriam Allott (London, 1970) pp. 186–7, and Inga-Stina Ewbank, Their Proper Sphere, pp. 95–8.Google Scholar
  7. 22.
    See Robert C. McKibben, “The Image of the Book in Wuthering Heights”, in The Brontës, edited by Ian Gregor, 1970, pp. 34–43.Google Scholar

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© Enid L. Duthie 1986

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  • Enid L. Duthie

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