Wuthering Heights

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Wuthering Heights is a novel written by Emily Brontë, first published in 1848. It recounts the tumultuous lives of two or three generations of the occupants of the titular house, Wuthering Heights, and neighbouring Thrushcross Grange, both situated on the moors of Yorkshire in the north of England.

Central to the story is the love between Heathcliff, an adopted gypsy boy, and his foster sister Catherine Earnshaw. Catherine's marriage to a richer, more respectable man than her true love drives Heathcliff into villainous madness, resulting in him inflicting years of psychological and physical abuse his own family and those connected with him; Heathcliff himself was subject to comparable abuse as a boy by his older foster brother Hindley. The wild, stark, forbidding, tempestuous moors make an apt setting for this bleak subject matter, and Brontë is almost cinematic avant la letre in her use of the former as a backdrop to the latter.

Several film versions of Wuthering Heights have been made, and also a modestly successful stage musical starring, somewhat surprisingly, Cliff Richard as Heathcliff. The singer Kate Bush also took inspiration from the novel for her first hit single, also called Wuthering Heights.

Wuthering Heights is also the title of a poem by the American Sylvia Plath, written in September 1961. With startlingly original and depressive imagery, it invokes the moors at dusk on a cold, gray wind-blown day.