26 July 2011

Jane Austen - N O R T H A N G E R - A B B E Y / Tuesday, 26 July 2011 at 13:49

Northanger Abbey /nôrth'ān-jur, -ang-gur/ was the first of Jane Austen's novels to be completed for publication, though she had previously made a start on Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice. According to Cassandra Austen's MemorandumSusan (as it was first called) was written about the years 1798–99. It was revised by Austen for the press in 1803, and sold in the same year for £10 to a London bookseller, Crosby & Co., who decided against publishing. In 1817, the bookseller was content to sell it back to the novelist's brother, Henry Austen, for the exact sum — £10 — that he had paid for it at the beginning, not knowing that the writer was by then the author of four popular novels. The novel was further revised before being brought out posthumously in late December 1817 (1818 given on the title-page), as the first two volumes of a four-volume set with Persuasion.

Plot introduction

Northanger Abbey follows seventeen-year-old Gothic novel aficionado Catherine Morland and family friends Mr. and Mrs. Allen as they visit Bath, England. Catherine is in Bath for the first time. There she meets her friends such as Isabella Thorpe, and goes to balls. Catherine finds herself pursued by Isabella's brother, the rather rough-mannered, slovenly John Thorpe, and by her real love interest, Henry Tilney. She also becomes friends with Eleanor Tilney, Henry's younger sister. Henry captivates her with his view on novels and his knowledge of history and the world. General Tilney (Henry and Eleanor's father) invites Catherine to visit their estate, Northanger Abbey, which, from her reading of Ann Radcliffe's gothic novel The Mysteries of Udolpho, she expects to be dark, ancient and full of Gothic horrors and fantastical mystery.

Plot summary

Seventeen year old Catherine Morland is one of ten children of a country clergyman. Although a tomboy in her childhood, by the age of 17 she is "in training for a heroine," and is excessively fond of reading Gothic novels of whichAnn Radcliffe's Mysteries of Udolpho is a favourite.
Catherine is invited by her wealthier neighbours in Fullerton, the Allens, to accompany them to visit the town of Bath and partake in the winter season of balls, theatre and other social delights. Although initially the excitement of Bath is dampened by her lack of acquaintances, she is soon introduced to a clever young gentleman named Henry Tilney, with whom she dances and converses. Much to her disappointment, Catherine does not see Mr. Tilney again soon after their first meeting, though her attention is quickly engaged when Mrs. Allen meets Mrs. Thorpe, an old school friend of hers, whose son is also acquainted with Catherine’s older brother, James. Catherine quickly becomes friends with the eldest Miss Thorpe, Isabella, a vivacious and flirtatious young woman.
Catherine’s brother James and Isabella’s brother John soon arrive in Bath. While Isabella and James are spending time together, Catherine becomes acquainted with John, a vain and crude young gentleman who incessantly tells fantastical stories about himself.
Mr. Tilney returns to Bath, accompanied by his younger sister, Eleanor Tilney, who is a sweet, elegant and respectable young lady. Catherine also meets their father, the imposing General Tilney.
The Thorpes are not very happy about Catherine's friendship with the Tilneys, as they (correctly as it happens) perceive Henry as a rival for Catherine's affections. Catherine tries to maintain her friendships with both the Thorpes and the Tilneys, though John Thorpe continually tries to sabotage her relationship with the Tilneys. This leads to several misunderstandings, which upset Catherine and put her in the awkward position of explaining herself to the Tilneys.
Isabella and James become engaged. Mr Morland (senior) approves the match and offers James a country parson's living worth a modest sum, which he will be able to have in two years. The couple must therefore wait that long to marry. Isabella is dissatisfied, having believed the Morlands to be quite wealthy, but she pretends to Catherine that she is merely dissatisfied that they must wait so long to be married. James departs to purchase a ring, and John accompanies him after coyly suggesting marriage to the confused Catherine. Isabella immediately begins to flirt with Captain Tilney, the older brother to Henry. Innocent Catherine cannot understand her friend's behavior; but Henry understands it all too well, as he knows his brother's character and habits. The flirtation continues even when James returns, much to James' embarrassment and distress.
The Tilneys invite Catherine to stay with them for a few weeks at their home, Northanger Abbey. Catherine, in accordance with her novel reading, expects the Abbey to be exotic and frightening. Henry teases her about this, as it turns out that Northanger Abbey is pleasant and decidedly un-Gothic. However, there is a mysterious suite of rooms that no one ever goes into: Catherine learns that they were Mrs. Tilney's, who died nine years earlier. Catherine decides that, since General Tilney does not now seem to be affected by the loss of his wife, he may have murdered her or even imprisoned her in her chamber.
Catherine persuades Eleanor to show her Mrs. Tilney's rooms, but General Tilney suddenly appears. Catherine flees, sure that she will be punished. Later, Catherine sneaks back to Mrs. Tilney's rooms, to discover that her overactive imagination has once again led her astray, as nothing is strange or distressing in the rooms at all. Unfortunately, Henry passes in the corridor and questions her as to what she is doing. On hearing her (reluctantly admitted) suspicions, Henry angrily informs her that his father loved his wife in his own way and was truly upset by her death. He goes on to criticize Catherine for entertaining such wild ideas. She leaves crying, fearing that she has lost Henry’s entire regard.
Realizing how foolish she had been, Catherine comes to believe that, though novels may be delightful, their content does not relate to everyday life. Henry does not stay angry with her but lets her get over her shameful thoughts and actions in her own time and does not mention them to her again.
Soon after this adventure, James writes to inform her that he has broken off his engagement with Isabella because of her flirtations with Captain Tilney. The Tilneys are shocked; and Catherine is terribly disappointed, realizing what a dishonest person Isabella is. The General goes off to London, and Eleanor becomes less inhibited and shy away from his imposing presence. In General Tilney's absence, Catherine passes several enjoyable days with Henry and Eleanor until he returns abruptly, in a temper. Eleanor tells Catherine that the family has an engagement that prevents Catherine from staying any longer and that she must go home early the next morning, in a shocking, inhospitable move that forces Catherine to undertake the seventy-mile journey alone.
At home, Catherine is listless and unhappy. Her parents, unaware of her trials of the heart, try to bring her up to her usual spirits, with little effect. Two days after she returns home, however, Henry pays a sudden unexpected visit and explains what happened. General Tilney had believed (on the misinformation of John Thorpe) her to be exceedingly rich and therefore a proper match for Henry. In London, General Tilney ran into Thorpe again, who, angry at Catherine's refusal of his half-made proposal of marriage, said instead that she was nearly destitute. Enraged, General Tilney returned home to evict Catherine. When Henry returned to Northanger from Woodston, his father informed him of what had occurred and forbade him to think of Catherine again. When Henry argued and learned how she had been treated, he breaks with his father and tells Catherine he still wants to marry her despite his father's disapproval. Catherine is delighted.
Eventually, General Tilney acquiesces, because Eleanor has become engaged to a wealthy and titled man; and he discovers that the Morlands, while not extremely rich, are far from destitute.


Catherine Morland: A 17-year-old girl who loves reading Gothic novels. Something of a tomboy in her childhood, her looks are described by the narrator as "pleasing, and, when in good looks, pretty." Catherine lacks experience and sees her life as if she were a heroine in a Gothic novel. She sees the best in people, and to begin with always seems ignorant of other people's malignant intentions. She is the devoted sister of James Morland. She is good-natured and frank and often makes insightful comments on the inconsistencies and insincerities of people around her, usually to Henry Tilney, and thus is unintentionally sarcastic and funny. She is also seen as a humble and modest character, becoming exceedingly happy when she receives the smallest compliment. Catherine's character grows throughout the novel, as she gradually becomes a real heroine, learning from her mistakes when she is exposed to the outside world in Bath. She sometimes makes the mistake of applying Gothic novels to real life situations; for example, later in the novel she begins to suspect General Tilney of having murdered his deceased wife. Catherine soon learns that Gothic novels are really just fiction and do not always correspond with reality.
James Morland: Catherine's older brother who is in school at the beginning of the story. Assumed to be of moderate wealth he becomes the love interest of Isabella Thorpe the younger sister to his friend and Catherine's admirer John Thorpe.
Henry Tilney: A well-read clergyman in his mid-20s, the younger son of the wealthy Tilney family. He is Catherine's romantic interest throughout the novel, and during the course of the plot he comes to return her feelings. He is sarcastic, intuitive, and clever, given to witticisms and light flirtations (which Catherine is not always able to understand or reciprocate in kind), but he also has a sympathetic nature (he is a good brother to Eleanor), which leads him to take a liking to Catherine's naïve straightforward sincerity.
John Thorpe: An arrogant and extremely boastful young man who certainly appears distasteful to the likes of Catherine. He is Isabella's brother and he has shown many signs of feelings towards Catherine Morland.
Isabella Thorpe: A manipulative and self-serving young woman on a quest to obtain a well-off husband; at the time, marriage was the accepted way for young women of a certain class to become "established" with a household of their own (as opposed to becoming a dependent spinster), and Isabella lacks most assets (such as wealth or family connections to bring to a marriage) that would make her a "catch" on the "marriage market". Upon her arrival in Bath she is without acquaintance, leading her to immediately form a quick friendship with Catherine Morland. Additionally, when she learns that Catherine is the sister to James Morland (whom Isabella suspects to be worth more financially than he is in reality), she goes to every length to ensure a connection between the two families.
General Tilney: A stern and rigid retired general with an obsessive nature, General Tilney is the sole surviving parent to his three children Frederick, Henry, and Eleanor.
Eleanor Tilney: Henry's sister, she plays little part in Bath, but takes on more importance in Northanger Abbey. A convenient chaperon for Catherine and Henry's times together. Obedient daughter, warm friend, sweet sister, but lonely under her father's tyranny.
Frederick Tilney: Henry's older brother (the presumed heir to the Northanger estate), an officer in the army who enjoys pursuing flirtations with pretty girls who are willing to offer him some encouragement (though without any ultimate serious intent on his part).
Mr. Allen: A kindly man, with some slight resemblance to Mr. Bennet of Pride and Prejudice.
Mrs. Allen: Somewhat vacuous, she sees everything in terms of her obsession with clothing and fashion, and has a tendency to utter repetitions of remarks made by others in place of original conversation.

Major themes

  • The intricacies and tedium of high society, particularly partner selection.
  • The conflicts of marriage for love and marriage for property.
  • Life lived as if in a Gothic novel, filled with danger and intrigue, and the obsession with all things gothic.
  • The dangers of believing life is the same as fiction.
  • The maturation of the young into skeptical adulthood, the loss of imagination, innocence and good faith.
  • Things are not what they seem at first.
  • Social criticism (comedy of manners).
  • Parody of the gothic novels' "gothic and anti-gothic" attitudes.
In addition, Catherine Morland realises she is not to rely upon others, such as Isabella, who are negatively influential on her, but to be single minded and independent. It is only through bad experiences that Catherine really begins to properly mature and grow up.

Allusions/references to other works

Several Gothic novels are mentioned in the book, including most importantly The Mysteries of Udolpho and The Italian by Ann Radcliffe. Austen also satirizes Clermont, a Gothic novel by Regina Maria Roche. This last is included in a list of seven somewhat obscure Gothic works, known as the 'Northanger horrid novels' as recommended by Isabella Thorpe to Catherine Morland:
“Dear creature! how much I am obliged to you; and when you have finished Udolpho, we will read The Italian together; and I have made out a list of ten or twelve more of the same kind for you.”[1]“Have you, indeed! How glad I am! — What are they all?”“I will read you their names directly; here they are, in my pocket-book. Castle of WolfenbachClermontMysterious WarningsNecromancer of the Black ForestMidnight BellOrphan of the Rhine, and Horrid Mysteries. Those will last us some time.”“Yes, pretty well; but are they all horrid, are you sure they are all horrid?”“Yes, quite sure; for a particular friend of mine, a Miss Andrews, a sweet girl, one of the sweetest creatures in the world, has read every one of them...”
Though these lurid titles were assumed by some to be Austen's own invention, Montague Summers and Michael Sadleir discovered that they really did exist[2] and have since been republished. Jane Austen, who referred to Fanny Burney as "the first of English novelists," in Northanger Abbey refers to her inspiring novels: “'And what are you reading, Miss — ?' 'Oh! It is only a novel!' replies the young lady, while she lays down her book with affected indifference, or momentary shame. 'It is only Cecilia, or Camilla, or Belinda'; or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best–chosen language."[3]
Later on, a character who knows little about literature and has just stated that the only recent novel he likes is The Monk (an over-the-top tale of lurid Gothic horror), the rest being "stupid," says: "...'I was thinking of that other stupid book, written by that woman they make such a fuss about, she who married the French emigrant.' 'I suppose you mean Camilla? 'Yes, that's the book; such unnatural stuff!... it is the horridest nonsense you can imagine; there's nothing in the world in it but an old man's playing at see-saw and learning Latin...' This critique, the justness of which was unfortunately lost on poor Catherine, brought them to the door of Mrs. Thorpe's lodgings."[4]

Literary significance and relationship

Northanger Abbey is fundamentally a parody of Gothic fiction. Austen turns the conventions of eighteenth-century novels on their head, by making her heroine a plain and undistinguished girl from a middle-class family, allowing the heroine to fall in love with the hero before he has a serious thought of her, and exposing the heroine's romantic fears and curiosities as groundless. Austen biographer Claire Tomalin speculates that Austen may have begun this book, which is more explicitly comic than her other works and contains many literary allusions that her parents and siblings would have enjoyed, as a family entertainment—a piece of lighthearted parody to be read aloud by the fireside.[5]
Northanger Abbey exposes the difference between reality and fantasy and questions who can be trusted as a true companion and who might actually be a shallow, false friend. It is considered to be the most light-hearted of her novels.
A passage from the novel appears as the preface of Ian McEwan's Atonement, thus likening the naive mistakes of Austen's Catherine Morland to those of his own character Briony Tallis, who is in a similar position: both characters have very over-active imaginations, which lead to misconceptions that cause distress in the lives of people around them. Both treat their own lives like those of heroines in fantastical works of fiction, with Miss Morland likening herself to a character in a Gothic novel and young Briony Tallis writing her own melodramatic stories and plays with central characters such as "spontaneous Arabella" based on herself.

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Emily Brontë - W U T H E R I N G - H E I G H T S / Tuesday, 26 July 2011 at 13:14

Wuthering Heights is the only novel by Emily Brontë. Written between December 1845 to July 1846, it was initially rejected for publication until first being published in December 1847 under the pseudonym Ellis Bell, and a posthumous second edition was edited by her sister Charlotte.
The name of the novel comes from the Yorkshire manor on the moors on which the story centres (as an adjective; wuthering is a Yorkshire word referring to turbulent weather). The narrative tells the tale of the all-encompassing and passionate, yet thwarted, love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, and how this unresolved passion eventually destroys them and many around them.
Now considered a classic of English literature, Wuthering Heights met with mixed reviews by critics when it first appeared, mainly because of the narrative's stark depiction of mental and physical cruelty.[1][2] Although Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre was generally considered the best of the Brontë sisters' works during most of the nineteenth century, many subsequent critics of Wuthering Heights argued that it was a superior achievement.[3] Wuthering Heightshas also given rise to many adaptations and inspired works, including films, radio, television dramatisations, a musical by Bernard J. Taylor, a ballet, three operas (respectively by Bernard Herrmann, Carlisle Floyd, and Frédéric Chaslin), a role-playing game, and a song by Kate Bush.


Prologue (chapters 1 to 3): Mr. Lockwood, a rich man from the south, has rented Thrushcross Grange in the north of England for peace and recuperation. Soon after his arrival, he visits his landlord, Mr. Heathcliff, who lives in the remote moorland farmhouse called "Wuthering Heights". He finds the inhabitants of Wuthering Heights to be a strange group: Mr. Heathcliff appears a gentleman but his mannerisms suggest otherwise; a reserved mistress of the house is in her mid teens; and a young man appears to be one of the family, although he dresses and talks like a servant.

Being snowed in, Mr. Lockwood stays the night and is shown to an unused chamber, where he finds books and graffiti from a former inhabitant of the farmhouse named Catherine. When he falls asleep, he has a nightmare in which he sees Catherine as a ghost trying to enter through the window. He wakes and is unable to return to sleep. As soon as the sun rises, he is escorted back to Thrushcross Grange by Heathcliff. There, he asks his housekeeper, Ellen Dean, to tell him the story of the family from the Heights.
The Childhood of Heathcliff (chapters 4 to 17): Thirty years prior, the Earnshaw family lives at Wuthering Heights. The children of the family are the teenaged Hindley and his younger sister, Catherine. Mr. Earnshaw travels toLiverpool, where he finds a homeless gypsy boy whom he decides to adopt, naming him "Heathcliff". Hindley finds himself robbed of his father's affections and becomes bitterly jealous of Heathcliff. However, Catherine grows very attached to him. Soon, the two children spend hours on the moors together and hate every moment apart.

Because of the domestic discord caused by Hindley and Heathcliff's sibling rivalry, Hindley is eventually sent to college. However, he marries a woman named Frances and returns three years later, after Mr. Earnshaw dies. He becomes master of Wuthering Heights, and forces Heathcliff to become a servant instead of a member of the family.

Several months after Hindley's return, Heathcliff and Catherine travel to Thrushcross Grange to spy on the Linton family. However, they are spotted and try to escape. Catherine, having been caught by a dog, is brought inside the Grange to have injuries tended to while Heathcliff is sent home. Catherine eventually returns to Wuthering Heights as a changed woman, looking and acting as a lady. She laughs at Heathcliff's unkempt appearance. When the Lintons visit the next day, Heathcliff dresses up to impress her. It fails when Edgar, one of the Linton children, argues with him. Heathcliff is locked in the attic, where Catherine later tries to comfort him. He swears vengeance on Hindley.

In the summer of the next year, Frances gives birth to a son, Hareton, but she dies before the year is out. This leads Hindley to descend into a life of drunkenness and waste.
Two years later and Catherine has become close friends with Edgar, growing more distant from Heathcliff. One day in August, while Hindley is absent, Edgar comes to visit Catherine. She has an argument with Ellen, which then spreads to Edgar who tries to leave. Catherine stops him and, before long, they declare themselves lovers.

Later, Catherine talks with Ellen, explaining that Edgar had asked her to marry him and she had accepted. She says that she does not really love Edgar but Heathcliff. Unfortunately she could never marry Heathcliff because of his lack of status and education. She therefore plans to marry Edgar and use that position to help raise Heathcliff's standing. Unfortunately, Heathcliff had overheard the first part about not being able to marry him and runs away, disappearing without a trace. After three years, Edgar and Catherine are married.
Six months after the marriage, Heathcliff returns as a gentleman, having grown stronger and richer during his absence. Catherine is delighted to see him although Edgar is not so keen. Edgar's sister, Isabella, now eighteen, falls in love with Heathcliff, seeing him as a romantic hero. He despises her but encourages the infatuation, seeing it as a chance for revenge on Edgar. When he embraces Isabella one day at the Grange, there is an argument with Edgar which causes Catherine to lock herself in her room and fall ill.
Heathcliff has been staying at the Heights, gambling with Hindley and teaching Hareton bad habits. Hindley is gradually losing his wealth, mortgaging the farmhouse to Heathcliff to repay his debts.

While Catherine is ill, Heathcliff elopes with Isabella, causing Edgar to disown his sister. The fugitives marry and return two months later to Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff hears that Catherine is ill and arranges with Ellen to visit her in secret. In the early hours of the day after their meeting, Catherine gives birth to her daughter, Cathy, and then dies.
The day after Catherine's funeral, Isabella flees Heathcliff and escapes to the south of England where she eventually gives birth to Linton, Heathcliff's son. Hindley dies six months after Catherine. Heathcliff finds himself the master of Wuthering Heights and the guardian of Hareton.

Bronte Society plaque at Top Withens

The Maturity of Heathcliff (chapters 18 to 31) Twelve years later, Cathy has grown into a beautiful, high-spirited girl who has rarely passed outside the borders of the Grange. Edgar hears that Isabella is dying and leaves to pick up her son with the intention of adopting him. While he is gone, Cathy meets Hareton on the moors and learns of her cousin and Wuthering Heights' existence.
Edgar returns with Linton who is a weak and sickly boy. Although Cathy is attracted to him, Heathcliff wants his son with him and insists on having him taken to the Heights.
Three years later, Ellen and Cathy are on the moors when they meet Heathcliff who takes them to Wuthering Heights to see Linton and Hareton. His plans are for Linton and Cathy to marry so that he will inherit Thrushcross Grange. Cathy and Linton begin a secret friendship.
In August of the next year, while Edgar is very ill, Ellen and Cathy visit Wuthering Heights and are held captive by Heathcliff who wants to marry his son to Cathy and, at the same time, prevent her from returning to her father before he dies. After five days, Ellen is released and Cathy escapes with Linton's help just in time to see her father before he dies.
With Heathcliff now the master of both Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange, Cathy has no choice but to leave Ellen and to go and live with Heathcliff and Hareton. Linton dies soon afterwards and, although Hareton tries to be kind to her, she retreats into herself. This is the point of the story at which Lockwood arrives.
After being ill with a cold for some time, Lockwood decides that he has had enough of the moors and travels to Wuthering Heights to inform Heathcliff that he is returning to the south.
Epilogue (chapters 32 to 34) In September, eight months after leaving, Lockwood finds himself back in the area and decides to stay at Thrushcross Grange (since his tenancy is still valid until October). He finds that Ellen is now living at Wuthering Heights. He makes his way there and she fills in the rest of the story.
Ellen had moved to the Heights soon after Lockwood left to replace the housekeeper who had departed. In March, Hareton had an accident and has been confined to the farmhouse. During this time, a friendship developed between Cathy and Hareton. This continues into April when Heathcliff begins to act very strangely, seeing visions of Catherine. After not eating for four days, he is found dead in his room. He is buried next to Catherine. Lockwood visits their graves.
Lockwood departs but, before he leaves, he hears that Hareton and Cathy plan to marry on New Year's Day.


  • Heathcliff: Found, and presumably orphaned, on the streets of Liverpool, he is taken to Wuthering Heights by Mr. Earnshaw and reluctantly cared for by the rest of the family. He and Catherine later grow close, and their love becomes the central theme of the first volume; his revenge and its consequences are the main theme of the second volume. Heathcliff is typically considered a Byronic hero, but critics have found his character, with a capacity for self-invention, to be profoundly difficult to assess. His position in society, without status (Heathcliff serves as both his given name and surname), is often the subject of Marxist criticism.[4]
  • Catherine Earnshaw: First introduced in Lockwood's discovery of her diary and etchings, Catherine's life is almost entirely detailed in the first volume. She seemingly suffers from a crisis of identity, unable to choose between nature and culture (and, by extension, Heathcliff and Edgar). Her decision to marry Edgar Linton over Heathcliff has been seen as a surrender to culture, and has implications for all the characters of Wuthering Heights. The character of Catherine has been analysed by many forms of literary criticism, including: psychoanalytic and feminist.[5]
  • Edgar Linton: Introduced as a child of the Linton family, who resides at Thrushcross Grange, Edgar's life and mannerisms are immediately contrasted with those of Heathcliff and Catherine, and indeed the former dislikes him. Yet, owing much to his status, Catherine marries him and not Heathcliff. This decision, and the differences between Edgar and Heathcliff, have been read into by feminist criticisms.
  • Ellen (Nelly) Dean: The second and primary narrator of the novel, Nelly has been a servant of each generation of both the Earnshaw and Linton families. She is presented as a character who straddles the idea of a 'culture versus nature' divide in the novel: she is a local of the area and a servant, and has experienced life at Wuthering Heights. However, she is also an educated woman and has lived at Thrushcross Grange. This idea is represented in her having two names, Ellen—her given name and used to show respect, and Nelly—used by her familiars. Whether Nelly is an unbiased narrator and how far her actions, as an apparent bystander, affect the other characters are two points of her character discussed by critics.[6]
  • Isabella Linton: Introduced as part of the Linton family, Isabella is only ever shown in relation to other characters. She views Heathcliff as a romantic hero, despite Catherine's warning her against such a view, and becomes an unwitting participant in his plot for revenge. After being married to Heathcliff and abused at Wuthering Heights, she escapes to London and gives birth to Linton. Such abusive treatment has led many, especially feminist critics, to consider Isabella the true/conventional 'tragic romantic' figure of Wuthering Heights.
  • Hindley Earnshaw: Catherine's brother who marries Frances, an unknown woman to the family, and only reveals this when Mr. Earnshaw dies. He spirals into destructive behaviour after her death and ruins the Earnshaw family with his drinking and gambling.
  • Hareton Earnshaw: The son of Hindley and Frances, initially raised by Nelly but passed over to in effect Joseph and Heathcliff. The former works to instill a sense of pride in Earnshaw heritage, even though Hareton has no right to the property associated with it. The latter strives to teach him all sorts of vulgarities as a way of avenging himself on Hareton's father, Hindley. Hareton speaks with a similar accent to Joseph and works as a servant in Wuthering Heights, unaware of his true rights. His appearance regularly reminds Heathcliff of Catherine.
  • Cathy Linton: The daughter of Catherine Earnshaw and Edgar Linton, she is a spirited girl, though unaware of her parents' history. Edgar is very protective of her and as a result she is constantly looking beyond the confines of the Grange.
  • Linton Heathcliff: The son of Heathcliff and Isabella, he is a very weak child and his character resembles Heathcliff's, though without its only redeeming feature: love. He marries Cathy Linton, but only under the direction of his father, whom he discovers only as he enters his teens.
  • Joseph: A servant at Wuthering Heights who is a devout Christian. He speaks with a very thick Yorkshire accent.
  • Lockwood: The narrator of the book, he comes to rent Thrushcross Grange from Heathcliff to escape society but finally decides he prefers company rather than ending up as Heathcliff.
  • Frances: A generally amiable character, her marriage to Hindley is unrevealed until Mr Earnshaw dies.
  • Kenneth: A doctor in the nearby village of Gimmerton.
  • Zillah: A servant to Heathcliff at Wuthering Heights in the time after Catherine's death.
  • black line: son or daughter of; if dotted it means adoption
  • red line: wedding; if double it means second wedding
  • pink line: love
  • blue line: affection
  • green line: hate
  • light yellow area: active heroes
  • violet area: external observers

1500 The stone above the front door of Wuthering Heights, bearing the name of Hareton Earnshaw, is  inscribed, possibly to mark the completion of the house.
1757 Hindley Earnshaw born (summer); Nelly Dean born
 Edgar Linton born
1765 Catherine Earnshaw born (summer); Isabella Linton born (late 1765)
1771 Heathcliff brought to Wuthering Heights by Mr Earnshaw (late summer)
1773 Mrs Earnshaw dies (spring)
1774 Hindley sent off to college
1777 Hindley marries Frances; Mr Earnshaw dies and Hindley comes back (October); Heathcliff and Catherine visit Thrushcross Grange for the first time; Catherine remains behind (November), and then returns to Wuthering Heights (Christmas Eve)
1778 Hareton born (June); Frances dies
1780 Heathcliff runs away from Wuthering Heights; Mr and Mrs Linton both die
1783 Catherine has married Edgar (March); Heathcliff comes back (September)
1784 Heathcliff marries Isabella (February); Catherine dies and Cathy born (20 March); Hindley dies; Linton born (September)
1797 Isabella dies; Cathy visits Wuthering Heights and meets Hareton; Linton brought to Thrushcross Grange and then taken to Wuthering Heights
1800 Cathy meets Heathcliff and sees Linton again (20 March)
1801 Cathy and Linton are married (August); Edgar dies (August); Linton dies (September); Mr Lockwood goes to Thrushcross Grange and visits Wuthering Heights, beginning his narrative
1802 Mr Lockwood goes back to London (January); Heathcliff dies (April); Mr Lockwood comes back to Thrushcross Grange (September)
1803 Cathy plans to marry Hareton (1 January)

Development history

There are several theories as to which building was the inspiration for Wuthering Heights. One is Top Withens, a ruined farmhouse, that is located in an isolated area near the Haworth Parsonage. Yet, its structure does not match that of the farmhouse described in the novel, and is therefore considered less likely to be the model.[7] Top Withens was first suggested as the model for the fictitious farmhouse by Ellen Nussey, a friend of Charlotte Brontë's, to Edward Morison Wimperis, a commissioned artist for the Brontë sisters' novels in 1872.[8]
The second option is the now demolished High Sunderland Hall, near Halifax, West Yorkshire.[7] This Gothic edifice is located near Law Hill, and was where Emily worked briefly as a governess in 1838. While very grand for the farmhouse of Wuthering Heights, the hall had grotesque embellishments of griffins and misshapen nude men similar to those described by Lockwood of Wuthering Heights in chapter one of the novel:
"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'".
The inspiration for Thrushcross Grange has been traditionally connected to Ponden Hall, near Haworth, although very small. More likely is Shibden Hall, near Halifax.

Critical response

Early reviews
Early reviews of Wuthering Heights were mixed in their assessment. Whilst most critics recognised the power and imagination of the novel, many found the story unlikeable and ambiguous.[note 1] Released in 1847, at a time when the background of the author was deemed to have an important impact on the story itself, many critics were also intrigued by the authorship of the novels.[note 2] H. F. Chorley of the Athenaeum said that it was a "disagreeable story" and that the 'Bells' (Brontës) "seem to affect painful and exceptional subjects". The Atlas review called it a "strange, inartistic story", but commented that every chapter seems to contain a "sort of rugged power". It supported the second point made in the Athenaeum, suggesting that the general effect of the novel was "inexpressibly painful", but adding that all of its subjects were either "utterly hateful or thoroughly contemptible".
The Douglas Jerrold's Weekly Newspaper critique was more positive, emphasizing the "great power" of the novel and its provocative qualities; it said that it was a "strange sort of book—baffling all regular criticism" and that "[it is] impossible to lay it aside afterwards and say nothing about it". Although the Examiner agreed on the strangeness, it saw the book as "wild, confused; disjointed and improbable". The Britannia review mirrored those comments made on the unpleasant characters, arguing that it would have been a "far better romance" if the characters were not "nearly as violent and destructive as [Heathcliff]". The unidentified review was less critical, considering it a "work of great ability" and that "it is not every day that so good a novel makes its appearance".

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