Wuthering Heights is a novel that has cemented its legacy as one of the most discussed, revered, and profoundly influential pieces of English literature of all time. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the book is that it is the sole novel written and published by Emily Bronte before her untimely death at the age of thirty. Yet, with her birthday just around the corner, it's only right to celebrate something she achieved in half a lifetime that most of us could only dream of in one hundred - changing the world of literature.
Kate Stanley Brennan and Tom Canton as Catherine and Heathcliff in rehearsal for Wuthering Heights. Photograph by Daragh McDonagh.
It has been almost two centuries since the publication of Wuthering Heights, and it remains as significant now as it was on the day that it was first published. From countless adaptations, to being taught in schools across England, it's even more impressive that the book made such a name for itself during the Victorian Era - a highly repressive time for women, especially those wanting to make a name for themselves with a career.
This is reflected in the story of Wuthering Heights itself, and the manner in which it challenges the social norms and conventions of its era truly shows just how ahead of its time it really was. By pointing out the hypocrisy that comes with gender inequality, the lack of morality that encompasses class-related social division, Emily Bronte's novel has remained study-worthy as the centuries have passed by. The social issues challenged in Wuthering Heights still need challenging today, making this novel the very definition of timeless art.
Charlotte Riley and Tom Hardy in the 2009 miniseries of Wuthering Heights.
An aspect of this novel which only compliments its gritty, grim atmosphere is the gothic setting, which has surely contributed to the adaptability of Wuthering Heights for all kinds of mediums. With the earliest known adaption being a now-lost film from 1920, and with films, plays, TV adaptations, and even songs still being produced in the 21st century, it's clear that this work of gothic fiction continues to receive the credit that it deserves. Fortunately, it's a genre that never gets old.
Ultimately, with only a single book, we still have so much to thank Emily Bronte for in regard to her contributions to the world of literature. It's fair to say we will never see her like again.
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