Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-544b6db54f-zts5g Total loading time: 0.356 Render date: 2021-10-21T05:31:08.776Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

11 - Emily Brontë

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 March 2010

Adrian Poole
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
Get access

Summary

'Wuthering Heights stands alone as a monument of intensity owing nothing to tradition, nothing to the achievement of earlier writers. It was a thing apart, passionate, unforgettable, haunting in its grimness.' Thus the eleventh edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica, published in 1911. The sense that Emily Brontë's one surviving novel is quite unlike any other has been a persistent one. (She is the only writer in this volume with just one work of fiction to her name.) 'A kind of “sport”', F. R. Leavis famously called it. 'In an age in which the realist novel seems both to come out of and to return to the ordinary life external to it, Wuthering Heights on the contrary represents something separate in itself, with its own geography, biology, and virtually untranslatable mythology', writes Philip Davis, in his volume on the Victorians for the Oxford English Literary History (2002). Even those closest to Emily Brontë seem to have shared this sense. In her Preface to the second, posthumous edition of the novel, Charlotte Brontë set out to defend it to a reading public that she feared would find it a 'rude and strange production' by giving some account of the author's life and also of 'the locality where the scenes of the story are laid'. But in the end she offered less an explanation than a powerful contribution to the myth of Emily Brontë as an inscrutable genius whose extraordinary achievement was more baffling than intelligible. In the two final paragraphs of that Preface, reprinted in all subsequent editions, she developed an image that was to influence generations of readers, of Wuthering Heights as 'wrought . . . from no model', 'colossal, dark, and frowning, half statue, half rock' (370-1) - more like a natural object than accomplished work of art.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2009

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

  • Emily Brontë
  • Edited by Adrian Poole, University of Cambridge
  • Book: The Cambridge Companion to English Novelists
  • Online publication: 28 March 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL9780521871198.012
Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

  • Emily Brontë
  • Edited by Adrian Poole, University of Cambridge
  • Book: The Cambridge Companion to English Novelists
  • Online publication: 28 March 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL9780521871198.012
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Emily Brontë
  • Edited by Adrian Poole, University of Cambridge
  • Book: The Cambridge Companion to English Novelists
  • Online publication: 28 March 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL9780521871198.012
Available formats
×