Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë Romance Fiction Audio Book Online

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë Romance Fiction Audio Book Online

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte Audio Book

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë Romance Fiction Audio Book Online

Wuthering Heights is Emily Brontë’s first and only published novel, written between October 1845 and June 1846, and published in 1847 under the pseudonym Ellis Bell; Brontë died the following year, aged 30. The decision to publish came after the success of her sister Charlotte’s novel, Jane Eyre. After Emily’s death, Charlotte edited the manuscript of Wuthering Heights, and arranged for the edited version to be published as a posthumous second edition in 1850.

Wuthering Heights is the name of the farmhouse where the story unfolds. The book’s core theme is the destructive effect of jealousy and vengefulness both on the jealous or vengeful individuals and on their communities.

Although Wuthering Heights is now widely regarded as a classic of English literature, it received mixed reviews when first published, and was considered controversial because its depiction of mental and physical cruelty was unusually stark, and it challenged strict Victorian ideals of the day, including religious hypocrisy, morality, social classes and gender inequality. The English poet and painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti referred to it as “A fiend of a book – an incredible monster … The action is laid in hell, – only it seems places and people have English names there.”

In the second half of the 19th century, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre was considered the best of the Brontë sisters’ works, but following later re-evaluation, critics began to argue Wuthering Heights was superior. The book has inspired adaptations, including film, radio and television dramatisations, a musical by Bernard J. Taylor, a ballet, operas (by Bernard Herrmann, Carlisle Floyd, and Frédéric Chaslin), a role-playing game,and a 1978 song by Kate Bush.

Reviews of Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte Audio Book

I’ve been meaning to listen this audio book since forever. Wuthering Heights may not be the first Gothic novel, but it’s definitely one of the most famous. From what I knew of the audio book, I always assumed that I would like it a lot – what’s not to like about a brooding hero, doomed love, and copious helpings of sturm und drang?

I’m wondering if I waited too late to listen this audio book, though. The fact is, I’m not the same listener I was fifteen years ago, or even ten years ago. Oh sure, I still love angst, but I have little patience with characters who suffer endlessly for no good reason. Okay, maybe Heathcliff has some reasons for being angry and bitter, but still, he goes way (way) overboard. Cathy, on the other hand, is just a nasty brat.

But I’m getting ahead of myself…

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Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte Audio BookWuthering Heights begins with a framing story: a Mr. Lockwood has rented a home called Thrushcross Grange in a remote area of Yorkshire, amidst many storm-tossed, evocative moors. He pays a visit to Heathcliff, his landlord, at Heathcliff’s home, the Wuthering Heights of the title. Lockwood considers himself to be a bit anti-social, but he is nonetheless put off by the odd, abrupt and rough manners of the residents of Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff is rude, angry and sarcastic, Heathcliff’s young widowed daughter-in-law is similarly ill-mannered and unwelcoming, and then there is a mostly silent young man who is not clearly identifiable as either family or servant. Lockwood ends up forced to stay the night among this unhospitable company when the weather turns particularly bad, and he finds himself dreaming (or is he?) of a ghost trying to get in the window of his room. She identifies herself as Catherine Linton and begs to be let in, claiming to have been lost on the moor. The name Catherine Linton is significant, maybe, in that Lockwood is aware from writings that he’d found in the bedroom before he went to sleep that the room had once been inhabited by a Catherine Earnshaw.

When Lockwood returns to Thrushcross Grange the next day, he gets the story of the Earnshaws and Heathcliff from his housekeeper, Ellen, who just so happens to have once worked at Wuthering Heights. At the time thatstory begins, the family consists of Mr. and Mrs. Earnshaw and their children Hindley and Catherine. Mr. Earnshaw returns from a trip with a wild “gypsy-looking” boy he found on a street corner; he christens the child Heathcliff, and sets him up as his favorite, above his two biological children. A lot of suffering could have been averted if he’d just gotten a cat, instead.

I think I’ll just try to summarize the rest of the plot in a paragraph; it’ll be spoilery so skip it if you’ve been planning on listening Wuthering Heights for the past 150 years and just haven’t gotten around to it. (Apologies for the forthcoming copious use of the word “asshole” – I assure you it’s necessary.)

So, Heathcliff and Cathy become fast friends; Hindley hates Heathcliff. When Earnshaw dies, Hindley sees his chance to revenge himself on his rival by forcing him to be a servant. La, la, la – Heathcliff and Cathy still have each other, so they are happy, roaming the moors and behaving like little heathens. On one of their jaunts, Cathy is injured and ends up convalescing at Thrushcross Grange, the home of the rather more civilized Linton family. Cathy subsequently acquires Airs. Heathcliff broods. Cathy is bitchy. Heathcliff goes away and Cathy marries the son of the Linton family, who has an advantage over Heathcliff in that he’s not psychotic. Heathcliff comes back and is mad; he broods some more and then seduces Isabella, Linton’s sister, because he’s an asshole. Cathy has some sort of fit and then abruptedly gives birth to a daughter (also called Catherine; oh, that’s not going to be confusing later!). I hadn’t even realized she was pregnant. Damn impenetrable 19th century writing! Anyway, Heathcliff and Cathy loooove each other, because they are both assholes and how anyone else can stand either of them, I’m sure I don’t know. But Cathy is dying! Why? How? I don’t know. I guess it’s the baby. Anyway, Cathy dies. Heathcliff broods. Linton is sad, too, but he manages not to be an asshole about it. Oh, while all this is going on, Hindley has married, had a son – Hareton – been widowed and become dissolute. Heathcliff has gained revenge on Hindley by winning Wuthering Heights in a game of poker or Go Fish or something, and when he’s not brooding over that dead asshole Cathy, he is tormenting Hindley, or tormenting poor Isabella, or trying to shape Hareton into Heathcliff 2: Electric Boogaloo, because Heathcliff is all revenge, all the time, when he’s not about the brooding. So then Isabella is finally like, I’m out of here, and goes to live somewhere else and has Heathcliff’s son (my suggestion: kill it with fire; seriously, he ends up almost as much of an asshole as his dad, and 100 times whinier. Though on the plus side, not as brooding). Then Isabella dies. So we have widower Mr. Linton living with his daughter Cathy at Thrushcross Grange and widower Heathcliff living with his mini-me at Wuthering Heights, brooding and being an asshole and plotting Terrible Things. Then Isabella and Heathcliff’s son Linton comes to live at Wuthering Heights. (Linton? Linton! Are you just toying with me, Bronte? Do you realize how hard it is to keep these people straight as it is?)

Okay, never mind the one-paragraph thing. That was getting too way too dense. I’m going to try for even more brevity: Linton is a sniveling whiny asshole. Heathcliff is terribly abusive to him. Heathcliff manipulates Linton and Cathy 2.0 into getting together, and then forces them to marry – his aim being getting his hands on Thrushcross Grange. Linton conveniently dies (the body count in this book is starting to resemble that of a Shakespeare play, though with more natural deaths, I guess). Cathy 2.0 hates Heathcliff. Heathcliff doesn’t care. Cathy 2.0 torments Hareton in much the way that Cathy the Original tormented Heathcliff; this is gonna end well (spoiler within a spoiler!: it actually does! This audio book is INSANE!).

Heathcliff comes to learn a Very Important Lesson, about how revenge is wrong and all. I mean, I guess. He kind of repents before he, too, goes to that Great Moor in the Sky. But it’s a little too little, a little too late, IMO. I mean, he was crazy and sadistic and did I mention CRAZY for the great majority of the book (I don’t think I even mentioned him digging up Cathy 1.0’s corpse at one point…), so really, just being rid of him is its own reward. The bonus is with all of the horrible people of Wuthering Heights now dead (except for Joseph, the creepy caretaker, but no one seems to pay much attention to him), Cathy 2.0 and Hareton aka Heathcliff 2.0 are able to live more or less happily ever after (I KNOW! WTF, right?). Though I still find myself hoping they don’t reproduce.

I have no idea how to grade this clusterfuck of a classic. There were points where I was all “F, baby”, but it’s really not an F book or even a D book; it’s definitely not a C book (I associate a C grade too strongly with “average”, andWuthering Heights is anything but average). I think I will give it a B-, but that grade does not fully reflect how utterly confused my feelings about this book are.

In summary, Charlotte was obviously the more normal Bronte sister. I’m not sure I even want to try Agnes Grey, at this point. Though I can’t imagine Anne was any loopier than Emily.

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Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë Romance Fiction Audio Book Online
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2 Comments

  • If you think that spitefulness is romantic book, and that people destroying their lives is dramatic, go ahead and listen this audio book. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

  • This is my favourite audio book. I do not say that lightly, I’ve listen a lot from all different genres and time periods, but this is my favourite book. Of all time. Ever. The ladies over at The Readventurer kindly allowed me to get my feelings of utter adoration for Wuthering Heights off my chest in their “Year of the Classics” feature, but I now realise it’s time I posted a little something in this blank review space. I mean, come on, it’s my favourite audio book so it deserves better than empty nothingness.

    So, what do I love so much about Wuthering Heights? Everything. Okay, maybe not, that wouldn’t really be saying it strongly enough.

    What I love about this novel is the setting, the wilderness. This is not a story about niceties and upper class propriety, this is the tale of people who aren’t so socially acceptable, who live away from the strict rules of civilization – it’s almost as if they’re not quite from the world we know. The isolation of the setting out on the Yorkshire moors between the fictional dwellings of The Heights and Thrushcross Grange emphasises how far removed these characters are from social norms, how unconventional they are, and how lonely they are.

    This is a novel for listeners who can appreciate unlikeable characters, listeners who don’t have to like someone to achieve a certain level of understanding them and their circumstances. People are not born evil… so what makes them that way? What torments a man so much that he refuses to believe he has any worth? What kind of person digs up the grave of their loved one so they can see them once again? Heathcliff was not created to be liked or to earn your forgiveness, Emily Brontë simply tells his story from the abusive and unloved childhood he endured, to his obsession with the only person alive who showed him any real kindness, to his adulthood as an angry, violent man who beats his wife and imprisons the younger Cathy in order to make her marry his son.

    It would be so easy to hate Heathcliff, and I don’t feel that he is some dark, sexy hero like others often do. But I appreciate what Emily Brontë attempts to teach us about the cycle of violence and aggression. Heathcliff eventually becomes little more than the man he hates, by being brought up with beatings and anger he in turn unleashes it on everyone else. And Cathy is no delicate flower either. What hope did Heathcliff have when the only person he ever loved was a selfish, vindictive, little wretch? But I love Emily Brontë for creating such imperfect, screwed-up characters.

    This is a dark novel that deals with some very complicated individuals, but I think in the end we are offered the possibility of peace and happiness through Cathy (younger) and Hareton’s relationship, and the suggestion that Cathy (older) and Heathcliff were reunited in the afterlife. I had an English teacher in high school that said Cathy and Heathcliff’s personalities and their relationship were too much for this world and that peace was only possible for them in the next. I have no idea if this was something Ms Bronte intended, but the romantic in me likes to imagine that it’s true.

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