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Wuthering Heights
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About the Author

Emily Jane Bronte was the most solitary member of a unique, tightly-knit, English provincial family. Born in 1818, she shared the parsonage of the town of Haworth, Yorkshire, with her older sister, Charlotte, her brother, Branwell, her younger sister, Anne, and her father, The Reverend Patrick Bronte. All five were poets and writers; all but Branwell would publish at least one book.

Fantasy was the Bronte children's one relief from the rigors of religion and the bleakness of life in an impoverished region. They invented a series of imaginary kingdoms and constructed a whole library of journals, stories, poems, and plays around their inhabitants. Emily's special province was a kingdom she called Gondal, whose romantic heroes and exiles owed much to the poems of Byron. Brief stays at several boarding schools were the sum of her experiences outside Haworth until 1842, when she entered a school in Brussels with her sister Charlotte. After a year of study and teaching there, they felt qualified to announce the opening of a school in their own home, but could not attract a single pupil. In 1845 Charlotte Bronte came across a manuscript volume of her sister's poems. She knew at once, she later wrote, that they were "not at all like poetry women generally write...they had a peculiar music-wild, melancholy, and elevating." At her sister's urging, Emily's poems, along with Anne's and Charlotte's, were published pseudonymously in 1846. An almost complete silence greeted this volume, but the three sisters, buoyed by the fact of publication, immediately began to write novels. Emily's effort was Wuthering Heights; appearing in 1847 it was treated at first as a lesser work by Charlotte, whose Jane Eyre had already been published to great acclaim. Emily Bronte's name did not emerge from behind her pseudonym of Ellis Bell until the second edition of her novel appeared in 1850. In the meantime, tragedy had struck the Bronte family. In September of 1848 Branwell had succumbed to a life of dissipation. By December, after a brief illness, Emily too was dead; her sister Anne would die the next year. Wuthering Heights, Emily's only novel, was just beginning to be understood as the wild and singular work of genius that it is. "Stronger than a man," wrote Charlotte, "Simpler than a child, her nature stood alone."

Reviews

Gr 7 Up-This audio version of Emily Bronte's classic is narrated by Ann Flosnik. Initially, her narration makes it difficult to distinguish between characters, but as the tale progresses, her vocal characterizations become more dramatic and unique for each character, drawing listeners deeper and deeper into this dark and brooding love story. The first disk of the set also contains a PDF ebook of the full text of the novel which can be downloaded. Some students will want to read along with the narrated version, while others can use the ebook as a reference tool for class assignments. A nice addition to classic literature collections and a good way to enhance the English curriculum.-Anita Lawson, Otsego High School, Otsego, MI Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"It is as if Emily Bronte could tear up all that we know human beings by, and fill these unrecognizable transparencies with such a gust of life that they
transcend reality."
--Virginia Woolf

This splendid remake of Emily Bronte's novel shows it's possible to create a new version of a beloved classic that, while different from its predecessor, is equally compelling. Film buffs might think no one can come close to Laurence Olivier's masterful portrayal of Heathcliff, Bronte's brooding antihero. But they and audiences new to the story on film will be thrilled by Tom Hardy's brilliant interpretation as well as equally fine performances from the other talented cast members. The tale of the mysterious gypsy boy adopted by the Earnshaws, his abuse by his adoptive brother, Hindley (Burn Gorman), his profound love for his adoptive sister, Cathy (Charlotte Riley), and the revenge he wreaks on his tormentors unfolds amid beautifully filmed landscapes of the English moors. Even familiarity with the story won't detract from the film's dramatic impact. This entertaining and very reasonably priced program is highly recommended for all fans of literature and classic film.-Sheila S. Intner, Prof. Emerita, Simmons GSLIS at Mount Holyoke Coll., South Hadley, MA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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