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Module 1: Byronic Hero and Ghostly Women

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Byronic Hero and Ghostly Women – Lesson Summary

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Emliy Bronte
Emily was the fifth of the six children of Patrick Brontë, Irish-born perpetual curate of the remote Yorkshire moorland parish of Haworth.

Emily’s work first appeared in print when, on Charlotte’s urging, a collection of the three sisters’ poems was privately published in 1846 under the names of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell; outstanding among them is Emily’s ‘No coward soul is mine’. She wore the novel ‘Wuthering Heights’ in 1847.

Plot of Wuthering Heights
‘Wuthering Heights’ is a novel written by Emily Brontë, which was published in 1847 under the pseudonym Ellis Bell. This intense, solidly imagined novel is distinguished from other novels of the period by its dramatic and poetic presentation, its abstention from authorial intrusion, and its unusual structure.
The story is recounted by Lockwood, a disinterested party, whose narrative serves as the frame for a series of retrospective shorter narratives by Ellen Dean, a housekeeper.
All concern the impact of the foundling Heathcliff on the two families of Earnshaw and Linton in a remote Yorkshire district at the end of the 18th century.
Embittered by abuse and by the marriage of Cathy Earnshaw, who shares his stormy nature and whom he loves to the gentle and prosperous Edgar Linton, Heathcliff plans a revenge on both families, extending into the second generation.
Cathy’s death in childbirth fails to set him free from his obsession with her, which persists until his death. The marriage of the surviving heirs of Earnshaw and Linton restores peace.

Wuthering Heights and Terror
‘Wuthering Heights’ creates a world of passionate intensities, in which particular events are burned on the characters’ and readers’ memories, beyond reason, measure or reserve. Terror stalks the book and defines so many of its central relationships, concerned as it is with the ecstatic, eerie and mad.

Gothic and Wuthering Heights
The novel, centred as it is on a house, seems to exploit in a new way the Gothic Idea that entering an old building means entering the stories of those who have lived in it before.

Gothic Transgressing
In true Gothic fashion, boundaries are trespassed, specifically love crossing the boundary between life and death and Heathcliff's Transgressing social class and family ties.

Emily and Wuthering Heights
The characterizations which Charlotte promulgated about Emily are being repeated. First, Charlotte presented her sister as "a child and nursling of the moors" through whom nature spoke; this explained the novel's being "moorish, and wild, and knotty as a root of heath." Next Charlotte metamorphosed Emily into an accurate transcriber of the Yorkshire life and inhabitants. Then Charlotte transformed Emily, in turn,

(1) into a Christian allegorist, with Heathliff representing the sinner;
(2) into the passive receptor of the creative gift; and finally
(3) into the visionary artist