I’ve been looking for an excuse to begin reading Emily Brontë‘s Wuthering Heights!
Now I’ve got one.
This excerpt from the novel works well on it’s own, and makes up the bulk of chapters IV, V, and VI.
I found it in a great uncopyrighted (and undated) kid’s book from the mid 20th century called The Crackerjack Book For Girls!
I love these old collections, they combine terrific illustrations with a level of intelligence that’s hard to find in modern kid’s books.
What I’ve actually done here is taken the story’s text and images |PDF| and matched them up with the terrific solo narrated audiobook as performed by the talented Ruth Golding for LibriVox. Or to put it another way I abridged the public domain audiobook of Wuthering Heights to match the text as it appears in The Crackerjack Book For Girls. Here’s the |MP3|.
I should also point out that the complete audiobook of the novel is HERE).
Before you listen, read, or watch the video check out the introduction to Cathy And Heathcliff as it appeared in The Crackerjack Book For Girls:
Emily Brontë was one of three sisters – all if them writers – who lived in the first half of the nineteenth century. Their father was a clergyman and their home was Haworth Parsonage, a bleak, rather forbidding house with the gravestones if the churchyard on one side and the wild, desolate Yorkshire moors on the other.
Their lives were spent in this lonely little village if the West Riding, and the Yorkshire character and landscape colour all their writings. Emily, particularly, loved the windswept, moorland country which surrounded their home, and Wuthering Heights, her only novel, owes its sombre, fascinating atmosphere to the background if her life.
Of the three sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne, only the work of Charlotte gained recognition in the author’s lifetime; but now, a century later, we recognise the true genius if Emily. The beauty of her poetry, and the power and dramatic quality if her novel far excel anything written by her sisters (even Charlotte’s masterpiece, Jane Eyre).
Wuthering Heights relates the histories of two neighbouring Yorkshire families, the Lintons and the Earnshaws, through three generations; and the changes if fortune brought upon both of them by the chance action if Mr. Earnshaw, which is described in the excerpt from the book which follows. The strange little foundling boy grows up to be the principal actor in the drama. This is Heathcliff, a character drawn with a power and assurance which at once mark Emily Brontë as a great English writer.
(The story is told in the first person, and is taken up in turn by minor characters in the book. Here Nellie Dean, an old family servant, is telling the story.)
And here’s the afterword:
This incident marked the close of a chapter in Heathcliff’s life. The Cathy who came back to Wuthering Heights had changed beyond his recognition; her stay with the Lintons had turned her into an elegant young lady with fine clothes and manners. In bitter disappointment and despair, Heathcliff fled. Years later he returned, a grown man. Hatred and a desire for revenge had taken complete possession of him, and his one reason for living had become vengeance upon Hindley.
Posted by Jesse Willis