Wuthering Heights is one of those rare books that appeals to a general audience as well as inspiring endless academic enquiry. Baffling and fascinating its first readers, it has been read as a great love story, a tragedy of hatred, a promise of spiritual sublimity, an intriguing textual puzzle, an analogue of the class war, a feminist protest, a poem, a drama, a dialogue. It has inspired hundreds of interpretive versions in other media, and the image of Catherine and Heathcliff on the hill-top (despite not appearing in the novel) has become a cultural icon. In this Readers' Guide, Patsy Stoneman has devised a careful route through the bewildering profusion of critical writing on Wuthering Heights. After a chapter on 19th century responses, the Guide links together a selection of extracts demonstrating the major critical developments of the 20th century, from humanism through formalism to deconstruction. Subsequent chapters, working within this general framework, focus on psychoanalytic readings, source studies, readings using discourse theory, work on dissemination, and political readings including Marxism, postcolonialism and feminism.
By combining thoroughness and accessibility, this Guide aims to be useful to both undergraduates and more advanced scholars.