When Cathy Earnshaw’s father brings a wild, angry child named Heathcliff to live with his family in Yorkshire, one of literature’s most powerful love stories begins. The intense, destructive romance between Cathy and Heathcliff consumes the two families living on the moors, as well as the generation that follows. Emily Brontë’s passionate novel Wuthering Heights is alive with revenge, violence and ghostly spirits, which have haunted readers’ imaginations for more than 150 years.
There is something otherworldly about Wuthering Heights from the very beginning — even the outsider Lockwood is haunted by Cathy’s ghost, and Heathcliff is frequently described as a vampire, Satan, and an “imp”. Yet Victorian England was a golden age of science, reason and innovation, not unlike our own. Is this contrast what makes stories about the supernatural so compelling?
Fear of the devil prompts exorcist shortage
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Curses and crystals: meet the modern witches
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Expert on ghosts and UFOs joins Euro Parliament
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Yorkshire’s moors are almost a character in their own right. Cathy and Heathcliff are both trapped by the social conventions between the walls of their homes, but the wild countryside represents the freedom and passion they yearn for. To others, it is a treacherous, dangerous wasteland.
Insect extinction threatens ‘collapse of nature’
According to a shock report, Earth’s insects could be wiped out in the next 100 years — with “catastrophic” consequences for humankind. Scientists say drastic action is needed to avert disaster.
A world without humans could be a new Eden
Yesterday, a major UN report warned that a great extinction has begun on Earth, threatening human life. But the planet is a living organism and would thrive without us, say scientists.
Give half the world to animals, say scientists
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The line between love and hate is thin throughout the story, and romance can be both tender and violent. But the love between the central characters is the novel’s most powerful force. Cathy explains that she loves Edgar “like foliage in the woods”, but she loves Heathcliff like “the eternal rocks beneath”.
Divorce on demand to make ending marriage easy
Yesterday, the UK announced a divorce law revolution that would make it easier for couples to split without a painful “blame game”. Is the world’s most revered institution on its last legs?
‘Domestic violence’ set to include teen victims
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The royal wedding preacher who stole the show
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Not even the wildest regions of England’s landscapes can escape strict Victorian class structures. Heathcliff, who has no family and no surname, cannot marry Cathy until he returns to the moors with his own mysterious wealth — and by that time, she has been lured into the more refined world of Thrushcross Grange.
UK society is increasingly divided by class
A new film about privileged youth has sharpened the debate about class division in modern Britain. Top jobs increasingly go to the privately educated. Whatever happened to meritocracy?
Report sparks row over ‘callous’ UK poverty
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Social mobility is a cruel lie, experts warn
Is social mobility a myth? All board members of the UK’s Social Mobility Commission resigned in protest at the lack of government support. Now some say social divides are stronger than ever.
If it is love that ignites the story of Cathy and Heathcliff, revenge is the force which drives it to its end. Once Cathy is dead, Heathcliff is determined to punish those who have wronged him. Revenge is a basic human desire — does it still play a part in the conflicts we see today?
Prince and Irish rebel set old enmity aside
A brief meeting between Prince Charles and Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has been seen as historic. Does it add to the chances of a lasting reconciliation in Northern Ireland?
Turkish president vows revenge on plotters
Thousands have been brutally seized in Turkey after an attempted military uprising. Some now fear that the coup will allow President Erdogan to crack down on democracy for good.
91-year-old woman in Auschwitz trial
A former SS radio officer at Auschwitz is to go on trial in Germany for being an ‘accessory to murder’. What is the point of punishing someone so long after the crime was committed?