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Emily Bronte Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Wuthering Heights (1847) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Emily Bronte was an English author best known for the literary classic, Wuthering Heights. She was the fifth sibling of the popular Bronte family of writers that include Charlotte, and Anne Bronte. She was older than Anne Bronte and younger than Charlotte Bronte. Emily Bronte was born to Maria Branwell and Patrick Bronte in Thornton near Bradford, Yorkshire in 1818. When she was 6 years old, the Bronte family relocated to Haworth where her father had taken up a position as the incumbent curate. It was in Haworth that Emily’s and her sister’s literary talents flourished. After their mother passed on, the three sisters used literature to escape from the loneliness by inventing fantasylands they named Oceania, Gaaldine, Gondal, and Angria, the setting for most of their narratives. There is not much of Emily’s work from this period that can be found, save for a few character spoken poems that include, Fannie Ratchford and The Brontes’ Web of Childhood.

In 1824, Emily and her sisters were enrolled as students at the Clergy Daughter’s School in Cowan Bridge. The following year, Elizabeth and Maria, the eldest of the Bronte sisters fell severely ill and died, resulting in their father withdrawing Emily, Ann and Charlotte from the school. Back home, and with unfettered access to their father’s library, Emily and her siblings took the time to read and study, which made them quite good writers. It was during this period that they would produce a magazine featuring their poems and stories about their fantasylands. For a girl that was a low ranking clergyman’s daughter, the only viable career path was to become a teacher or governess. In 1838, she got a job as a teacher in Halifax, at Law Hill School, which she hated and quit within six months and returned home. Four years later, her father enrolled her and Charlotte in a private school in Brussels, in the hope that they would establish their own school. But for Emily, the life was still boring and uninspiring and the two sisters returned home soon after. In 1844, the two sisters set up a school near their home, which was a total failure as they hardly had any pupils. Resigned to her fate, Emily Bronte accepted that she was made to cook and look after her father in the parsonage.

However, Charlotte soon discovered Emily’s poetic talent, which resulted in the publication of a collection of poems by the three sisters in 1846, with Emily contributing twenty-one poems. Given the widespread prejudice against female authors at the time, the three took up male pseudonyms as last names, while taking up first names that corresponded to the first letter of their first names. As such, Emily became Ellis Bell, Anne was Acton Bell, and Charlotte was Currer Bell. In 1847, Emily published her best-known work Wuthering Heights, which was the third part of a three-volume set that was to be jointly written by the Bronte sisters. The innovative structure of the novel, which combined mystery, passion, and unbridled romance, puzzled literary critics. While the novel initially received mixed reviews, over time it has come to be accepted as an English language literary classic. Initially published under the pseudonym Ellis Bell, Charlotte would edit and publish Wuthering Heights in 1850 as a standalone novel under the name Emily Bronte.

Similar to her eldest sisters, Emily Bronte’s health deteriorated over the years due to the harsh climate at school and at home. When her brother Branwell Bronte died in 1848, Emily fell ill at the funeral, due to the cold. This illness triggered her tuberculosis, which she had probably contracted while nursing the younger Branwell as a child. Being the headstrong and complicated woman that she was, she rejected all medical intervention until it was too late to be of help. She would die of the tuberculosis in 1848 in the presence of her loving family. She was buried at the Church of St Michael cemetery opposite her home in Haworth, three days after her death.

Emily Bronte’s most popular novel, Wuthering Heights is a novel about two families, the Lintons and the Earnshaws over two generations, and their grand homes Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff, a homeless boy adopted by the wealthy Earnshows is the lead protagonist in the novel. His initial motivation is his obsession with Catherine Earnshow, which soon turns into hate and a desire for revenge after Catherine seemingly rejects his advances. After the death of Mr. Earnshow his benefactor, Heathcliff’s life in the Earnshow house changes as Hindley, Catherine’s brother constantly humiliates him. The humiliation and his belief that Catherine does not reciprocate his feelings make him leave Wuthering Heights, after which he returns decades later as a rich gentleman. He is a man on a mission to exact revenge for the slights he endured in his former home. The story is action packed being interminably violent and even chaotic in some instances, though Emily Bronte is an accomplished author that handles the complex structure incredibly well.

Set in the 18th century when England was experiencing a massive upheaval in economic and social values, the novel explores a world in which natural elements are juxtaposed with patriarchal values. The wild passion, poetic grandeur, and moorland setting make the novel one of the most enduring classics of English literature. Wuthering Heights explores the themes of prejudice, class, religion, and revenge while also navigating the depths of the human psyche and the metaphysical. The novel seems to be an echo of Emily’s bleak Yorkshire marshes home, in which Catherine and Heathcliff walk.

In 1923, a posthumous collection of over 200 poems by Emily Bronte was published. Similar to much of Emily Bronte’s work, the poems did not receive much attention until after she died. Nonetheless, Wuthering Heights remains in print today in addition to inspiring many feature films and television adaptation from as far back as 1939 to the latest TV series that aired in 2009. Given how little is known of the author, her novel and poems have often been used to draw parallels with her life. Even so, the author’s reputation has attained almost mythic proportions as she is deemed as a reclusive, free spirited, deeply spiritual, passionate and intensely creative tortured literary genius.

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