Melvyn Bragg and company focus on Emily Brontë’s legend of Heathcliff and Cathy, of cherish, hatred, revenge and self-destruction across two generations in a remote moorland residence.

In a programme first broadcast in 2017, Melvyn Bragg and company focus on Emily Brontë (1818-1848) and her simplest new, revealed in 1847 below the name ‚Ellis Bell‘ staunch a twelve months before her dying. It is the legend of Heathcliff, a foundling from Liverpool introduced up in the Earnshaw family at the remote Wuthering Heights, high on the moors, who becomes close to the young Cathy Earnshaw but hears her scream she can never marry him. He disappears and she marries his rival, Edgar Linton, of Thrushcross Grange even supposing she feels inextricably linked with Heathcliff, exclaiming to her maid ‚I am Heathcliff!‘ On his return, Heathcliff progressively works via his revenge on all who he believes wronged him, and their kin. When Cathy dies, Heathcliff longs to be united with her in the grave. The raw passions and cruelty of the legend unsettled Emily’s sister Charlotte Brontë, whose new Jane Eyre had been revealed quickly before, and who took hassle to existing its roughness, jealousy and violence when introducing it to early readers. Over time, with its energy, imagination and scope, Wuthering Heights turned into well-known as surely one of the most wide novels in English.

The image above is of Laurence Olivier as Heathcliff and Merle Oberon as Cathy on the disclose of the Samuel Goldwyn Company movie ‚Wuthering Heights‘, circa 1939.


Karen O’Brien

Professor of English Literature at the College of Oxford

John Bowen

Professor of Nineteenth Century Literature at the College of York


Alexandra Lewis

Lecturer in English Literature at the College of Aberdeen

Producer: Simon Tillotson.

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