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Emily Bronte and Wuthering Heights

by Arthur Mee, J. A. Hammerton

"That chainless soul," Emily Jane Brontë, was born at Thornton, Yorkshire, England, on August 30, 1818, and died at Haworth on December 19, 1848. She will always have a place in English literature by reason of her one weird, powerful, strained novel, "Wuthering Heights," and a few poems. Emily Brontë, like her sister Charlotte, was educated at Cowan School and at Brussels. For a time she became a governess, but it seemed impossible for her to live away from the fascination of the Yorkshire moors, and she went home to keep house at the Haworth Parsonage, while her sisters taught. Two months after the publication of "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte, that is, in December, 1847, "Wuthering Heights," by Emily, and "Agnes Grey," by Anne, the third sister in this remarkable trio, were issued in one volume. The critics, who did not discover these books were by women, suggested persistently that "Wuthering Heights" must be an immature work by Currer Bell (Charlotte). A year after the publication of her novel Emily died, unaware of her success in achieving a lasting, if restricted, fame. She was extraordinarily reserved, sensitive, and wayward, and lived in an imagined world of her own, morbidly influenced, no doubt, by the vagaries of her worthless brother Branwell. That she had true genius, allied with fine strength of intellect and character, is the unanimous verdict of competent criticism, while it grieves over unfulfilled possibilities.