Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (1847)Read about another entry on the list.
That’s right – two of the greatest gothic novels of all time were written, mere months apart, by sisters. Wuthering Heights offers the most Byronic of Byronic heroes in moody, mysterious Heathcliff, whose love for the beautiful Catherine Earnshaw is tempestuous and beset by mental illness and cruelty. Catherine also feels a connection with the polished Edgar Linton, but it’s her attachment to Heathcliff that will prove ruinous to both of them, and to everyone who gets close to them.
What’s so scary about it?
It’s an unblinking examination of mental illness and the calamitous power of passion. Also there are moors.
The most gothic line:
‘Oh, if I were but in my own bed in the old house!’ she went on bitterly, wringing her hands. ‘And that wind sounding in the firs by the lattice. Do let me feel it—it comes straight down the moor—do let me have one breath!’ To pacify her I held the casement ajar a few seconds. A cold blast rushed through; I closed it, and returned to my post. She lay still now, her face bathed in tears. Exhaustion of body had entirely subdued her spirit: our fiery Catherine was no better than a wailing child.
Wuthering Heights appears on Ed Sikov's list of eight top books that got slammed by critics, Amelia Schonbek's top five list of approachable must-read classics, Molly Schoemann-McCann's top five list of the lamest girlfriends in fiction, Becky Ferreira's list of seven of the worst wingmen in literature, Na'ima B. Robert's top ten list of Romeo and Juliet stories, Jimmy So's list of fifteen notable film adaptations of literary classics, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best thunderstorms in literature, ten of the worst nightmares in literature and ten of the best foundlings in literature, Valerie Martin's list of novels about doomed marriages, Susan Cheever's list of the five best books about obsession, and Melissa Katsoulis' top 25 list of book to film adaptations. It is one of John Inverdale's six best books and Sheila Hancock's six best books.
The Page 99 Test: Wuthering Heights.