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NEWS & IDEAS

Five Things You Never Knew About Emily Brontë and Wuthering Heights

It's Emily Brontë's birthday today, and we're honoring the woman who wrote the famed English classic, Wuthering Heights. The shyest of her sisters, Emily was more comfortable out in nature, with animals. That struggle between culture and nature shows in Wuthering Heights, as we see its protagonists Catherine and Heathcliff ruled by their passions while the Linton family focuses more on societal refinement.
 
Wuthering Heights' main character Catherine Earnshaw is often drescribed as "free-spirited." Following her lead, MAKERS celebrates strong-willed heroines in literature. From the classics to the most recent best-sellers flying off the shelves, the female perspective is a driving force in some of our favorites novels. Whether she's Elizabeth Bennet navigating through the world of class and marriage in the British country or Lisbeth Salander hacking her way through secrets to uncover unbelievable mysteries, we're inspired by these forward-looking, character-filled protagonists. Click through the gallery above to take a look at other heroines who MADE the story!
 
Even 166 years after Emily's death, Wuthering Heights maintains a regular presence in popular culture. Though you may have read the book, and you've heard it referenced in Twilight and Breakfast at Tiffany's, we've got a few Brontë tidbits you might not know:
 
1. The Brontë sisters originally published a book of poetry titled Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. Each sister retained her initials, so Emily wrote under Ellis Bell with Charlotte as Currer and Anne as Acton.
 
2. Only two copies of that first book sold.
 
3. Wuthering Heights has seen 150 years of steady sales as a high school literature class staple, but when the Twilight films came out and Bella compared her love for vampire Edward to Cathy’s love for Heathcliff, a reissue of Wuthering Heights sold four times more copies than the average year. The new cover branded it, “Bella & Edward’s Favorite Book.”
 
4. Wuthering Heights was met with mixed reviews when it first came out in 1847, when Emily was 29. It challenged the Victorian ideals of the time, including morality, social classes, and gender inequality. 
 
5. The song “Total Eclipse of the Heart” (written by Jim Steinman and recorded by Bonnie Tyler) was inspired by Wuthering Heights. It’s one of the best-selling singles of all time.