For the Fourth Edition, the editor collated the 1847 text with the two modern texts (Norton s William J. Sale collation and the Clarendon), and found a great number of variants, including accidentals. This discovery led to changes in the body of the Norton Critical Edition text that are explained in the preface. New to "Backgrounds and Contexts" are additional letters, a compositional chronology, related prose, and reviews of the 1847 text. "Criticism" collects five important assessments of Wuthering Heights, three of them new to the Fourth Edition, including Lin Haire-Sargeant s essay on film adaptations of the novel.
Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine's father. After Mr Earnshaw's death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine's brother Hindley and wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man. He proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries. The action of the story is chaotic and unremittingly violent, but the accomplished handling of a complex structure, the evocative descriptions of the lonely moorland setting and the poetic grandeur of vision combine to make this unique novel a masterpiece of English literature.