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Determining Wuthering Heights

Ideology, Intertexts, Tradition

María Valero Redondo

Recent criticism on Emily Brontë and her novel has tried to correct the deep-rooted belief that Emily Brontë was a literary "genius" isolated in the moors of Haworth. Indeed, an overview of recent Brontë scholarship indicates that two important critical shifts have lately cropped up: an increasing sociological attention to cultural studies on the one hand and an emphasis on interdisciplinarity. The present book is an unprecedented and groundbreaking study on Wuthering Heights. It detaches itself from the current productive vogue for sociological approaches to narrative texts which has contributed to obscure the focus on anomalous intertextual relations, and prioritizes the literary context over any other biographical, historical, or cultural context. Determining Wuthering Heights postulates a determinate intertextual meaning of Emily Brontë’s novel, enriching its heterogeneity by examining its dialogic relation with previous, contemporary and subsequent texts in order to confirm that Emily Brontë’s novel is not sui generis.

The target audience of the book would be members of the academic community interested in Victorian literature in general (researchers, scholars…) and in Wuthering Heights in particular. However, since Wuthering Heights has become a classic novel which is today read and discussed in universities around the world, the subject may also appeal to students who have to take a course on Victorian Literature and/or on the Brontës.

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This book has been written over a number of years, and during this journey I have received much aid and assistance. First of all, I am especially grateful to Professor Julián Jiménez Heffernan for his close, continuous involvement in the writing of this book, his essential encouragement, and his kindness in accepting to write the afterword. I owe him a continuing debt of gratitude.

An abridged version of Chapter 3 has been previously published in Miscelánea: A Journal of English and American Studies. I should like to thank the editors of this journal for granting permission to incorporate this material into a larger argument: “Wuthering Heights and Kleist’s Novellen: Rousseaunian Nature, Implosive Communities and the Performative Subversion of the Law,” Miscelánea: A Journal of English and American Studies, vol. 62, 2020, pp. 147–165.

I would also like to thank my editors at Peter Lang Publishing, Dr. Meagan Simpson and Abdur Rawoof, for believing in this book and for assisting me in the publishing process.

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