A long-lasting annual tradition at Vail Public Library, which focused on a classic of ancient literature.
Book clubs, programs, and displays are dedicated to the November classics.
November 2023 Selected Title
“Wuthering Heights” by Emily Brinte
About Wuthering Heights
Wuthering Heights is an 1847 novel by the English author Emily Brontë, initially published under her pen name “Ellis Bell”. It concerns two families of the landed gentry living on the West Yorkshire moors, the Earnshaws and the Lintons, and their turbulent relationships with the Earnshaws’ foster son, Heathcliff. The novel was influenced by Romanticism and Gothic fiction.
Wuthering Heights is now widely considered to be one of the greatest novels ever written in English, but contemporaneous reviews were polarised. It was controversial for its depictions of mental and physical cruelty, including domestic abuse, and for its challenges to Victorian morality, religion, and the class system.
Wuthering Heights was accepted by publisher Thomas Newby along with Anne Brontë’s Agnes Grey before the success of their sister Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre, but they were published later. After Emily’s death, Charlotte edited a second edition of Wuthering Heights, which was published in 1850. It has inspired an array of adaptations across several media, including English singer-songwriter Kate Bush’s song of the same name.
Who Was Emily Brontë?
Emily Brontë was born on 30 July 1818, the fifth of six children (1818–1848). She was an English novelist and poet. Best-known for her novel Wuthering Heights (1847), she also wrote over 200 poems which her sister Charlotte Brontë thought had ‘a peculiar music – wild, melancholy, and elevating’.
Emily was the daughter of Patrick Brontë, Irish-born perpetual curate of the remote Yorkshire moorland parish of Haworth. After the death of their mother Maria when Emily was three, the children were given an inspiring and wide-ranging liberal and academic education by their father and thoroughly instructed in domestic ‘order, method and neatness’ by their aunt, Elizabeth Branwell.
For amusement the siblings invented imaginary worlds, drawing maps and writing stories and magazines – all in tiny micro-script, as if written by their miniature toy soldiers. Charlotte and Branwell created the kingdom of Angria; always stubbornly independent, Emily created the breakaway island of Gondal with her younger sister Anne. Surviving poems about this fantasy world show the influence of Wordsworth, Walter Scott and Byron. By then Emily was the tallest of the sisters, slim and graceful with – in the words of family friend Ellen Nussey – ‘kindling liquid eyes’. She was, however, very reserved, and it soon emerged that she was unsuited to life away from Haworth. ‘Stronger than a man’, Charlotte wrote, ‘simpler than a child, her nature stood alone.’
Emily’s work first appeared in print when, on Charlotte’s urging, a collection of the three sisters’ poems was privately published in 1846 under the names of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell; outstanding among them is Emily’s ‘No coward soul is mine’.
November 2022 Programs
VIRTUAL BOOKS ‘N BITES
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 8 | 5 P.M. VIA ZOOM
In November, our Books ‘n Bites title is the classic “Wuthering Heights”
Email Sandy at SRivera@vail.gov to receive an invitation to the Zoom meeting.
- 2021 – “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë
- 2020 – “The Maltese Falcon” by Dashiell Hammett
- 2019 – “My Antonia” by Willa Cather
- 2018 – “Mansfield Park” by Jane Austen
- 2017 – “Northanger Abbey” by Jane Austen
- 2016 – “Emma” by Jane Austen
- 2015 -“Persuasion” by Jane Austen Lecture