Approaches to Teaching Emily Brontës’ Wuthering Heights

  • Editors: Sue Lonoff, Terri A. Hasseler
  • Pages: vii & 195 pp.
  • Published: 2006
  • ISBN: 9780873529921 (Cloth)
  • ISBN: 9780873529938 (Paperback)
Approaches to Teaching Emily Bront's Wuthering Heights Cover

Wuthering Heights is a major literary text taught in a wide variety of courses, from freshman writing courses to graduate seminars. This excellent addition to the MLA Approaches to Teaching series is not only needed and useful but mandatory.”

—Anne Humpherys, Graduate Center, CUNY

“Stimulates the reader who is also a teacher to ponder fundamental questions again.”


Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights has long held a high position in the academy and in popular culture. It is taught at levels from high school English to doctoral studies and has been adapted in enough film and television versions that many students who know nothing about the book know who Heathcliff is. Nevertheless it is not an easy novel to teach. Thus in addition to surveying experienced teachers of Wuthering Heights, the editors sought to learn directly from students what in the novel was difficult for them and what worked best in engaging their interest. As a result, the approaches suggested in this volume reflect practices that have proved successful for both students and teachers.

Part 1 of this Approaches volume, “Materials,” surveys and assesses the available editions of Wuthering Heights, identifies editions of other works by Emily Brontë, reviews biographies and other background materials, notes the critical studies most frequently mentioned as useful by instructors, and provides an annotated list of resources on the Internet.

Among the classroom strategies described in part 2, “Approaches,” are the following:

  • Uncovering the hidden elements of race, gender, and class through close analysis of the narrative

  • Teaching the novel from the vantage point of gothic conventions, biographies of Brontë family members, the debates about the place of the novel in the canon

  • Helping students engage with theory after identifying and critiquing their “perspective-free” positions.

  • Considering the circularity of the novel, the reliability of the narrators, the complexity of character development

  • Familiarizing students with historical and legal documents to reveal social and economic issues of the period like child custody and women’s property rights

  • Comparing film and TV adaptations with one another and with the novel itself

  • Using recordings to consider how hearing the speech of characters brings to light issues of social class, age, and gender

Suzy Anger
Frances Beer
Dean de la Motte
Kamilla Elliott
Laraine Fergenson
Catherine R. Hancock
Tamar Heller
Diane Long Hoeveler
Paula M. Krebs
Tricia Lootens
Carine M. Mardorossian
Beth Newman
Barry V. Qualls
Maureen T. Reddy
Leilani D. Riehle
Patsy Stoneman
Lisa Surridge
Paul Vita