News | July 24, 2018

First US Edition of "Wuthering Heights" for Sale on Occasion of Emily Brontë's Bicentennial

London—Monday 30th July is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Emily Brontë who wrote Wuthering Heights. Peter Harrington, the UK’s largest rare bookseller, is delighted to offer a first American edition of Wuthering Heights; an exceedingly rare collection of poems published by Emily, Charlotte and Anne Brontë and library sets of the Brontë sisters’ novels, for sale.

Wuthering Heights was published in 1847 under the pseudonym Ellis Bell and shocked readers with its ill-fated and unconventional relationship between Heathcliff and Cathy. Emily Brontë’s name didn’t appear in the first edition and she died in 1848 just a year after it was published, at the age of 30, without knowing how famous her and her novel would become.

This year also marks the 40th anniversary of the song ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Kate Bush. It was released in 1978 and was inspired by Emily Brontë’s novel and the fact that Kate Bush shares a birthday with Emily Brontë. Kate Bush will be 60 on Monday 30th July.

As Pom Harrington the owner of Peter Harrington says “Emily Brontë only wrote one novel which became a literary classic after her death. The first and second English editions of Wuthering Heights are extremely rare, so we are pleased to be able to offer this first American edition of her famous novel for sale. Emily along with Charlotte and Anne also published ‘Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell’, (their pseudonyms), in 1846 which was the Brontë sisters first publication and we are delighted to have one of the first 1,000 copies of this very rare book for sale too.”  

This is an excellent copy of the first American edition, second overall edition of Wuthering Heights, published in New York in April 1848 by Harpers and Brothers and priced at 75 cents. The book does not contain Emily Brontë’s name and the publisher on the title page misattributed the book to Charlotte Brontë saying ‘By the author of Jane Eyre’.

The first English edition of Wuthering Heights was published in 1847 and the second English edition in December 1850, after the American edition. The first edition was rushed out by the publisher Thomas Cautley Newby in December 1847 to try and capitalize on the unexpected success of Jane Eyre, which was published by one of Newby’s rivals. Newby then embarked on an advertising campaign to confuse the identity of the three Bell “brothers”, suggesting that all the novels were the work of one person which led to the mistaken attribution on the title page of this edition.

Peter Harrington is a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association and offers an unconditional guarantee of every item’s authenticity and completeness as described.