Who Wrote Wuthering Heights?
- Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the EADH
- Undergraduate published in a leading journal
- Best Publication of the Year 2020 Award
- Undergraduate Excellence Award
- Featured in The Irish Times
Emily Brontë supposedly published Wuthering Heights with a fake name in 1847. There are many critics, however, who claim that her brother is the real author. Who really wrote Wuthering Heights?
Emily Brontë published Wuthering Heights in 1847 with the pen name Ellis Bell. The later second edition, published after Emily’s death, was the first time she was named as the novel’s author. Those Victorian attitudes towards women which forced Brontë to publish as Bell have not been wholly abolished. Male commentators have called her legitimacy as the sole author into question many times ever since. Their claim is that Emily’s brother Branwell is the real author of Wuthering Heights.
Stylometry is a computer-assisted technique which measures the likely author of a text. Using stylometry, this brief experiment confirms that it’s highly unlikely Branwell Brontë wrote the novel. He didn’t contribute to the writing of Wuthering Heights and this method proves that Emily, as generally considered, is the novel’s sole author. Furthermore, considering a number of limitations with testing the corpus, this study provides a good and important example of stylometry in practice. It also shows how such an experiment could be carried out in less-than-ideal conditions.