Self-Education and Narrative Power in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights: (Re)Discovering Marginal Women Characters


  • Madalina Elena Mandici Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi



Victorian England, Emily Brontë, female education, book knowledge, marginal women


Despite the secure position of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1847) in academic and popular culture, the novel may not seem the first choice for a work that features both conventionally appealing characters and reliable narrators as well as modern delineations of class, gender, and race. This study argues that in Wuthering Heights reading, writing, education, and learning resist a unified interpretation, but nonetheless can provide a compass for navigating its unwieldy narrative. In the novel, the landed gentry is above the law of state, and women are at all stages disadvantaged. These depictions come in a continuous social spectrum: the woman who annotates sacred books to write her own story and chooses the cultured gentry but denies her own rough, wild nature (Catherine I), the woman exposed to culture from the cradle who educates the illiterate in a reconciliatory educator-disciple matrimony (Catherine II), the housekeeper born into the servile classes who moves beyond the limits imposed by gentility and social segregation, and has exclusive access to all the personal and social histories embedded within Wuthering Heights (Nelly Dean).

Author Biography

Madalina Elena Mandici, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi

Mădălina Elena Mandici is an Assistant Professor, Ph.D., in the Department of English Language and Literature at the Faculty of Letters, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, Romania, where she teaches seminars in English morphosyntax, Victorian literature and English didactics, as well as practical courses in grammar and text analysis. She is the author of Female Readers in the Victorian Novel (Bucharest: Pro Universitaria, 2023) and the co-author of English Morphosyntax. A brief course for EFL university students (Iasi: Demiurg Printing Press, 2021). She has published articles in Philobiblon, Studia UBB Philologia, Acta Iassyensia Comparationis, Studies in Science and Culture, and other peer-reviewed journals. She is a member of the European Society for the Study of English (ESSE) and The Romanian Society for English and American Studies (RSEAS). She also holds an MA in Applied Linguistics – Teaching English as a Foreign Language (2019) and a BA in Romanian and English Language and Literature (2017) from UAIC.


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How to Cite

Mandici, M. E. (2023). Self-Education and Narrative Power in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights: (Re)Discovering Marginal Women Characters. American & British Studies Annual, 16, 59–71.