Who wrote Wuthering Heights?

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McCarthy, Rachel
O'Sullivan, James
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Oxford University Press
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Emily Brontë published Wuthering Heights in 1847 under the pseudonym Ellis Bell. It was not until the later second edition, published after Emily’s death, that she was credited as the novel’s author. Those Victorian attitudes towards women which compelled Brontë to publish as Bell have not been wholly eradicated, with her legitimacy as the sole author being called into question by male commentators at several junctures since. Their claim is that Emily’s brother Branwell is the real author of Wuthering Heights. Using stylometry, a computer-assisted technique which measures the likely author of a text, this brief experiment demonstrates that it is highly unlikely that Branwell Brontë contributed to the writing of Wuthering Heights, and that Emily, as generally considered, is the novel’s sole author. Furthermore, considering a number of limitations with the corpus being tested, this study provides a good and necessary example of stylometry in practice, and how such an experiment should be conducted in less-than-ideal circumstances.
Wuthering Heights , Stylometry , Digital Humanities
McCarthy, R. and O'Sullivan, J. (2020) 'Who Wrote Wuthering Heights?', Digital Scholarship In The Humanities, fqaa031 (9 pp). doi: 10.1093/llc/fqaa031
© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of EADH. All rights reserved. This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in Digital Scholarship in the Humanities following peer review. The version of record is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1093/llc/fqaa031