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Secretly, many English-literature academics regret their students’ enthusiasm for Wuthering Heights. Structurally, it is a ramshackle affair, with Nelly Dean’s narrative awkwardly folded into Lockwood’s. The dialogue is hyperbolical and pumped up with dark talk of devils and damnation, while the generational sweep is confused (try giving a plot summary). It is the clumsy first novel of a genius.

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What lingers longest in the memory from Wuthering Heights is its claustrophobic sense of intrigue and its bleak description of both mental and physical cruelty which, to say the least, was exceptionally brave for its time. No wonder Emily Brontë ensured that her sole novel was published under a pseudonym.

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Jane Eyre is a finished masterpiece. Charlotte Brontë had already completed a novel (The Professor) and knew her way. Her heroine’s voice – plain yet fiercely eloquent – is one of the most arresting in all fiction. Many Victorians were upset by this narrator’s sheer dissatisfaction with what life offered her, which now thrills readers. Both reactions stem from Jane’s sheer intimacy with the reader, which was her creator’s unprecedented achievement.

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The complex relationships between the brilliantly drawn characters and the passion surrounding the doomed lovers Catherine and Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights are the very essence of music: the novel has inspired at least three operas and that famous eponymous song by Kate Bush. The best known of the operas, incidentally, is by Bernard Herrmann, who composed the music for Psycho, and in many ways Wuthering Heights could have made an ideal movie subject for Hitchcock.

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For me, Wuthering Heights is a wonderful gesture, but it’s a gesture of someone running out on the moors and giving a great big yell, which we all feel like sometimes. But Charlotte Brontë absolutely knew what she was doing. Jane Eyre is an extraordinary book. People remember it as a single-strand love story, but all sorts of things happen in it. I don’t think Charlotte Brontë is like any other novelist in the century. How could anyone not love Jane Eyre?

Wuthering Heights was Emily Brontë’s only novel

Wuthering Heights is a daring book. When I first read both novels as a teenager, I loved Jane Eyre more, but, on rereading them as an adult, I realised how brilliant Wuthering Heights is. As a teenager, it’s harder to follow but as an adult you really appreciate its courage.

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Although written more than half a century before, Emily Brontë’s grand-guignol masterpiece has much in common with Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca: for Wuthering Heights read Manderley, for Heathcliff read Maxim de Winter. It was not by chance that the same actor – Laurence Olivier – played both roles in classic mid-20th-century films.

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The one thing that you can say about both of them is that they’ve been God’s gift to film, though, fortunately, you don’t associate the characters with particular actors.