From The Telegraph:
The producers of the new BBC Radio 3 adaptation of Wuthering Heights say they want to recreate the 'shocking impact' of the book when it was published. Here is a summary of contemporary reviews.
Atlas, 22 January 1848
We know nothing in the whole range of our fictitious literature which presents such shocking pictures of the worst forms of humanity. There is not in the entire dramatis persona, a single character which is not utterly hateful or thoroughly contemptible … Even the female characters excite something of loathing and much of contempt. Beautiful and loveable in their childhood, they all, to use a vulgar expression, “turn out badly”.
Paterson's Magazine (USA), February 1848
We rise from the perusal of Wuthering Heights as if we had come fresh from a pest-house. Read Jane Eyre is our advice, but burn Wuthering Heights.
Graham's Lady Magazine (USA), July 1848
How a human being could have attempted such a book as the present without committing suicide before he had finished a dozen chapters, is a mystery. It is a compound of vulgar depravity and unnatural horrors.
More here. (Note: This is one of my all time favorite novels. Read it again and again.)