It is 1801. Mr. Lockwood writes in his diary that, wanting solitude after unintentionally hurting a woman he admired because he dislikes shows of emotion, he has rented a house called Thrushcross Grange in the Yorkshire countryside.
Lockwood hurt the woman because he sees himself as civilized and therefore does not like to show his feelings, his passion.
Soon after arriving, he visits his landlord, Mr. Heathcliff, whom he describes as a gruff yet noble "dark-skinned gypsy." Heathcliff lives in a manor called Wuthering Heights, which is named after the harsh winds that blow across the nearby moors. The house is strong and sturdy and has grotesque carvings around the front door. During the visit, Heathcliff is amused when Lockwood is nearly attacked after Heathcliff leaves him alone with a bunch of savage dogs. Yet Lockwood finds Heathcliff compelling, and, uninvited, announces that he will return soon.
Grotesque carvings, menacing dogs, and a general sense of menace are all staples of Gothic literature. Also notice how Wuthering Heights, and by extension its inhabitants, are directly connected to nature, and a wild nature at that—the house is named after the harsh winds of the moors.