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The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. It is considered to be to the first mystery novel, and is widely regarded as one of the first (and finest) in the genre of ’sensation novels’…. The Woman in White is also an early example of a particular type of Collins narrative in which several characters in turn take up the telling of the story. This creates a complex web in which re The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. It is considered to be to the first mystery novel, and is widely regarded as one of the first (and finest) in the genre of ’sensation novels’…. The Woman in White is also an early example of a particular type of Collins narrative in which several characters in turn take up the telling of the story. This creates a complex web in which readers are unsure which narrator can, and cannot, be trusted. Collins used this technique in his other novels, including The Moonstone. This technique was copied by other novelists, including Bram Stoker, author of Dracula (1897), although by the end of the 19th century the technique was considered “old-fashioned” CONTENTS About the Author Free Audiobook Download How to Transfer Files via PC/Mac. The Authorized The Woman in White - [ Free Audiobook Download ] [ Annotated ] for Kindle Edition offers reader special Kindle enabled features, including interactive table of contents.Easy to use table of contents take you right to the chapter and verse you are looking for


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The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. It is considered to be to the first mystery novel, and is widely regarded as one of the first (and finest) in the genre of ’sensation novels’…. The Woman in White is also an early example of a particular type of Collins narrative in which several characters in turn take up the telling of the story. This creates a complex web in which re The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. It is considered to be to the first mystery novel, and is widely regarded as one of the first (and finest) in the genre of ’sensation novels’…. The Woman in White is also an early example of a particular type of Collins narrative in which several characters in turn take up the telling of the story. This creates a complex web in which readers are unsure which narrator can, and cannot, be trusted. Collins used this technique in his other novels, including The Moonstone. This technique was copied by other novelists, including Bram Stoker, author of Dracula (1897), although by the end of the 19th century the technique was considered “old-fashioned” CONTENTS About the Author Free Audiobook Download How to Transfer Files via PC/Mac. The Authorized The Woman in White - [ Free Audiobook Download ] [ Annotated ] for Kindle Edition offers reader special Kindle enabled features, including interactive table of contents.Easy to use table of contents take you right to the chapter and verse you are looking for

30 review for The Woman in White - [ Free Audiobook Download ] [ Annotated ]

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bill Kerwin

    The only real flaw in this densely plotted page-turner of a novel is that in the end it slightly disappoints because it promises more than it delivers. It makes the reader fall in love with its plain but resourceful heroine Marian Halcombe, and teases us with the delightful prospect that she will become the principal agent bringing the villains to justice. When, in the middle of the novel, Marian tells her half-sister Laura that "our endurance must end, and our resistance begin," it seems like a The only real flaw in this densely plotted page-turner of a novel is that in the end it slightly disappoints because it promises more than it delivers. It makes the reader fall in love with its plain but resourceful heroine Marian Halcombe, and teases us with the delightful prospect that she will become the principal agent bringing the villains to justice. When, in the middle of the novel, Marian tells her half-sister Laura that "our endurance must end, and our resistance begin," it seems like a groundbreaking feminist principle, and a little later Collins gives us the perfect metaphor for liberation when Marian divests herself of much of her cumbersome Victorian clothing so that she may safely climb out on a roof to eavesdrop on her enemies. But--alas!--she is soaked by the rain, becomes ill, and--after having been removed to the ancient Gothic wing of the estate to recuperate--she returns to the plain woman's typical Victorian role of loyal sister and adoring aunt, allowing the returning hero Walter Hartwright to tie up the loose ends of the plot. Nevertheless, the intricate resolution is absorbing (even if the last hundred pages seem too crowded and rushed) and the ending (although perhaps too pat) is satisfying. Oh, I almost forgot to mention Count Fosco! He is--particularly in Marian's grudgingly admiring description--one of the most fascinating and dangerous villains of all mystery fiction.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Grace Tjan

    Beware of spoilers! What I learned from this book (in no particular order) : 1. Italians are excitable, dedicated to the opera, and most likely to be involved with organized crime. 2. Beware of fat, jolly Italian counts with submissive wives and fondness of white mice and canaries. 3. Watch out if your newly wed husband lives in a stately pile with an abandoned wing full of creepy Elizabethan furniture. If the said ancestral house is surrounded by dark ponds and eerie woods, expect the worst. 4. A Ba Beware of spoilers! What I learned from this book (in no particular order) : 1. Italians are excitable, dedicated to the opera, and most likely to be involved with organized crime. 2. Beware of fat, jolly Italian counts with submissive wives and fondness of white mice and canaries. 3. Watch out if your newly wed husband lives in a stately pile with an abandoned wing full of creepy Elizabethan furniture. If the said ancestral house is surrounded by dark ponds and eerie woods, expect the worst. 4. A Baronet is not always noble, and his impressive manor and estate might be mortgaged to the hilt. Instead of being the lady of the house, you might be forced to pay HIS debts. Make sure that the marriage settlement is settled in your favor before marrying. 5. Never marry for convenience or enter into any legal agreement when you are: a. under age; b. sentimental and easily persuadable; c. prone to swooning and fainting. 6. Intelligent, resourceful women are likely to be mannish, and even actually HAVE a mustache, but are strong and have good figures. They can also be relied on to provide intelligent conversation when your beautiful but fragile wives are too busy swooning. 7. Shutting yourself up in a medieval vestry full of combustible materials with a candle for lighting is NOT advisable. Always have your minions do the dirty work. 8. Being ‘feeble in mind’ is enough reason to get you committed into an asylum for the mentally ill. So is knowing some secret that you might accidentally blurt out to strangers. 9. You CAN marry someone who is legally dead. Nobody bothered to check the civil registry records in those good old days. 10. A ménage a trois is fun, but you have to marry at least ONE of them first to preserve Victorian propriety. Postscript Lately, I have received several personal messages that accused me, based on point#1 in my review above, of being prejudiced toward Italians --- something which couldn't be further from the truth. For those who hold such view, I would like to point out that my review is a parody which involves humorous, satiric or ironic imitations of the plot, characters or point of views set forth in the novel.The "This is what I learned" heading is a part of the whole exercise, and does not mean that I personally subscribe to the points enumerated therein. Obviously, I don't believe that "intelligent, resourceful women are likely to be mannish, and even actually HAVE a mustache" (point 6) or that "being ‘feeble in mind’ is enough reason to get you committed into an asylum for the mentally ill" (point 8) --- just as I don't believe that "Italians are excitable, dedicated to the opera, and most likely to be involved with organized crime". I'm aware that my sense of humor is not to everyone's taste, but it has never been my intention to denigrate Italians or any other ethnic groups in this review (or any other review of mine).

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    DON'T READ THIS BOOK, unless you've got the patience, stamina, and requisite taste for a quintessential mid-Victorian novel. If you don't, you'll think The Woman in White is terribly overwrought and 500 pages too long. If you like Victorian writing, you'll think this is a well-drawn, balanced novel with characters to root for, characters to despise, a twisting plot that rolls up seamlessly, and narrated ingeniously from multiple points of view. If you're unsure whether you like or dislike Victor DON'T READ THIS BOOK, unless you've got the patience, stamina, and requisite taste for a quintessential mid-Victorian novel. If you don't, you'll think The Woman in White is terribly overwrought and 500 pages too long. If you like Victorian writing, you'll think this is a well-drawn, balanced novel with characters to root for, characters to despise, a twisting plot that rolls up seamlessly, and narrated ingeniously from multiple points of view. If you're unsure whether you like or dislike Victorian writing, this book is an outstanding introductory choice, and it's one that I recommend unreservedly, to you and to my friends. Some facts in its favor: it was considered the first English sensation novel of the psychological mystery genre, has been continuously in print for 150 years, has a 4+ star rating from over 5700 Goodread reviews, and was written by a guy named Wilkie. The most prominent, intrinsic hurdle of The Woman in White is the writing. If you haven't had exposure to authors such as Charles Dickens, Henry James, Victor Hugo, the Bronte sisters, Oliver Wendell Holmes, then you haven't been tested by fire with the length and circuitousness of Victorian writing. It could take a page or paragraph to describe how a character moved. It's at once beautiful, savory, complete, and exact. However, readers may complain that it's simply unnecessary verbiage. I'll give you an example: I waited where I was, to ascertain whether his object was to come to close quarters and speak, on this occasion. To my surprise, he passed on rapidly, without saying a word, without even looking up in my face as he went by. This was such a complete inversion of the course of proceeding which I had every reason to expect on his part, that my curiosity, or rather my suspicion, was aroused, and I determined, on my side, to keep him cautiously in view, and to discover what the business might be on which he was now employed. (p. 503) This could be easily rewritten as: I waited, but he passed me without a glance. His action surprised me, so I followed him to discover what his intentions were. If this was, in fact, how it was written, then the story would be 200 pages and selling as a cheap, mass-market paperback best read on a beach vacation. No, we read novels like The Woman in White first and foremost because of the writing--the convoluted but balanced thought, the investigation of intent from multiple sides, the uber-descriptive narrative that doesn't rest. If your thoughts tend to regurgitate and grind on situations that occur to you throughout the day, then you understand and enjoy this type of lilting writing that revisits a topic over and over again. I find myself rereading with amazement and pleasure the skill of word and sentence placement. I think with a smirk what it'd be like today if we talked like this to each other: "Madame, may I question with all appropriate respect, &c, &c, if this book held betwixt my thumb and finger is, surely, the same novel as that penned by the indefatigable Wilkie Collins, esq., for if it is the veritable same, I intend with diligence, and without delay, at least delay on my part, not counting that which I may encounter on my ambulation home, to read immediately the book for which I inquire now, pray tell? Fantastic--not my writing--but the idea that we English speakers once talked like this, and could again if we read nothing but Victorian novels. I'd like to try a couple months with language like this around and about town today. My favorite character, by a whimper, was Mr. Fairlie. What a pansy. But, written so humorously, each time he entered a scene my reaction was, "Oh geez, what ailment now." Mr. Hartwright was a sleuthing superstar, and since he predates Sherlock Holmes, I see a lot of similarity between the two, and can't help but wonder if Sir Arthur Conan Doyle based his character on Mr Hartwright. The team of Count Fosco and Percival Glyde were deeply written and their greed, bombast, and evil were delectable to the last. If anyone has read Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet, tell me if I'm wrong to see a striking similarity between Follet's evil duo and Collins' team of Fosco and Glyde. Follet's portrayal of greed and evil fell flat, whereas Collins left you silently rooting for Fosco's escape. There's a few small problems with The Woman in White, but they're perfectly Victorian, yet personal peeves. For example, can a woman swoon from bad news and take months to recover? Can a person die from a broken heart? Small issues in a such a tightly woven story. The Woman in White is a great mystery that kept me turning pages. I award 5 stars to less than 10% of the books I read, and Wilkie Collins' met that rarified degree. I liked the good characters, disliked the bad ones, and couldn't predict the ending until I got there; it's as simple as that. Best lines about women: 1. Women can resist a man's love, a man's fame, a man's personal appearance, and a man's money; but they cannot resist a man's tongue, when he knows how to talk to them. Miriam's diary (p. 258) 2. "Human ingenuity, my friend, has hitherto only discovered two ways in which a man can manage a woman. One way is to knock her down--a method largely adopted by the brutal lower orders of the people, but utterly abhorrent to the refined and educated classes above them. The other way (much longer, much more difficult, but, in the end, not less certain) is never to accept a provocation at a woman's hands. It holds with animals, it holds with children, and it holds with women, who are nothing but children grown up." Evil Fosco (p.327) 3. "Where, in the history of the world, has a man of my order ever been found without a woman in the background, self-immolated on the altar of his life?" Evil Fosco (p. 629) New words: frouzy, trumpery, glutinous

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Keeten

    “This is the story of what a Woman's patience can endure, and what a Man's resolution can achieve.” Walter Hartright, his name is a tip off regarding his character, is walking down the street, his mind absorbed with his own problems, when suddenly: ”In one moment, every drop of blood in my body was brought to a stop by the touch of a hand laid lightly and suddenly on my shoulder from behind me. I turned on the instant, with my fingers tightening round the handle of my stick. There, in the mid “This is the story of what a Woman's patience can endure, and what a Man's resolution can achieve.” Walter Hartright, his name is a tip off regarding his character, is walking down the street, his mind absorbed with his own problems, when suddenly: ”In one moment, every drop of blood in my body was brought to a stop by the touch of a hand laid lightly and suddenly on my shoulder from behind me. I turned on the instant, with my fingers tightening round the handle of my stick. There, in the middle of the broad, bright high-road – there, as if it had that moment sprung out of the earth or dropped from the heaven – stood the figure of a solitary woman, dressed from head to foot in white garments, her face bent in grave inquiry on mine, her hand pointing to the dark cloud over London, as I faced her. I was far too seriously startled by the suddenness with which this extraordinary apparition stood before me, in the dead of night and in that lonely place, to ask what she wanted. The strange woman spoke first. ‘Is that the road to London?’” A damsel in distress is irresistible to most men, but impossible to ignore for men of good character. Hartright is still reeling from her ghostly appearance out of the gloom and dark of night, made more dramatic by her pale apparel. Before he can assemble his thoughts, she is in a carriage being spirited away. Men appear quickly behind her, whom he soon learns are chasing her. Hartright makes every effort to catch up with her to offer her further assistance, but does not find her. ”She has escaped from my asylum.” Hartright is left with a mystery, but will soon discover that this mystery will become an obsession as the woman in white proves inexplicably to be tied to the woman he will fall in love with. He takes a job as a drawing master, instructing two half sisters as different as night and day. One is fair, and one is dark. One is pretty, and one is...well...unattractive. The word ugly is actually used, but once I learn of Marian Halcombe’s character, it is impossible to associate such a hideous word to such a lovely person. Marian is brave, brilliant, and resourceful. In my opinion, one of the most interesting and fascinating women to appear in a Victorian novel. She becomes the pillar of strength for her sister, as well as for Hartright, as they are inescapably bound together against the machinations of men intent upon their destruction. Marian, we soon learn, can hold her own. “Any woman who is sure of her own wits, is a match, at any time, for a man who is not sure of his own temper.” Hartright, of course, falls in love with Laura Fairlie, the fair and beautiful one, an heiress, an orphan, a woman in need of protecting. Unfortunately, fate has conspired against them. She is promised to another one, the odious Sir Percival Glyde. Glyde is in serious financial trouble and needs her fortune to keep his creditors from dismantling his estate brick by brick. His closest friend is an Italian named Count Fosco, who conspires with him in a most insidious plot to take everything from Laura including, quite possibly, her own life. Count “Never Missed a Meal” Fosco I am a bit disappointed in Hartright. Laura is certainly in need of a white knight, but Marian would have been a woman to build a life with. He does love and respect Marian, but never sees her as a potential mate, even after he discovers that Laura will soon be unattainable. It is only a small disappointment. We all see ourselves from a very young age married to someone beautiful or handsome. Hartright, whose heart is always in the right place, is attracted to Laura’s beauty, but also to her vulnerability. Marian is neither pretty nor is she helpless. The twist and turns to the plot are wonderfully revealed. This is considered one of the first detective novels as Hartright does apply investigative methods to his research while attempting to thwart the plans of Glyde and Fosco. Wilkie Collins’s background in studying the law also becomes readily apparent at different stages of the novel. The writing style is true Victorian style. I must caution you: if you are not a fan of Charles Dickens or Anthony Trollope, you might find this novel difficult. I read the book mostly late at night with the fireplace crackling and popping next to me. The wind has been blowing steadily the last few days, and as it moved along the gutters and through the bushes outside my window, it created sounds that made me snuggle deeper into my reading chair and feel as much as possible as if I were in England in the 1850s. Collins does explore the idea of women’s rights. The law does not protect their rights in near the same fashion that it protects a man’s rights. A woman truly had to live by her wits to keep from being marginalized by the complete and nearly unassailable power of her husband or her father. Marian was a match for any man, but she needed much more than her intelligence to outflank the injustice and the discrimination under which she was forced to live. Collins was a bohemian who did not believe in marriage. He had no qualms about living with more than one lover at once. I’m sure Dickens marvelled at his ability to pull of this feat in such a conservative time period. They were good friends, Dickens and Collins, but there was a break in their friendship towards the end of Dickens’ life when he was working on the novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood, ”his last and unfinished novel, with its running and hostile allusion to Collins’ The Moonstone.” I can’t think that Dickens was jealous. He was the champion among writers at the time. Collins fell out of favor over time while Dickens’ books soared. Only recently has Collins started to be regarded as one of the important Victorian writers. The Dickens Family (and friends) in 1864 - (l-r)Charles Dickens, Jr., Kate Dickens, Charles Dickens, Miss Hogarth, Mary Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Georgina Hogarth The Woman in White, as promised, does return to the plot, but you’ll have to read the book to discover exactly who she is, why she dresses in white, and what she has to do with the goings on at Limmeridge House? It is a chilling tale that must have elicited more than one gasp from the lips of Victorian women, young and old, as they discovered the truth behind the lies. I must go now: “My hour for tea is half-past five, and my buttered toast waits for nobody.” If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten

  5. 4 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    "Why are we to stop her, sir? What has she done?" "Done! She has escaped from my Asylum. Don't forget: a woman in white. Drive on." I loved, loved, loved the first bits of the book! Oh yeah, there will be SPOILERS so stop right there! . . . I loved Walter! I thought he was going to be in the whole book and that's where I started to get a might irritated. Anyhoo, so Walter gets a job instructing Miss Laura Fairlie and Miss Halcombe. I might mention that his employer, Mr. Fairlie, was a complete t "Why are we to stop her, sir? What has she done?" "Done! She has escaped from my Asylum. Don't forget: a woman in white. Drive on." I loved, loved, loved the first bits of the book! Oh yeah, there will be SPOILERS so stop right there! . . . I loved Walter! I thought he was going to be in the whole book and that's where I started to get a might irritated. Anyhoo, so Walter gets a job instructing Miss Laura Fairlie and Miss Halcombe. I might mention that his employer, Mr. Fairlie, was a complete twat! Oh well duh, on the road to his destination, Walter meets the woman in white. She's scared out of her wits but Walter does his best to calm her and they walk together. We don't see much of the woman in white in the book. She puts in an appearance here and there. So Walter gets to his place of employment where he is to live and teach the girls and other odd bits. And of course, he falls in love with the delicate Miss Fairlie. BUT. She is to be married to this twat named Sir Percival Glyde. Miss Halcombe tries to get her to end the engagement when they get an ominous letter from the woman in white warning about him. And then their solicitor is unhappy with the arrangement when said hubby to be refuses for Miss Fairlie's (Laura) money to be willed to Marian (Miss Halcombe) and friends. And her twat father doesn't care. I swear I wanted to smack the hell out of people. And alas, she marries the jerk! Are you serious right now? You know he's going to kill you honey if you don't sign it over. In the meantime, Walter was sent away by Marian which sucked. Laura had fallen in love with him too but went on with the other marriage. She was an idiot too. But I liked how it turned out in the end so there! So here we go with the ladies at Laura's new home with a couple of other twats hanging around. The count and his wife. They needed a bullet to the head too. We have a few more scenes with the woman in white, some more people needed smacking, a death, Walter back in the picture to take care of the twats, take care of the ladies, another death and some babies 😄 I enjoyed the book even though I thought it could be shorter. Happy Reading! Mel ❤️

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    "I am thinking," he remarked quietly, "whether I shall add to the disorder in this room by scattering your brains about the fireplace."Written in 1859-60 by William "Wilkie" Collins and originally published in serial form in Charles Dickens' magazine (Wilkie and Charles were good friends), The Woman in White is considered one of the earliest examples of detective fiction, though it's really just the better part of the second half of this book that has any real detecting going on. Before that you "I am thinking," he remarked quietly, "whether I shall add to the disorder in this room by scattering your brains about the fireplace."Written in 1859-60 by William "Wilkie" Collins and originally published in serial form in Charles Dickens' magazine (Wilkie and Charles were good friends), The Woman in White is considered one of the earliest examples of detective fiction, though it's really just the better part of the second half of this book that has any real detecting going on. Before that you have to wade through star-crossed love and the heroine acting all self-sacrificing (<---very bad idea, at least in this case). There's quite a bit of Victorian melodrama and some eyebrow-raising coincidences, but also some unforgettable characters and some intense suspense in the second half. Walter Hartright - note the symbolic name - is a young art teacher. One night he helps a distressed lady dressed in white, who was wandering down the street, find a cab. After she's gone, a couple of men chasing her tell Walter that she's escaped from an asylum. Oops! But the lady in white will soon affect his life more than he can know... Walter takes a job for a few months teaching art to a couple of gently bred young ladies, Laura Fairlie and Marian Halcombe. Laura is lovely, quiet and timid (and also, BTW, bears a startling resemblance to the mysterious woman in white); Marian has a singularly unattractive face but a charming, outgoing personality. Guess which one Walter falls for? And Laura loves him too, though they never speak of it, except to Marian. **some spoilers in the next 3 paragraphs for the first half of the book** But Laura is an heiress, out of Walter's class, and she's also engaged to a older baronet, as arranged by her family, so she and Walter sadly part ways. He goes on an expedition to South America to let time, distance and adventure heal his wounded heart. She marries her baronet, Sir Percival Glyde, figuring, I guess, that she might as well, and he's always been kind to her. After the marriage - which quickly goes south since Glyde only married Laura for her money, and has no interest in being nice to her once they're married - strange things start to happen. Glyde wants Laura to sign papers (she still has control of her fortune) but won't show her what she's signing, hiding everything except the line where she's supposed to sign. Even in Victorian times, that's pretty alarming for the lady involved. Marian, who's living with Laura and Sir Percival, is very concerned for the fragile Laura's wellbeing. And she deeply mistrusts Percival and his other houseguests, the huge, urbane Count Fosco, who acts all affable but has a dangerous glint in his eyes, and his subservient wife, who stands to inherit a chunk of money if Laura dies. Count Fosco Things get more complicated from there, but I don't want to spoil it. The actual mystery is a little unlikely but it's an intriguing read. The novel had a few parts that were long-winded and/or sentimental in that distinctively Victorian kind of way, and (also typical of older books) there are a lot of stereotypes. For instance, the women tend to faint or get ill rather than be tough and useful, although Marian is generally an exception to that rule. But the story really sucked me in the further I got into it. Marian and Count Fosco are truly unique and memorable characters. Identity is a recurring theme, for the villains as well as some of the main characters, as are hidden secrets. I especially liked the quasi-investigative structure of the novel, with narration by multiple characters, each with his or her own distinctive voice and point of view. The kind-hearted, loyal Walter; Marian, writing in her diary; Laura's whiny invalid uncle, who just wants to be left alone and is of no help to Laura in her trials; the prideful Count Fosco, weaving his plans; a couple of servants: all of them get their turn explaining their part of the events in this book. I thought that was really well done. As a lawyer, I found the lawyer's description of marriage settlements particularly interesting, along with the negotiations between him (acting for Laura) and Sir Percival's lawyer. And when he says, and then repeats, "No daughter of mine should have been married to any man alive under such a settlement as I was compelled to make for Laura Fairlie," it was a chilling moment. Another Uncle Fairlie fail Wilkie also has a sense of humor, which pops out occasionally. Walter describes Mrs. Vesey, Laura's former governess, so:Some of us rush through life, and some of us saunter through life. Mrs. Vesey sat through life... A mild, a compliant, an unutterably tranquil and harmless old lady, who never by any chance suggested the idea that she had been actually alive since the hour of her birth. Nature has so much to do in this world, and is engaged in generating such a vast variety of co-existent productions, that she must surely be now and then too flurried and confused to distinguish between the different processes that she is carrying on at the same time. Starting from this point of view, it will always remain my private persuasion that Nature was absorbed in making cabbages when Mrs. Vesey was born, and that the good lady suffered the consequences of a vegetable preoccupation in the mind of the Mother of us all.Buddy read with the Non-crunchy Cool Classics Pantsless group. Most of the group begged off - they seem to have some sort of aversion to 600+ page Victorian mysteries - but Evgeny, Jeff, Stepheny and maybe one or two others made it through the whole thing with me. Yay team! Period illustrations are from early editions of The Woman in White.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins, First Published 1860. 'In one moment, every drop of blood in my body was brought to a stop... There, as if it had that moment sprung out of the earth, stood the figure of a solitary Woman, dressed from head to foot in white' The Woman in White famously opens with Walter Hartright's eerie encounter on a moonlit London road. Engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie, Walter becomes embroiled in the sinister intrigues of Sir Percival Glyde and his The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins, First Published 1860. 'In one moment, every drop of blood in my body was brought to a stop... There, as if it had that moment sprung out of the earth, stood the figure of a solitary Woman, dressed from head to foot in white' The Woman in White famously opens with Walter Hartright's eerie encounter on a moonlit London road. Engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie, Walter becomes embroiled in the sinister intrigues of Sir Percival Glyde and his 'charming' friend Count Fosco, who has a taste for white mice, vanilla bonbons, and poison. Pursuing questions of identity and insanity along the paths and corridors of English country houses and the madhouse, The Woman in White is the first and most influential of the Victorian genre that combined Gothic horror with pyschological realism. Matthew Sweet's introduction explores the phenomenon of Victorian 'sensation' fiction, and discusses Wilkie Collins's biographical and societal influences. Included in this edition are appendices on theatrical adaptations of the novel and its serialization history. Characters: Walter Hartright, Marian Halcombe, Anne Catherick, Sir Percival Glyde, Count Fosco, Frederick Fairlie, Laura Fairlie, Madame Fosco, and Mr. Gilmore. عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «زن سفیدپوش»؛ «بانوی سفیدپوش»؛ «سفیدپوشی در لیمریج»؛ نویسنده: ویلکی کالینز؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز دوم ماه دسامبر سال1998میلادی عنوان یک: زن سفیدپوش، نویسنده: ویلکی کالینز؛ مترجم: نودهشتیا، نوع فایل: پی.دی.اف، در524ص؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسنگان بریتانیا - سده19م عنوان دو: زن سفیدپوش، نویسنده: ویلکی کالینز؛ مترجم: آذرمیدخت کاوه‌خوری‌، پروین قائمی، ناشر ت‍ه‍ران، ن‍ش‍ر ق‍طره‌، تاریخ اثر سال1376، در733ص، شابک9645958482؛ عنوان سه: بانوی سفیدپوش، نویسنده: ویلکی کالینز؛ مترجم: علی‌اکبر دستمالچی، ناشر تبریز، مولود، تاریخ اثر سال‏‫1387، در736ص، شابک9786009025899؛ عنوان: زن سفید پوش، مترجم: نسرین زارع؛ نشر وصال، سال1383، در128ص؛ شابک9648010048؛ فهرست: مقدمه؛ فصل1: «زن سفید پوش، ص13»؛ فصل2: «والتر به لیمبریج میرسد، ص18»؛ فصل3: «هشداری به لورا، ص23»؛ فصل4: «در قبرستان کلیسا، ص27»؛ فصل5: «ان کاتریک ناپدید میشود، ص32»؛ فصل6: آقای گیلمر وارد عمل میشود؛ ص35»؛ فصل7: «آقای پرسیوال توضیح میدهد، ص40»؛ فصل8: «مقدمات ازدواج، ص46»؛ فصل9: «لورا برای ازدواج آماده میشود، ص50»؛ بخش دوم: فصل1: «در بلک واتر، ص57»؛ فصل2: «آقای مریمن پیغام میآورد، ص61»؛ فصل3: «آقای پرسیوال عصبانی است، ص65»؛ فصل4: «سایه کنار دریاچه، ص69»؛ فصل5: «قرار ملاقات به تعویق میافتد، ص73»؛ فصل6: «ماریان حرفهای عجیبی میشنود، ص77»؛ فصل7: «خواهرها جدا میشوند، ص82»؛ فصل8: «مرگ ناگهانی، ص87»؛ فصل9: «بازگشت به قبرستان کلیسا، ص90»؛ بخش سوم: فصل1: «در تیمارستان، ص95»؛ فصل2: «والتر نقشه ی عملی طرح میکند، ص101»؛ فصل3: «خانم کاتریک رازی را فاش میکند، ص106»؛ فصل4: سند جرم، ص110»؛ فصل5: دومین مرگ، ص115»؛ فصل6: «والتر پاداش میگیرد، ص120»؛ فصل7: «پایان ماموریت، ص123»؛ مقدمه کتاب: (این داستان، بازگو کننده ­ی آن چیزی است، که در بردباری یک زن، می­گنجد؛ و مصلحت اندیشی یک مرد، آن را میسر می­سازد؛ اگر میشد به عملکرد ماشین قانون، در کشف موارد مشکوک، اعتماد کرد، و رسیدگی به پرونده­ هاییکه، برای بازجویی ارجاع می­شوند، اگر قابل کنترل بود، امکان داشت، با استمدادی اندک، از تاثیر و نفوذ طلا، که هر امری را، تسهیل می­کند، و مثل روغن گریس، هر چرخی را، به راه می­اندازد، وقایعی را که، در این کتاب، بازگو می­شوند، در دادگاهی علنی مطرح، و کلی هم مشتری، و بیننده ی پروپاقرص، برایش دست و پا کرد.)؛ پایان نقل از مقدمه کتاب داستان، شیوه ی روایتی جالبی دارد، هر یک از شخصیت­های داستان، قسمتی از رویداد را، از دید خویش بازمی­گویند؛ «زن سفید پوش»، تنها یک داستان عاشقانه، یا جنایی نیست؛ بلکه تلفیقی از ماجرای عاشقانه ی «والتر هارترایت»، و از سوی دیگر، شخصیت مرموز «سِر پرسیوال گلاید» است، که دل خوانشگر را، در فراز و نشیب داستان، میرباید؛ دلپذیرترین اثر «ویلکی کالینز» است؛ رمانی، پر از تعلیق، که راوی داستانش، جوانی هنرمند است، به نام «والتر هارترایت»، که برای تدریس نقاشی، به دو دوشیزه ی اشراف‌زاده، «لندن» را، به مقصد دهکده ­ی «لیمریج»، ترک می‌کند؛ در جاده­ ی «لندن»، زنی سفیدپوش و مضطرب، از «والتر»، یاری می‌خواهد، زن در گفت و شنود، از خانه‌ ای می‌گوید، که مدرس جوان، قرار است، به آنجا برود؛ «والتر» پس از اقامت در «لیمریج»، دلباخته­ ی «لورا» (یکی از دوشیزگان) می‌شود؛ اما پس از چندی، درمی‌یابد که قرار است ایشان، با نجیب‌زاده‌ ای ازدواج کند و.....؛ تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 15/11/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 27/08/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  8. 4 out of 5

    karen

    this is a weighty relic of a book. it's pretty enjoyable, just don't expect any surprises, unless you have missed the last 20 years of police procedurals on the television set. i'm sure in its day it was chock full of surprises, but i have to shudder at the contrivance of characters talking aloud to themselves while unknown to them, people hide in cupboards or whatnot, overhearing exactly the information they are most desirous of. it does make me yearn for these times when it seems pulling a con this is a weighty relic of a book. it's pretty enjoyable, just don't expect any surprises, unless you have missed the last 20 years of police procedurals on the television set. i'm sure in its day it was chock full of surprises, but i have to shudder at the contrivance of characters talking aloud to themselves while unknown to them, people hide in cupboards or whatnot, overhearing exactly the information they are most desirous of. it does make me yearn for these times when it seems pulling a con was child's play: no paper trails, no integrity of the postal service... so much trust.. so much weakness... in this society, i would be some kind of pirate queen, stealing identities at will, capturing heiresses, forging signatures.. and i would never, ever, make private, compromising, confessions in my chamber. come to my blog!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    Walter Hartright a struggling drawing teacher, is walking at midnight back to Victorian London after visiting his widowed mother and sister at their cottage, in the suburbs to say goodbye, a quiet trip nobody around, the road empty everything's still, not even the leaves on the trees flicker in the blackness, nothing only his moving steps are heard, thinking about a lucrative job in a faraway county of England, that he reluctantly took ( he has a bad feeling about) because his friend Professor P Walter Hartright a struggling drawing teacher, is walking at midnight back to Victorian London after visiting his widowed mother and sister at their cottage, in the suburbs to say goodbye, a quiet trip nobody around, the road empty everything's still, not even the leaves on the trees flicker in the blackness, nothing only his moving steps are heard, thinking about a lucrative job in a faraway county of England, that he reluctantly took ( he has a bad feeling about) because his friend Professor Pesca, a dwarf from Italy arranged it. Shock, something touches him out of the darkness... a ghostly, sick looking woman dressed all in white appears from the shadows, impossible this creature cannot be real... it speaks. A story unfolds, a young woman with a secret put in an insane asylum without being insane , a conspiracy to steal not only wealth but identity. Anne Catherick (The Woman in White) strangely resembles Laura Fairlie, one of two young ladies Mr.Hartright has been hired by her rich, unsocial invalid uncle Fredrick Fairlie, to teach watercolor painting, never mind that she and her half-sister Marian Halcombe have no talent, they need something to pass the time. Laura is very pretty, her sister is very intelligent but plain, but both are devoted to each other, a lonely life at Limmeridge House in Cumberland by the sea. Their uncle rarely sees them, quite fearful of his health a sick hypochondriac, ( kind of funny) not a man of feelings. A sudden love between Walter and Laura, ensues, the teacher and the student but her older wiser sister Marian doesn't approve, Laura is engaged to Sir Percival Glyde, 25 years her senior, a gentleman of seemingly good manners and taste a baronet, who her late father insisted she marry (men could do that then). Mr.Hartright is forced to leave the premises early, later traveling to the jungles of Central America to forget but doesn't, by Marian ( a event that she greatly regrets soon, and Laura more so), his three month employment shortened to two, Mr.Fairlie is not happy, why the puzzled man thinks can't people keep their promises anymore? The extremely obese, brilliant and mysterious Count Fosco, an Italian nobleman he says and good friend of Sir Percival, arrives with his wife Eleanor, she is the icy aunt of Laura and sister of Uncle Frederick, without any family affections. The Count loves animals but isn't fond of people, his pets are his best friends birds and white mice, he plays with, they adore him too. The Woman in White, sends an anonymous letter to the miserable Miss Fairlie, the future bride warning her that Glyde is not a good person. Anne is creeping about in the neighborhood, the Count and the Baronet are nervous , why? But the unhappy wedding day comes between Laura and Percival, that nobody wants but Sir Percival, he has a motive not love but wealth, she has money he has none. Predictably the couple travel across Europe, see many fascinating things on their long honeymoon and hate each other...Back in sweet England at the home of Sir Percival's, Blackwater Park, an appropriate name for the estate, in need of repairs the conspiracy goes forward, Laura and Marian are alone to battle him and the Count and his faithful wife, Eleanor the lurking Anne is still floating about, by the dismal lake nearby, something has to give soon. A wonderful novel from long ago, quite a mystery to be unraveled and one of the first written, still a superb read for fans of the genre, make that great literature.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sean Barrs

    The Woman in White promises so much and delivers very little. The first hundred pages of the book are gripping and intense. Wilkie Collins begins with an atmospheric mystery that is exciting and almost haunting. I really wanted to know all the secrets the story had to offer. So even when the book began to grow a little dull around the middle I carried on reading because I hoped that the dryness would be worth it, my patience was bound to be rewarded. (I was so terribly mistaken.) The big reveal a The Woman in White promises so much and delivers very little. The first hundred pages of the book are gripping and intense. Wilkie Collins begins with an atmospheric mystery that is exciting and almost haunting. I really wanted to know all the secrets the story had to offer. So even when the book began to grow a little dull around the middle I carried on reading because I hoped that the dryness would be worth it, my patience was bound to be rewarded. (I was so terribly mistaken.) The big reveal at the end is so ridiculously anti-climactic that I actually laughed. That’s what I had been waiting for all this time? For a book like this, one that is driven by the plot rather than the characters, it is such a major downfall. The real problem this story had is its pacing. There is simply too much middle where the story just doesn't go anywhere and the characters fret over the same facts but get no closer to understanding what any of it means. I grew bored of the endless speculation and marriage politics. I wanted something to happen beyond the seemingly endless conversation that held no substance. And the entire situation was agony. It was just so frustrating! It simply did not need to happen whatsoever and was predictable to a fault. When you get into bed with a nasty person it’s hardly surprising that your life turns to shit; yet, for the characters it came as a drastic shock. Wake up! Look at the real world! Surely, surely, nobody would be that stupid? I gave up caring. It was a relief to finish.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    Laura Fairlie’s journal – June 6th, 1855 This morning in the garden I sketched a small flower and was overcome with exhaustion. I retired to my room, not before kissing my dearest darling Marian, and lay down upon my sofa for five hours. What a day! In the evening I played upon the piano, a quite difficult piece, which caused me to have to retire early and sleep for eighteen hours, once my maid Fannie undressed me and stroked my eyebrows. Usually Fannie from excess of sentimental attachment will Laura Fairlie’s journal – June 6th, 1855 This morning in the garden I sketched a small flower and was overcome with exhaustion. I retired to my room, not before kissing my dearest darling Marian, and lay down upon my sofa for five hours. What a day! In the evening I played upon the piano, a quite difficult piece, which caused me to have to retire early and sleep for eighteen hours, once my maid Fannie undressed me and stroked my eyebrows. Usually Fannie from excess of sentimental attachment will gently rain down white rose petals upon my counterpaine as I fall asleep to infuse my dreams with sweetness. Alas she could not do that this evening as she was required to assist the scullery undermaid in clearing the waterpond of poisonous snails, so I slept but fitfully. Marian joined me as usual. Laura Fairlie’s journal – June 7th. A man smiled at me and I became very ill. Marian Halcombe’s journal – June 8th. As is universally understood, women are irrational creatures much given to frivolous whim and it is a situation earnestly to be desired that they be closely commanded by their menfolk, who at all times understand their best interests better than they themselves. I believe Sir Percival is trying to kill me, but that, as I have intimated, is his prerogative. I may mention that Sir Percival is the husband of my half-sister sweet kind innocent trusting pure lovely slenderwaisted Laura. A man may beat a dog to tame it, and that is only just. Sometimes, I confess, I dare to think that a woman is better than a dog in the eyes of Our Maker. The scullery undermaid has died from something, I know not what. Marian Halcombe’s journal – June 9th. It is the only joy left to me that I should be allowed each night to clasp to my bosom this divine creature my half sister Laura and sleep with her in my arms which can and on occasion does produce a cramp in both arms that will not dissipate all the following morning however vigorously I swing my limbs around. But I say a cheap price to pay for such infinitude of bliss. Today her husband shot both of Laura’s pet dachsunds, claiming an accident whilst cleaning his pistols. I am of a different opinion as I have detected that they were shot five and forty minutes apart. There can surely not have been two identical accidents whilst cleaning pistols on one morning. I simply cannot believe it. I believe Sir Percival wishes to shut us up in an asylum. As we look exactly like two existing patients in a private asylum in north London, this will probably happen on Tuesday of next week. Marian Halcombe’s journal – July 11th From my leafy vantage point I could see the clearly defined portly form of Count Fosco in the fallacious quivering moonlight. He had crept up to sweet kind innocent trusting pure lovely slenderwaisted Laura’s bedroom window and was engaged in spying upon her, for obscure motives. There he saw the young tender limbs of my own heavenly Laura clenching to her bedroom door frame as she leaned precariously out of her room in order best to overhear her lawful husband Sir Percival’s conversation, her husband in name only, who was, at that precise moment, in the very act of eavesdropping on me to discover how much I knew of his plan to kill me by means of an accident whilst cleaning his pistols. Laura Fairlie’s journal – July 12th. My husband addressed me in these terms : "Many a fine brown egg must be destroyed to make one omelette!" "Sir, what omelette is that? Make your meaning plain." "What omelette, madam? Why, I – I am the omelette!" Laura Fairlie’s journal – July 17th Today I died.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Greendale

    Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend. A mysterious tale spun by a writer with a penchant for drama and a lawyer's practicality. The Woman in White will tickle readers who enjoy books where the truth lies hidden beneath the biases of characters who deliver their version of the story through a first-person narrative. Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend. A mysterious tale spun by a writer with a penchant for drama and a lawyer's practicality. The Woman in White will tickle readers who enjoy books where the truth lies hidden beneath the biases of characters who deliver their version of the story through a first-person narrative.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bionic Jean

    The Woman in White is an extraordinary book. It captivated the reading public of the time, and in parts is almost as breathlessly mesmerising and gripping to read now. Wilkie Collins professed the “old-fashioned” idea, that “the primary object of a work of fiction should be to tell a story”, and what a story he has given us here! Any list of “the greatest novels of all time” will probably feature this one. When it was first published, it wowed the reading public, and manufacturers got on the ban The Woman in White is an extraordinary book. It captivated the reading public of the time, and in parts is almost as breathlessly mesmerising and gripping to read now. Wilkie Collins professed the “old-fashioned” idea, that “the primary object of a work of fiction should be to tell a story”, and what a story he has given us here! Any list of “the greatest novels of all time” will probably feature this one. When it was first published, it wowed the reading public, and manufacturers got on the bandwagon, creating “Woman in White” perfume and “Woman in White” cloaks and bonnets. There were “Woman in White” waltzes and quadrilles displayed in music-shops. “Walter” became a fashionable name for babies, and the names of other characters in the novel became popular too. Cats were named “Fosco” and instantly looked more sinister in their owners’ eyes. The poet Edward FitzGerald even named his boat, “Marian Halcombe”. It can truly be said that this novel was a sensation. It is quite apt then, that The Woman in White is generally regarded as the first of the Victorian “sensation” novels. Not only did it establish a new genre, arising from melodramatic novels, gothic and romantic novels, and drawing on “penny dreadfuls” and fictionalised criminal biographies, but it immediately gave rise to many imitators. No longer would gruesome and spectacular crimes only happen in fantastic Medieval castles, but behind the doors of ordinary domestic environments. Virtuous women would still be menaced by dastardly cads, but the element of realism was key. Mrs Henry Wood’s “East Lynne” was published the next year in 1861, and Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s “Lady Audley’s Secret”, the year after (1862). And to top all this, The Woman in White is also considered to be among the first mystery novels. Yet in 1860, at the time of publication, Wilkie Collins was still very much in the shadow of Charles Dickens. Back in April 1852, the twenty-seven year old Wilkie Collins had already turned his back on convention. His father wanted him to become a clergyman, but after some agonising, Wilkie Collins went a different way, and trained to become a barrister. He completed his legal studies and was called to the bar in 1851, but never formally practised, instead deciding to become a writer. Wilkie Collins then began writing for his friend Charles Dickens’s weekly magazine, “Household Words”. Dickens, then forty years of age, was by now a literary phenomenon, with his fingers in lots of pies. Although Dickens himself earned over a thousand pounds per annum from his work on the magazine, Wilkie Collins was initially paid by the column. Four years later, in September 1856, he finally became a staff writer who would be paid the standard rate of five guineas per week. But he was still one of many in Dickens’s “stable”. For Victorian readers, to read a novel in serial form was the norm, and quite a few of these serials have since become classic novels. Other major Victorian writers who also had their novels printed in serial form first, in Dickens’s magazines “Household Words” and “All the Year Round”, include Elizabeth Gaskell and Anthony Trollope. In fact The Woman in White was the very first novel to be published in Charles Dickens’s brand new weekly magazine “All the Year Round”, between 1859 and 1860. That very first weekly issue contained the concluding installment of Dickens’s “A Tale of Two Cities” followed immediately by the opening installment of a new novel with no author credited, a sensational “novel-with-a-secret”, which was called The Woman in White. Sales immediately increased! Holding back the author’s name may seem incredible to us now, but Charles Dickens was very strict that no authors in his magazines were ever named, so that he could keep them as his “staff writers”. Incidentally, a later issue during the run of The Woman in White, also has the start of “Framley Parsonage” and “East Lynne”. What a treasure trove these Victorian readers had in their magazines! Yet just two months after serialisation had started, Dickens was calling The Woman in White “masterly”, and later, Prince Albert admired it so much that he sent copies of the novel as gifts. Charles Dickens began writing his own sensation novel just months later, called “Great Expectations”. Both novels are thrilling even now, with a strong story line, gothic feel and complex plot. Both dealt with secrets, past and present, questions and doubts about identity and social position. Both made use of the ideas of suspect wills, forged documents, inheritances, secret marriages, and illegitimacy; themes very much in flux in the changing society in the Victorian era. What makes these novels so appealing to us now is that they are both exciting page-turners, with suspenseful mystery at their heart, and twists a-plenty. The Woman in White is a complex tale, with an unusual narrative structure. It is told by several narrators, and different forms, either as reported action, or diaries, or letters. In a way it resembles an epistolary novel, as each narrator has a distinct narrative voice. They form a chain of “witness” statements which gradually unravel a cunning conspiracy by (view spoiler)[ two memorable aristocratic monsters, Sir Percival Glyde and his despicable companion, one of the most seductive villains in Victorian literature, the Italian Count Fosco. (hide spoiler)] Switching between the different and diverse viewpoints, adds interest and depth to the story. We begin to wonder who is to be trusted, and who might be an unreliable narrator. We also see how some characters are vague, or naive, others are driven and passionate, yet others again are vain, or dissembling. Wilkie Collins is very much in the driving seat throughout this novel, carefully rationing out little pieces of the jigsaw, and disclosing the secret like a series of Russian dolls. He also manipulates our feelings, controlling who we think we trust. The entire novel is deviously plotted. The original structure was geared towards a “cliffhanger” at the end of each installment, leaving us wanting more. Oddly though, reading in the novel form we now have available, this is not as evident. Dickens’s serialised installments could all be chopped up neatly into between three and five chapters, but that was impossible with The Woman in White. The narratives varied in length from one page to, surprisingly, two hundred. Some are divided into parts, and sometimes an installment contained parts of one and part of another. One narrator even returns later. The only choice was to have a completely new structure for the novel itself: in three Epochs rather than Parts, and chapters of similar lengths sweeping across the original divisions completely independently. The chapter names are also slightly different, for instance this magnificent original narrative title: “The Narrative of Isidor Ottavio Baldassare Fosco. Count of the Holy Roman Empire. Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Brazen Crown. Perpetual Archmaster of the Rosicrucian Masons of Mesopotamia. Attached, in Honorary Capacities, to Societies Musical, Societies Medical, Societies Philosophical, and Societies General Benevolent, Throughout Europe & & &” has, disappointingly in the novel version, been reduced to merely: “The Story Continued by Isidor, Ottavio, Baldassare, Fosco” which hardly conjures up the enormous bombast and swagger of the character, whom I can imagine signing his name and illustrious titles with a satisfyingly sweeping flourish of his quill pen. These details so reminiscent of Dickens are sadly lost in most modern editions. Also, the suspense of the former endings of each installment are also lost, or rather subsumed into part of the action, but the whole flows just as well, and is just as addictive. Wilkie Collins clearly understood people very well. He has created a wealth of wonderful characters. There is the faithful and angelic Laura Fairlie, (view spoiler)[ entrapped by (hide spoiler)] the sinister, secretive Percival Glyde; there is her impossible uncle, the effete connoisseur of the Arts, Frederick Fairlee, source of much of the humour in this book, with his monumental selfishness and exaggerated hypochondria. There is of course the wonderful Count Fosco, charismatic and cunning, with his cockatoo, his canary-birds, and his pet white mice, who run over his immense body, partnered by his overly dutiful, malevolently vindictive wife. There is at least one young protagonist for Wilkie Collins’s readers to identify with in Walter Hartright, a young man with a strong sense of justice. Another is the intelligent, and resourceful Marian Halcombe, one of his most powerful creations. Some consider that with this mannish, eloquent character, Collins was attempting to create a positive portrayal of a lesbian woman, within the constraints of the time. This is possible, given Collins’s admiration of women, but it is all down to interpretation and subtext. Collins attacked middle-class hypocrisy, perhaps because he was himself so bohemian. Outwardly, he was a member of the Establishment. He belonged to the “Garrick Club” and to all outward appearances was a typical Victorian gentleman. Wilkie Collins lived respectably enough with his mother for many years, whilst setting up his mistress, Caroline Graves, in a house nearby. But in 1858, defying public opinion, and much to Dickens’s disapproval, Collins began living with Caroline and her daughter Harriet. Charles Dickens too, was very much the family man in public. In fact although he and Collins both professed to be Christians, they had extraordinary lifestyles, and their views of marriage were very different from each other, for such close friends. Although we know of Dickens’s long-term relationship with Nelly Ternan, as a man of propriety, he had attempted to keep this a closely guarded secret. Caroline kept a small shop nearby Collins’s home. She had married young, had a child, and been widowed. Wilkie Collins treated Harriet, whom he called Carrie, as his own daughter, and helped to pay for her education. The two stayed together for most of their lives although he refused to marry her as he disliked the institution of marriage. Extraordinarily for the time, Wilkie Collins also had another mistress, the working-class Martha Rudd, by whom he had three children, in a house just a few streets away. The second installment of The Woman in White begins very melodramatically, to modern eyes, with a young man, Walter Hartright meeting a strange woman dressed all in white, in the mist. This dramatic meeting was rumoured to be how he first met Caroline Graves, on a night-time walk over Hampstead Heath. In The Woman in White Walter stops, every drop of blood in his body frozen still by “the touch of a hand laid lightly and suddenly” upon his shoulder. For us, for the first time, we meet the mysterious Anne Catherick, whom we know as The Woman in White. But I shall not tell the story here. There are plenty of places where you can read a synopsis, should you want to, but wouldn’t that spoil all the twists? After serialisation, The Woman in White was published in novel form in 1860, and also that year produced on stage, where it was a sensation. When serialised works from his magazines were published in novel form, or on stage, Dickens allowed the advertising to specifically name the authors of the novels. The poster, which was designed for booksellers’ windows for The Woman in White was a woodcut by Frederick Walker, and at last Wilkie Collins could have his name attributed to the novel. The public loved The Woman in White, but contemporary critics were generally hostile. Now both critics and readers regard either this, or “The Moonstone” as his best novel, and it was certainly his own favourite. But at the time, he was very much viewed as an adjunct to Dickens, the two having collaborated on several articles and stories every year. 1857 had been a particularly fruitful year for the two, with the writing of three major works and the production of the play “The Frozen Deep”. Most recently Charles Dickens’s “The Haunted House” had included both authors, with Dickens’s stories framing stories by five others. Interestingly, Dickens’s next novel was to be “Great Expectations”, the most gothic of all his novels. The two writers were clearly writing very closely together, and producing a very similar feel to their works. In fact reading parts of this, Dickens’s influence seems very clear at some points, especially in a few of the cameo roles. Wilkie Collins had a wry touch which was all his own, but some humorous passages jump out as being Charles Dickens’s irrepressible silliness. Also sometimes the sarcasm (for instance of Marian Halcombe) is very reminiscent of Dickens. In 1862, the split finally came. Wilkie Collins resigned from Dickens’s staff, and the separation of Dickens’s and Collins’s identities as writers became more defined. Wilkie Collins was not to work with Dickens again until the pair collaborated on “No Thoroughfare” for the 1867 Christmas edition of the magazine. Immediately after this story came the first installment of “The Moonstone” in serial form, the novel that would finally establish Wilkie Collins’s reputation. However he was in poor health. He continued to suffer from gout, and it now especially affected his eyes. Within a year, the laudanum he was taking for his continual gout became a serious problem. Collins said of his early days with Dickens, “We saw each other every day, and were as fond of each other as men could be.” Wilkie Collins certainly suffered after the death of Charles Dickens in 1870. Some view Wilkie Collins as a draining influence on Charles Dickens, and it has even been suggested that the strain of mentoring Collins contributed to Dickens’s death. Perhaps the consequent loss of Dickens as both a friend and a literary mentor, partly caused Collins’s increased dependence upon laudanum. He certainly never bettered the novels he published in the 1860s. Wilkie Collins’s later novels contained more social commentary, and were not as sensational. This one and “The Moonstone” represent the best, the most intriguing, and most enduring of his career. With their themes of jealousy, murder and adultery, these thrilling tales are as electrifying, horrific, suspenseful, and intricately plotted as any Victorian classics you are likely to read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Fabian

    This is an obvious precursor to myriad crime dramas & the "sensationalist novel." I found it long but very rewarding. 600+ pages of different POV's (a novel concept then, but now widely utilized); two concrete settings; only five main characters (perhaps not more than 15 in all)... and it is all choreographed so beautifully. The settings are spooky; the motives of characters, although well known from the very start and from the intense descriptions throughout, still manage to surprise. No matter This is an obvious precursor to myriad crime dramas & the "sensationalist novel." I found it long but very rewarding. 600+ pages of different POV's (a novel concept then, but now widely utilized); two concrete settings; only five main characters (perhaps not more than 15 in all)... and it is all choreographed so beautifully. The settings are spooky; the motives of characters, although well known from the very start and from the intense descriptions throughout, still manage to surprise. No matter that The Secret deals with money & family skeletons-in-the-closet... & a bunch of classicist European stuff. All the elements I adore are here. It's Gothic, & the writer is like some British Hawthorne (Well at least I think so: & less like his peer, Charles Dickens*). No matter that bad guys get what they deserve in the end... they arrive at oh so unconventional ends. Really! And the pacing is exactly what a serial novel of this magnitude would require it to endure. I kept at it... found it invigorating, elegant, and haunting. *This was published in the middle of the 19th century, and along with one of Dicken's serialized masterpieces, this one also ran! Lucky short-living Londoners.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    This is my second time around with The Woman in White and I think my first impression was basically the same as this one. The first 1/3 of the book is boring as hell. It's full-up with a lot of Walter pining for Laura, Laura crying into her handkerchief, and Marian pushing everyone into doing the right thing. It's not only a bunch of class nonsense that separate our lovers, but it's chock full of silliness like people suffering a shock and nearly dying from it, or keeping insane promises to dead p This is my second time around with The Woman in White and I think my first impression was basically the same as this one. The first 1/3 of the book is boring as hell. It's full-up with a lot of Walter pining for Laura, Laura crying into her handkerchief, and Marian pushing everyone into doing the right thing. It's not only a bunch of class nonsense that separate our lovers, but it's chock full of silliness like people suffering a shock and nearly dying from it, or keeping insane promises to dead parents to their own detriment. <--no parent wants that! It was overdramatic bullshit and it made it very hard for me to stick with the story. The middle of the book kind of picks up the pace. You aren’t biting your nails or anything, but you are fully involved with the drama. Better. Much better. The last part of the book makes it all worthwhile. Colins does not skimp on doling out the secrets or wrapping up loose ends. You find out not only whodunnit but why they dunnit. You also get a fantastic ending for these characters that you’ve been on an emotional roller coaster with for such a long time. Well done, sir. This was serialized in a newspaper. Which means two things to me. One, this was a book made for the sweaty peasants, so it has a good chance of being quite a bit more fun than whatever shit was published for the intellectuals of the day. Two, it's going to read like a television series instead of a movie. In other words, the story is going to be less concise because it was meant to last longer and therefore will ramble a bit to pump up the page count. Prepare yourself accordingly. Bottom line for me is that if you can make it through the really dull bits in the beginning, you'll probably really like the way Collins manages to bring everything full circle and wrap it up. However, even with a well-narrated audiobook, I had to stop after a few hours of this and go listen to a trashy romance novel because I was just drifting off due to boredom. I eventually made myself sort of gut it out, and I'm glad I did, but I can honestly see why several of the people I've talked to never managed to finish this one. I'm giving it 4 stars but that's an overall grade that hinges on the last half being very well done. You really have to knuckle down and get ready to slog through a lot of dull garbage on the front half to get to the payoff. I know that this one is more well known, but I actually thought Moonstone was a better overall book. 2009 (view spoiler)[I almost gave up on this book. The first half of the story seemed to drag on and on endlessly. I'll admit I'm not one who appreciates vivid descriptions of scenery or weather. It had me screaming, "Get on with the good stuff!" more than a few times. That being said, the second half of the book was great! I stayed up well past my bedtime to finish it! There were quite a few "gotcha!" moments in it that I really enjoyed! The ending surprised me only because I wasn't expecting everyone to make it out alive, much less live happily ever after. In fact, I thought poor Laura would be dead by the second or third chapter. Anyway, I liked it. (hide spoiler)]

  16. 5 out of 5

    Piyangie

    This is one of the greatest books I have read in my life. The book is my first Wilkie Collins and I’m really glad to have finally come across him, for he has won a place as one of my favourite classic authors. Collin’s writing is admirably rich with poetic phrases and a good flare for vocabulary. Although his prose is a little long winding, he nevertheless has well managed to keep the reader’s attention on the story by his amazing ability at storytelling. There is also a cinematic quality to his This is one of the greatest books I have read in my life. The book is my first Wilkie Collins and I’m really glad to have finally come across him, for he has won a place as one of my favourite classic authors. Collin’s writing is admirably rich with poetic phrases and a good flare for vocabulary. Although his prose is a little long winding, he nevertheless has well managed to keep the reader’s attention on the story by his amazing ability at storytelling. There is also a cinematic quality to his writing. The events such as the first meeting between Walter Hartright and the woman in white, the first instance a vague resemblance between woman in white and Laura Fairlie comes to Walter’s mind when she walks on the terrace in the illumination of the moon, Marian’s brave conduct of climbing over the roof to listen to the hideous plan of Count Fosco and Sir Percival Glyde, Laura’s subsequent abduction and false imprisonment in the Asylum under the false guise of Anne Catherick, the meeting of Laura and Walter over Laura’s false grave, the fire in the vestry where Sir Percival was trapped and rescue efforts being taken by Walter Hartright, the impatient ride Walter takes to meet Count Fosco, were described in such a manner that it was as if you are seeing them rather than reading of them. A novelty I experienced while reading this great book was Collin’s mastery in dominating over your mental faculties. Normally when I read a book, it engages with my own mental interpretations as I read along. But the reading experience of this book was so different. Collins never allowed my own mental interpretations to come into the light. He held them tight to his story and convincingly too, that I was unable to wander on my own. “The story here presented will be told in more than one pen, as the story of an offence against the laws is told in Court by more than one witness-with the same object, in both cases, to present the truth always in its most direct and most intelligible aspect”. This phrase from the preamble sets the pace for the story justifying the use of several narrators to tell it – their reliability varying in degree. This is yet another new experience for me, hearing the story from so many different narrators. And I felt it is a refreshing method to have the story told through different persons, given the length of the book. This served two purposes; one was avoiding the reader being bored with the story and the other is to avoid it being biased. There were a hero and heroine in the characters of Walter Hartright and Marian Halcombe. Their struggle to bring justice to Laura Fairlie, their dear beloved, who was the victim of a most horrendous crime, the courageous and perilous journey both of them, especially Walter takes on, to achieve this end certainly reflects the opening phrase of the preamble when it was said “This is the story of what a Woman’s patience can endure, and what a Man’s resolution can achieve”. I liked these two characters immensely and was connected with them instantly. I was with them through every step of the way of their difficult and dangerous journey collecting the necessary evidence to bring justice to a wronged woman. I also liked the character of Laura, the young innocent victim, who bore such vile cruelty with a calm resolution of her own. Then there are the villains: Sir Percival Glyde – an epitome of brutality and Count Fosco – the most sinister character that I have thus far come across with his cold, calculating, and brilliant brain. All these dark and dear characters contributed to the plot of the story to make it one of the best classic stories I have ever read. The book which is a pioneer in the sensational novel was a great success in its time and I believe still is which in itself accounts for its greatness. I simply loved the book. Reading it was such a pleasurable experience. 5 full stars and a place among my favourite-classic shelf is what I can offer in return for so satisfying me.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dem

    What took me so long to read this wonderful suspenseful and well written classic? I rarely read mysteries and I was really surprised to find that a book first published in 1859 could be so chilling and mysterious and be as fresh and exciting today as it was in 1859 I started reading the book as part of a group read and the idea was to read the novel as it was originally published in weekly serial format and while I did try to stick with the rules I am afraid my curiosity and willpower got the b What took me so long to read this wonderful suspenseful and well written classic? I rarely read mysteries and I was really surprised to find that a book first published in 1859 could be so chilling and mysterious and be as fresh and exciting today as it was in 1859 I started reading the book as part of a group read and the idea was to read the novel as it was originally published in weekly serial format and while I did try to stick with the rules I am afraid my curiosity and willpower got the better of me and I just could not put down this compelling and extremely well written mystery. So my apologies to the group for not sticking with the format of reading but grateful for the push to read a book that I might otherwise have missed out on. " A mysterious figure, a woman in white, appears out of nowhere on a London street at midnight running away from someone or something and in a distressed state, she meets Walter Hartright, an a teacher of Art and little does he know but this mysterious lady will haunt him and change the course of his life. Manor Houses, ghostly figures by gravesides, mysterious letters and asylums and devious characters are what make this such a compelling read. The story is narrated by several different characters, all portraying their their own experiences. The book is just under 700 pages and is quite a read and yet the pacing and plot development is extremely well thought out. I downloaded the book on my kindle but was informed by a friend that there existed an absolutely amazing audio version narrated by Josephine Bailey and Simon Prebble and while I was skeptical that my interest could be sustained for over 25 hours decided to download the Audio as well and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the production and the fact that I was able to read and listen really added to the the overall enjoyment of this book. My only regret is my lack of discipline to read this one over the period of weeks as per the reading groups instructions. A great book for readers who enjoy classics or Victorian mysteries with terrific plot lines with well developed characters and a little romance with good old fashioned twists and turns.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Justin Tate

    Over 150 years later, The Woman in White still deserves its status as one of the most beloved and influential novels written in English. The combination of Gothic aesthetics, penny dreadful scandal, domestic drama and Victorian true crime makes it a mainstream delight for all readers, then and now. There’s even classic detective work that would, no doubt, go on to inspire the Sherlock Holmes mysteries. Collins’ mix of motifs were so unique, and inspired so many knock-offs, that eventually literar Over 150 years later, The Woman in White still deserves its status as one of the most beloved and influential novels written in English. The combination of Gothic aesthetics, penny dreadful scandal, domestic drama and Victorian true crime makes it a mainstream delight for all readers, then and now. There’s even classic detective work that would, no doubt, go on to inspire the Sherlock Holmes mysteries. Collins’ mix of motifs were so unique, and inspired so many knock-offs, that eventually literary critics dubbed The Woman in White as the first 'Sensation Novel'. Specifically, this new genre is said to begin in Chapter 3, when a woman clad entirely in white is found wandering metropolitan streets in the pale moonlight. Her inexplicable, ghostly presence, possibly being the escapee of an insane asylum, and mysterious connection to an arranged marriage elsewhere was the cauldron that officially swirled all these ingredients together. Stylistically, Collins’ close friendship with Charles Dickens is observed in his similar fashion of language, with a focus on middle class characters and pacing that reflects serialized publication. In other words, the book is long. Probably longer than it should be, but somehow rarely boring. Serialized novels, like TV shows, are meant to drag out unanswered questions and keep audiences in suspense to sell more installments every week. In some ways this results in a bloated story, but it also means a number of “shocks” every few chapters to generate buzz. Tension is a constant presence, with the assurance of “something bad” about to happen lingering on every page. Cliffhangers are plentiful, yet artfully placed and used to great effect. The novel would have been read side-by-side with articles involving high-profile legal cases and true crime happening around London, adding an impossible-to-ignore realism to the dramatic fiction. There were a few real life cases in particular which appear to have influenced Collins directly, including the 1856 trial of William Palmer. Palmer was accused, convicted and ultimately hanged for his particularly heinous crimes of using strychnine to poison a friend, his mother-in-law, his brother, and even his four children. It seemed every day new details about his motivations were revealed. For instance, he received a huge life insurance payment after the death of his 27-year-old wife—who supposedly died of cholera—and brother, whom Palmer poisoned. He was also proven to have defrauded his mother’s wealth to pay heavy losses from gambling debts. The murder of his children was suspected merely for the sake of having less mouths to feed. Dickens described Palmer as "the greatest villain that ever stood in the Old Bailey” and Collins seems to have been equally enthralled by the events of the twist-filled trial. For modern examples we would have to think as big as O.J. Simpson or Jodi Arias, and even those may have paled in comparison. It is estimated that a staggering 30,000 people attended the public hanging of William Palmer on June 14th, 1856. There’s evidence which suggests Wilkie Collins was one of them. The Woman in White, with its detail-oriented prose and carefully constructed mystery, gave readers a front row seat to what could be the workings of this type of domestic poisoning which dominated the news. When Count Fosco, the novel’s central villain, confesses to his exceptional skills in chemistry, Collins did not need to provide further explanation for how chemists could use their talents for evil. William Palmer made Victorian audiences all too aware. Once The Woman in White started to appear in print, it was clear a phenomenon was brewing. Frequent discussions around the local pubs included bets over what Sir Percival Glyde’s big “secret” might be. “Walter” became an increasingly popular baby name, while “Fosco” was a favorite choice for cats who exhibited sneaky, stalking personalities. Circulation of ‘All the World Around,’ the popular publication which serialized the novel, drastically increased its circulation. Beyond the text itself, The Woman in White inspired spin-off merchandise including its own line of perfume, bonnets and cloaks. While society has certainly changed since Victorian times, it seems Wilkie Collins’ story still hits on all the topics which fascinate us, including what drives people to crime, marriage anxieties, and a desire to put bad guys to justice. I’m not surprised at all that it continues to find such a vast and eager audience.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Gene

    A group read with a bunch of Pantaloonless Buddies. A young painter Walter Hartright unexpectedly received a good job offer. On his way home from his mother place he encountered a mysterious woman dressed in white walking alone who asked him for directions - in the middle of the night and in the middle of nowhere, mind you. The guy though that he would never see her again especially in his new place of employment where he taught a young woman painting. He fell in love with her - way beyond his so A group read with a bunch of Pantaloonless Buddies. A young painter Walter Hartright unexpectedly received a good job offer. On his way home from his mother place he encountered a mysterious woman dressed in white walking alone who asked him for directions - in the middle of the night and in the middle of nowhere, mind you. The guy though that he would never see her again especially in his new place of employment where he taught a young woman painting. He fell in love with her - way beyond his social standing. It does not help much that her late father had a wish of her marring his friend. The latter has a very dark secret known to the Woman in White. We came full circle. From the very beginning I have to say that it was entirely my fault I only rated the book with 3 stars. I expected a mystery similar to Moonstone written by the same author. Instead I found it to be a drama with some elements of mystery, horror, and Gothic. On the positive side the book is quite easy to read for a Victorian novel. The villains were unexpectedly flashed out with some good sides in them and I found one of them to be the best character overall. From the good guys/girls side Marian Halcombe was as strong woman as it was possible in the time the book was written. On the negative side Wilkie Collins is not exactly get-to-the-point kind of guy. The novel could be easily trimmed by one third at least without losing anything at all. The main heroine and Walter Hartright's love interest suffers from a severe case of A Very Special Snowflake Syndrome. I have yet to see another equally useless character - male or female - in the literature; she has not done anything even remotely meaningful in the full length of the novel. According to Darwin's Evolution Theory she simply should not have survived. In conclusion I would like to stress again that this is not a bad book, but not what I expected from it. I like Moonstone which I mentioned above much more.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    A buddy read on the side with the Non-crunchers – hold the pants. Hark! This book is over 150 years old, but, still, spoilers be us. - Selling English by the pound. This book has a lot going for it – a well-wrought plot, humor, some of literatures more enduring characters (Marian, Fosco, crazy Uncle Frederick), but it could have been cut down by a third and been one fine-tuned literary machine. I understand the book was serialized and that Wilkie Collins was probably being paid a tuppence-per-word A buddy read on the side with the Non-crunchers – hold the pants. Hark! This book is over 150 years old, but, still, spoilers be us. - Selling English by the pound. This book has a lot going for it – a well-wrought plot, humor, some of literatures more enduring characters (Marian, Fosco, crazy Uncle Frederick), but it could have been cut down by a third and been one fine-tuned literary machine. I understand the book was serialized and that Wilkie Collins was probably being paid a tuppence-per-word and was best buds with the great Charles Dickens, who was a prodigious author in his own write (heh!), but, sir, you are no Stephen King, you should have trimmed this puppy down. - The woman in white Although Collins doesn’t give her a lot of page time, her presence permeates the book like that uncle of yours that slathers on Brut. He might be in another room, but you know he’s still on the premises – somewhere. This book was written as a series of first person entries by a number of characters and divided into three epochs. - Epoch the first Walter Hartright, is a sieve as a character and an artist, who lands a gig teaching art (of all things) to a pair of sisters. He falls in love with the cute, vapid one and despite some of the most achingly emo-boy prose you’ll ever read, has to keep it in his pants, because the cute, vapid one is betrothed to another. So he runs away to Central America where he sends her lots of sketches of what looks like a Honduran anaconda jumping out of a bush. - Epoch the second I love Marian Halcombe, she’s smart, she’s got spunk, she’ll stand up for her family and friends, she’s got a fine bod, but Collins went ahead and gave her a face only a depraved, corpulent, balding, old, sociopathic, Italian Count (Fosco) would love. Plus, she apologizes for being a woman in Victorian society about 1.5 times for page: If I wasn’t a woman, I’d cut that bitch, Countess Fosco. If I wasn’t a woman, I’d kick Sir Perceval in the family jewels. If I wasn’t a woman, I’d get stinking drunk and jump the gardener (or the maid). - Epoch the third This is an olde type book so you won’t find a trail of bodies or Walter Hartright going ninja or a gangsta turf war, but it plays out in satisfactory way. So if you love the classics and haven’t gotten around to this one, I’d recommend it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    TJ

    This book is an amazing teaching tool. Not because it conveys any great lessons in life or exhibits profound understanding and insight but because it so clearly delineates the beauty and differences in 19th century writing and 21st century writing. The story is definitely very gothic and one of the best mysteries available. It is in the length of the story - most especially the length of the writing that will probably cause many readers to balk. The descriptions, the conversations, the ideas... v This book is an amazing teaching tool. Not because it conveys any great lessons in life or exhibits profound understanding and insight but because it so clearly delineates the beauty and differences in 19th century writing and 21st century writing. The story is definitely very gothic and one of the best mysteries available. It is in the length of the story - most especially the length of the writing that will probably cause many readers to balk. The descriptions, the conversations, the ideas... virtually everything is pondered at length. Reading this in today's society, where TV, the internet, pictures, videos etc. etc. grant us instant understanding and gratification, can be a tedious and boring job. In order to truly appreciate Collins writing, one must put themselves in the shoes of a reader amid 19th century standards. Most people knew little of life outside their small communities. Few traveled or had experience with people and places beyond the immediate. Thus the need for long explanations and descriptions. It was the only door open for a reader to experience life beyond. A perfect example would be the description of Count Fosco, a very large Italian man. His description was so intricate and detailed as to take pages (not paragraphs - pages.) To us, that description might seem never-ending. To one who had probably never seen, let alone known an Italian man - good or bad - it described one so perfectly that the reader (without our modern day photography) could picture him with ease. Therefore, any accurate review of this book must allow for those differences. Readers who enjoy the beauty of the written word just for itself will absolutely revel in this story. Those who are more story driven will need to put on their patience caps to get through it. The story itself is immaculately well-done, it is dark without being terrifying, riveting without being graphic. It is just couched within a style long forgotten and truly appreciated.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Arah-Lynda

    Originally published in a weekly periodical between late 1859 and 1860 as a serial story, this is believed to be the first English crime detection novel. This is Victorian fiction that combines romance, mystery and Gothic horror with a psychological twist. The story opens with an eerie encounter, in the dead of night on a moonlit London road. In one moment, every drop of blood in my body was brought to a stop… There, as if it had that moment sprung out of the earth…stood the figure of a solitary w Originally published in a weekly periodical between late 1859 and 1860 as a serial story, this is believed to be the first English crime detection novel. This is Victorian fiction that combines romance, mystery and Gothic horror with a psychological twist. The story opens with an eerie encounter, in the dead of night on a moonlit London road. In one moment, every drop of blood in my body was brought to a stop… There, as if it had that moment sprung out of the earth…stood the figure of a solitary woman, dressed from head to foot in white. Collins had me at hello. This is the story of what a woman’s patience can endure, and what a man’s resolution can achieve. I loved the fly on the wall perspective of events as revealed through a series of narrators, starting with Walter Hartright, drawing master of the time and place, who introduced me to Marian Halcombe thusly; The instant my eyes rested on her, I was struck by the rare beauty of her form, and by the unaffected grace of her attitude. Her figure was tall, yet not too tall; comely and well developed, yet not fat; her head sat on her shoulders with an easy, pliant firmness; her waist, perfection in the eyes of man, for it occupied it’s natural place, it filled out its natural circle, it was visibly and delightfully undeformed by stays. She had not heard my entrance into the room; and I allowed myself the luxury of admiring her for a few moments, before I moved one of the chairs near me, as the least embarrassing means of attracting her attention. She turned towards me immediately. The easy elegance of every movement of her limbs and body as soon as she began to advance from the far end of the room, set me in a flutter of expectation to see her face clearly. She left the window – and I said to myself, The lady is dark. She moved forward a few steps – and I said to myself, The lady is young. She approached nearer – and I said to myself (with a sense of surprise which words fail me to express), The lady is ugly! Marian knows who she is, personally and as a woman in Victorian society. She reflects these qualities and embraces society’s expectations with elegance and grace, deftly, slowly, surely and quite successfully disarming her male audience and the reader with her charming, disarming, demeanour that both mirrors and ever so subtly mocks those expectations. Never have I been so invested in a character. I adore and applaud her. She is simply one of the most deftly drawn, beautiful and complex renderings I have ever encountered in the written word. Without a doubt it is Collins characters that both support and propel this story, each in their own unique voice, of which Marian is but one. All brilliantly drawn and cleverly revealed as time goes by. It is a classic, therefore it is wordy, with long drawn out, highly descriptive sentences that go on and on and on as they slowly, persistently tug you forward. No matter! I lapped up every word.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte May

    2 months and I’ve finally finished this. I was skim reading by the end though... “There, as if it had that moment sprung out of the earth or dropped from the heaven - stood the figure of a solitary Woman, dressed from head to foot in white garments.” The beginning of this book sets a great scene. Walter Hartwright is on his way to start his new job as a drawing master to two sisters in a big house in the country. On route he bumps into a woman dressed all in white - asking directions to London. 2 months and I’ve finally finished this. I was skim reading by the end though... “There, as if it had that moment sprung out of the earth or dropped from the heaven - stood the figure of a solitary Woman, dressed from head to foot in white garments.” The beginning of this book sets a great scene. Walter Hartwright is on his way to start his new job as a drawing master to two sisters in a big house in the country. On route he bumps into a woman dressed all in white - asking directions to London. She seems distressed, almost ethereal. You could be forgiven for thinking she was even a ghost. It’s a great start and I was gripped to find out more about the woman. However we soon realise that the woman in white herself is only a small part of the overall story. She only shows up a few brief times. Meanwhile Laura and Marian start their drawing lessons. Before long Walter and Laura have fallen in love - but Laura is already betrothed to Sir Percival Glyde, an ass of a man. Speaking of assess. Sir Percival’s dear friend Count Fosco is also an ass. As the story went on I found myself growing frustrated with all the back and forth. I feel like all the questions could have been solved a lot quicker. I know this book was written in the 1800s so naturally it would be on the long side. But as a 21st century reader I was getting fed up after about 400 pages. Overall, I did enjoy all the secrets and how they came about. I just wish it was shorter and that the reveals were quicker.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Helene Jeppesen

    Newest review: 4.5/5 stars. This was a reread and I enjoyed it immensely. So much so that I’m raising my rating of it from 3.5 to 4.5 stars. First review: 3.5/5 stars. This was a really amazing book that takes you on such a journey! I started it four days ago, and now - after having finished it - I feel like I've returned back home safely after having been gone for a long time. I don't know if that makes much sense, but that's how I feel :) Now, this was my first book by Wilkie Collins and all I Newest review: 4.5/5 stars. This was a reread and I enjoyed it immensely. So much so that I’m raising my rating of it from 3.5 to 4.5 stars. First review: 3.5/5 stars. This was a really amazing book that takes you on such a journey! I started it four days ago, and now - after having finished it - I feel like I've returned back home safely after having been gone for a long time. I don't know if that makes much sense, but that's how I feel :) Now, this was my first book by Wilkie Collins and all I knew was that it was supposed to be a Victorian, scary read. It was in the beginning, and also slightly in the middle, but I was sad to realize towards the end that this turned more into a detective novel. I'm not fond of detective novels, and therefore that slightly decreased my reading experience and my fondness of this book. That being said, I loved how this book is constructed through diverse narratives that are all pieces in a big puzzle. The narratives allowed for me to connect with the characters on an intimate level, and the characters were simply amazing! They stuck to my mind and followed me around when I wasn't reading, and I think that they are the best part of this story. Even though I did find some of the things happening too convenient for my taste, I can't neglect the fact that this is a beautifully crafted piece of work that leaves an impression on you. I was contemplating between 3 and 4 stars while reading, so in the end I decided to go for 3.5. I loved the book despite its weaknesses, I just would've hoped for more Victorian eeriness and less of a detective novel.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amalia Gkavea

    “I say what other people only think, and when all the rest of the world is in a conspiracy to accept the mask for the true face, mine is the rash hand that tears off the plump pasteboard, and shows the bare bones beneath.”

  26. 5 out of 5

    Megan Baxter

    The Woman in White is a gem of a novel - creepy, dense, menacing, and always intriguing. For a long time, the reader isn't quite sure what is going on, only that it isn't good - and it's to Collins' credit that when the plots are revealed, they are as interesting as anything I was supposing. Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here. In the meantime, you can read the entire review at The Woman in White is a gem of a novel - creepy, dense, menacing, and always intriguing. For a long time, the reader isn't quite sure what is going on, only that it isn't good - and it's to Collins' credit that when the plots are revealed, they are as interesting as anything I was supposing. Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here. In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Wilkie Collins, a polyamorous laudanum addict, invented a genre called the sensation novel with Woman in White. He took Gothic stories away from their ghost-filled castles and directly into what he called "the secret theatre of home": "Collins and his fellow sensationalists [Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Ellen Wood, Charles Reade and Rhoda Broughton] re-mapped the 'knowable communities' within which writers such as George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell and Margaret Oliphant plotted their fictions as territo Wilkie Collins, a polyamorous laudanum addict, invented a genre called the sensation novel with Woman in White. He took Gothic stories away from their ghost-filled castles and directly into what he called "the secret theatre of home": "Collins and his fellow sensationalists [Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Ellen Wood, Charles Reade and Rhoda Broughton] re-mapped the 'knowable communities' within which writers such as George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell and Margaret Oliphant plotted their fictions as territories that were unknowable, or at least dangerous to know" (Penguin Read Red intro). Unsurprisingly, this has been a big hit with generations of people who dislike their spouses. And it's a terrific book. The titular woman shows up almost immediately to hook you in; after a brief slow-down to set the stage, around a third of the way in the tension ratchets up and never lets go again. It's incredibly gripping, and there are no plot holes. It features several brilliant characters: Miss Halcombe, the brains of the affair (and also, as Collins tells us at considerable length, the ass*); the hypochondriac Fairlie; and, of course, the illimitable Fosco, one of the most memorable creations ever. It's set up as an unusual epistolary: testimony from a number of sources, as if for a legal proceeding. The switching of narrators allows Collins to play a bunch of daring tricks: at one point a character suddenly intrudes in another's diary, confessing that he stole and read it, and commenting on her version of events. And, of course, it lets Collins experiment extensively with the idea of the unreliable narrator. At least three passages are overtly untrustworthy (Fairlie, Mrs. Catherick and Fosco are also the most entertaining narrators); and since Collins obviously meant for us to understand that, might it not follow that the rest of the narrators are equally untrustworthy? Major spoilers: (view spoiler)[Hartright takes forever in his attempt to save Percival's life. Is it possible that he was stalling? Was it really impossible for him to go to the police? Does he bear some responsibility for Fosco's murder? In each of these cases, Collins gives him an excuse: no townspeople thought of better ways to save Percival; Mr. Kyrle insists that he has "not a shadow of a case"; the scarred man picks up on Fosco's identity as Hartright does. I'm not convinced that we're supposed to believe Hartright is lying to us, but I do think we're supposed to think about it. (hide spoiler)] *Collins was wonderfully against corsets, and unapologetically an ass man: "I too think the back view of a finely formed woman the loveliest view." (Letters of Wilkie Collins, Vol. II, p. 534; ganked from an endnote in my edition) -------------------------------------------------------- Edition review: the Penguin Read Red edition is fantastic. Great intro and great endnotes. The Kindle version I bought did a superb job of linking to the endnotes (something often neglected in Kindle editions), and it's only $4.75.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Virginia Hume

    My friend Nora Ephron suggested i read this. Okay, I don't know her, but I feel like she'd be a friend. Therefore I honored her recommendations. In her collection of essays "I Feel Bad about my Neck," she includes a bit about books that have completely transported her. She says it better than I do about this wonderful mystery: "I open Wilkie Collins's masterpiece, The Woman in White, probably the first great work of mystery fiction ever written (although that description hardly does it justice), My friend Nora Ephron suggested i read this. Okay, I don't know her, but I feel like she'd be a friend. Therefore I honored her recommendations. In her collection of essays "I Feel Bad about my Neck," she includes a bit about books that have completely transported her. She says it better than I do about this wonderful mystery: "I open Wilkie Collins's masterpiece, The Woman in White, probably the first great work of mystery fiction ever written (although that description hardly does it justice), and I am instantly lost to the world. Days pass as I savor every word. Each minute I spend away from the book pretending to be interested in everyday life is a misery. How could I have waited so long to read this book? When can I get back to it? Halfway through I return to New York to work, to mix a movie, and I sit in the mix studio unable to focus on anything but whether my favorite character in the book will survive. I will not be able to bear it if anything bad happens to my beloved Marian Halcombe. Every so often I look up from the book and see a roomful of people waiting for me to make a decision about whether the music is too soft or the thunder is too loud, and I can't believe they don't understand that what I'm doing is much more important—I'm reading the most wonderful book." For what it's worth, my husband really enjoyed it, too.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Newton

    I want to say upfront that I am a fan of Victorian writing. Wordy, in the right hands, works for me. And Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens have the right hands! Their words unfurl like the petals of a flower, and at the heart you are presented with a gem: an exquisite observation about humanity, or a marvelous witticism. They were true wordsmiths, and I would hotly contest any need to "edit" their works. Once we passed the exposition and started climbing plot graph mountain toward the climax, I I want to say upfront that I am a fan of Victorian writing. Wordy, in the right hands, works for me. And Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens have the right hands! Their words unfurl like the petals of a flower, and at the heart you are presented with a gem: an exquisite observation about humanity, or a marvelous witticism. They were true wordsmiths, and I would hotly contest any need to "edit" their works. Once we passed the exposition and started climbing plot graph mountain toward the climax, I was hooked. This is the second Collins' I have read, and both times I experienced moments when I feared that the plot was going to devolve into simple Gothic melodrama, laughable by our modern standards of mystery. Each time, I was wrong. Sure, the dated nature of the novel is evident in the behavior of some of the characters. They are so innocent--and by innocent, I mean gullible! They are so trusting, and accept everyone at their word; but then, what choice did they really have? How would you go about checking someone's credentials back then, especially on a moment's notice? There were times, though, when I did roll my eyes--the villain assures a character that he is nice, so the character smiles and relaxes. Surely he must be nice if he says he is! This happens several times. Also, a character discovers, through a slip by the villain, that vital evidence is hidden in a location, and the character retires to the inn for the night, planning to search the location the next day. I want to yell, "Go there tonight! Don't give them time to retrieve the information before you!" Of course, he doesn't listen to me. Aside from these few flaws, I found the plot line intriguing and unpredictable. There are two unforgettable characters--Count Fosco and Marian Holcombe, or "the magnificent Marian," as the Count refers to her. This is one point on which the Count and I agree. Intelligent, resourceful, courageous, quick-witted--she is a force to be reckoned with. Despite all this and a rocking hot bod, she is plain (ugly is the word that is used), so apparently matrimony is out of the question. Victorian men are not too bright, evidently. Marian is content to devote her life to her younger sister, Laura, who is the antithesis of her sister: one of those pallid, trembly, whispery creatures who flinches at every noise and never has an original thought. She is, however, quite pretty. When the attractive young drawing master arrives at Limmeridge, guess who he falls in love with? Of course, Laura never does or says anything to merit this, while Marian is being charming and vivacious all over the place. I was afraid, for awhile, that Laura was the Collins equivalent of Lucie Manette, and she would be weeping and fainting for the entirety of the book. In the middle of the book, she does grow a backbone and actually defies her husband several times. Later, however, (view spoiler)[she endures a couple of months in an asylum and this almost destroys her sanity. Now, this is a private asylum for wealthy people and there's no mention of abuse, but her reason is seriously affected. (hide spoiler)] I guess the flower of womanhood were really like flowers back then--delicate hothouse flowers. This is where I really had a problem with Walter. (view spoiler)[He has been adventuring in Central America, trying to forget his hopeless love. When he meets Laura again, after a year apart, she is literally like a child. She speaks like a child and spends all her time drawing terrible pictures. Walter and Marian are united in their determination to right her wrongs and bring justice to Sir Percival and the Count. Caring for Laura and plotting against their enemies throws them closely together, but does he recognize that Marian is worth one hundred of her sister? Of course not! He loves Marian as a sister, while reserving all his passion for the complete absence of personality that is Laura. (hide spoiler)] Count Fosco is a superb villain--witty, urbane, and keenly intelligent. He alone has the great good sense to recognize the "sublime" qualities of "the magnificent Marian." This alone endears him to me. He is ruthless and self-serving, but immensely likable, all the same. Underneath his charm, he has the soul of a cobra. The cobra has a weakness, though, and it is his admiration for Marion. Despite the fact that he knows what a formidable opponent she is and that she could actually succeed in foiling his plans, he cannot bring himself to allow any harm to come to her. (view spoiler)[When she is dangerously ill, he fights against the doctor himself in order to save her life, even though her death would have removed a major obstacle from his path. (hide spoiler)] Dickens is famed for his memorable characters, but with these two characters, Collins has created two people--complex individuals who will remain with his readers long after they have finished the book. All in all, this is an engrossing read with some superbly drawn characters. I highly recommend for anyone who doesn't turn pale and tremble like a Victorian heroine at the sight of a book over 300 pages! *** 12/04/17 Update *** Just finished leading a group discussion over this book with the Victorians. It was so much fun! I greatly enjoyed sharing the reading experience with my group. This second reading didn't really change any of my previous opinions, but rather, reinforced them. I still have a fondness for Count Fosco and still think Walter is a schmuck for not choosing Marian over Laura, but it remains a great read!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    Sometimes it is so damn hard to put your mindspace in the right place to enjoy a piece so far out of your frame, and this is definitely one of those books. I knew a bit of what I might expect, after all, I did enjoy reading Drood and so I got a real hankering to read an actual extremely popular novel by such a wild character in a modern book about Wilkie and Charles. But that's neither here nor there. I probably wouldn't have ever picked this one up without it, though. On to the novel at hand. It' Sometimes it is so damn hard to put your mindspace in the right place to enjoy a piece so far out of your frame, and this is definitely one of those books. I knew a bit of what I might expect, after all, I did enjoy reading Drood and so I got a real hankering to read an actual extremely popular novel by such a wild character in a modern book about Wilkie and Charles. But that's neither here nor there. I probably wouldn't have ever picked this one up without it, though. On to the novel at hand. It's a mystery! And if I can believe wikipedia, it's one of the very first ever written, and considered to be one of the top 100 novels ever written! Whoopie! I mean, that's all great and all. But did I enjoy it? Actually... I did. To a degree. Of course, the mental gymnastics were pretty strenuous. After all, I have to suspend belief that Laura was NOT TSTL. Tstl? Yes. Tstl. Every step of the way, she made the most horrible decisions, either by not listening to her heart or not having a brain in her head. If this were a mystery novel of even 20 years after its written date of 1854, we'd have killed this one off like a redshirt for sure. Therefore, I am UTTERLY AMAZED by the ending. I've never seen such brilliant contrivance to make such an unlikable airhead (view spoiler)[pull through to the very end, have her love, her fortune, and her unwitting revenge upon all who had assailed her. (hide spoiler)] I mean, WOW. Wilkie Collins is a MASTER. That being said, I thought the Count was pretty much awesome. Everyone except for Laura and Walter managed to transform themselves from cardboard cutouts into genuine people full of both good and bad. Sometimes the descriptions were cumbersome and made me wish for a bit of a Hemingway Edit, but that's a complaint I can make about any of the literature of that day. There was one notable exception. I loved our enlightenment of Count Fosco's animals. It's details like this that turn a sensational-ish novel into something a bit more memorable. I swear, though: Laura was consistently tstl. Thank GOD for her half-sister. Miss Halcombe was pretty damn awesome from start to finish, and I agree 100% with the Count's esteem of her. The one thing I cannot be more pleased about, after finishing this, is the fact that there wasn't some long-drawn-out court scene so reminiscent of modern police drama or mysteries. We had the hint of it in the beginning, and it could have gone that way, but I can't be happier with the outcome as it actually occurred. There was a hell of a lot of expanded plot in this novel, and it was all so logical and well thought out. I'm just so damn AMAZED that the whole society in which they lived was actually able to FUNCTION, ya know? How could people trust each other as much as they did? How could people be so INNOCENT? I mean, really? Really? Was it a function of the black and white nature of the novels of the time to pop all of these features out at us in stark and glowing detail? Or was it just Wilkie? Or was it in actual fact, a real piece of the society in which they all lived? I'm primarily a sf/f/horror fan, but I truly HAVE read a ton of traditional classics. And yet, I'm still forced to set myself into a Victorian England as if it is some truly alien society so foreign and strange to us. It's funny. I should know better. Life is WEIRD.

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