The Woman in White

Front Cover
Penguin, 1860 - Fiction - 671 pages
133 Reviews
Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White, the first Victorian 'sensation novel' and one of the earliest mystery novels in English, weaves multiple narratives into a thrilling and suspenseful tale of mistaken identity and dark desires. This Penguin Classics edition is edited with notes and an introduction by Matthew Sweet. 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 is drawn into the sinister intrigues of Sir Percival Glyde and his 'charming' friend Count Fosco, the 'Napoleon of crime', 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 psychological 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 serialisation history. Wilkie Collins (1824-1889) was born in London in 1824, the eldest son of the landscape painter William Collins. In 1846 he was entered to read for the bar at Lincoln's Inn, where he gained the knowledge that was to give him much of the material for his writing. From the early 1850s he was a friend of Charles Dickens, who produced and acted in two melodramas written by Collins, The Lighthouse and The Frozen Deep. Of his novels, Collins is best remembered for The Woman in White (1859), No Name (1862), Armadale (1866) and The Moonstone (1868). If you enjoyed The Woman in White, you might like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet, also available in Penguin Classics.

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The writing is both graceful and very readable. - LibraryThing
His prose grows monotonous and repetitious. - LibraryThing
One of the best villians in British literature. - LibraryThing
The plot becomes very twisted. - LibraryThing
The characterization is sublime. - LibraryThing
This was a great story and a page turner. - LibraryThing

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User Review  - CharityBradford - LibraryThing

This book was so good! It did take a little while to get into, and you read more than half the book before the "crime" actually happens. Funny thing is that was ok because the suspense was so great! I ... Read full review

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User Review  - Tahleen - LibraryThing

All in all this was a fairly compelling read, though Laura really annoyed me. Count Fosco is super creepy (as is his wife), Percival Glyde is awful, and Marian is my hero. She is awesome. This was not ... Read full review



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The Flesh Made Word
Helena Michie
Limited preview - 1990
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About the author (1860)

Wilkie Collins (1824-1889) began his literary career writing articles and short stories for Dickens' periodicals. He published a biography of his father and a number of plays but his reputation rests on his novels. Collins found his true fictionalmetier in mystery, suspense and crime. He is best known for his novels in the emerging genres of Sensation and Detective fiction.Matthew Sweet is a journalist and critic, and wrote his doctoral thesis on Wilkie Collins.

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