The Woman in White (Collins Classics) [NOOK Book]

Overview

HarperCollins is proud to present its new range of best-loved, essential classics.‘The woman who first gives life, light, and form to our shadowy conceptions of beauty, fills a void in our spiritual nature that has remained unknown to us till she appeared.’One of the earliest works of ‘detective’ fiction with a narrative woven together from multiple characters, Wilkie Collins partly based his infamous novel on a real-life eighteenth century case of abduction and wrongful imprisonment. In 1859, the story caused a ...
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The Woman in White (Collins Classics)

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Overview

HarperCollins is proud to present its new range of best-loved, essential classics.‘The woman who first gives life, light, and form to our shadowy conceptions of beauty, fills a void in our spiritual nature that has remained unknown to us till she appeared.’One of the earliest works of ‘detective’ fiction with a narrative woven together from multiple characters, Wilkie Collins partly based his infamous novel on a real-life eighteenth century case of abduction and wrongful imprisonment. In 1859, the story caused a sensation with its readers, hooking their attention with the ghostly first scene where the mysterious ‘Woman in White’ Anne Catherick comes across Walter Hartright. Chilling, suspenseful and tense in mood, the novel remains as emotive for its readers today as when it was first published.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780007480784
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/31/2012
  • Series: Collins Classics
  • Sold by: Harper Collins UK
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: ePub edition
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 106,046
  • File size: 792 KB

Meet the Author

Wilkie Collins
William Wilkie Collins (1824–1889) was an English novelist, playwright, and author of short stories. He wrote 30 novels, more than 60 short stories, 14 plays, and more than 100 essays. His best-known works are The Woman in White and The Moonstone.

Biography

Wilkie Collins has long been overshadowed by his friend and collaborator Charles Dickens -- unfortunately for readers who have consequently not discovered one of literature's most compelling writers. His novels are ceremonious and none too brief; they are also irresistible. Take the opening lines of his 1852 story of marital deceit, Basil: "What am I now about to write? The history of little more than the events of one year, out of the twenty-four years of my life. Why do I undertake such an employment as this? Perhaps, because I think that my narrative may do good; because I hope that, one day, it may be put to some warning use." It's a typical Collins opening, one that draws the reader in with a tone that's personal, but carries formality and import.

With his long, frizzy black beard and wide, sloping forehead, Collins looked like a grandfatherly type, even in his 30s. But his thinking and lifestyle were unconventional, even a bit ahead of his time. His characters (particularly the women) have a Henry James–like predilection for bucking social mores, and he occasionally found his work under attack by morality-mongers. Collins was well aware of his books' potential to offend certain Victorian sensibilities, and there is evidence in some of his writings that he was prepared for it, if not welcoming of it. He writes in the preface to Armadale, his 1866 novel about a father's deathbed murder confession, "Estimated by the clap-trap morality of the present day, this may be a very daring book. Judged by the Christian morality which is of all time, it is only a book that is daring enough to speak the truth."

Collins began his career by writing his painter father's biography. He gained popularity when he began publishing stories and serialized novels in Dickens's publications, Household Words and All the Year Round. His best-known works are The Woman in White and The Moonstone, both of which -- along with Basil -- have been made into films.

Collins often alludes to fantastic, supernatural happenings in his stories; the events themselves are usually borne out by reasonable explanations. What remains are the electrifying effects one human being can have upon another, for better and for worse. His main characters are often described in terms such as "remarkable," "extraordinary," and "singular," lending their actions -- and thereby the story -- a special urgency. In one of his great successes, 1860's The Woman in White, Collins spins what is basically a magnificent con story into something almost ghostly: The fates of two look-alike women -- a beautiful, well-off woman and a poor insane-asylum escapee -- are intertwined and manipulated by two evil men. One of those is among the best fictional villains ever created, the kill-‘em-with-kindness Count Fosco. Fosco is emblematic of another Collins hallmark -- antagonists who manage to throw their victims off guard by some powerful charm of personality or appearance.

The Moonstone, published in 1868, is regarded by many to be the first English detective novel. Starring the unassuming Sergeant Cuff, it follows the trail of a sought-after yellow diamond from India that has fallen into the wrong hands. Like The Woman in White, the novel is told in multiple first person narratives that display Collins's gift for distinctive and often humorous voices. Whether it is servants, foreigners, or the wealthy, Collins is an equal-opportunity satirist who quietly but deftly pokes fun at human foibles even as he draws nuanced, memorable characters.

Though The Woman in White and The Moonstone are Collins's standouts, he had a productive, consistent career; the novels Armadale, No Name and Poor Miss Finch are worthwhile reads, and his short stories will particularly appeal to Edgar Allan Poe fans. Fortunately in the case of this underappreciated writer, there are plenty of titles to appreciate.

Good To Know

Collins studied law, and though he never practiced as a lawyer, his knowledge of the subject is evident in his fiction. He also apprenticed with a tea merchant in his pre-publication years.

He was addicted to laudanum, a form of opium that he used to treat his pain from rheumatic gout.

Collins never married, but he had a long-term live-in relationship with one woman, and a second romance that produced three children.

He is named after popular artist Sir David Wilkie; both his parents were painters who counted Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth among their friends.

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    1. Also Known As:
      William Wilkie Collins (full name)
      Wilkie Collins
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 8, 1824
    2. Place of Birth:
      London, England
    1. Date of Death:
      September 23, 1889
    2. Place of Death:
      London, England

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 172 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(89)

4 Star

(35)

3 Star

(18)

2 Star

(13)

1 Star

(17)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 173 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A good read

    The Woman in White is a Victorian mystery that is considered to be one of the best mysteries ever written. Written in 1859, it takes the form of an early detective novel with an amateur sleuth. The plot (man marries woman and schemes to get her money), albeit predictable by today's standards, is plausible, entertaining and, at times, slightly suspenseful. I attribute this slightness to the Victorian language itself. I'm not a fan of that style of speaking and found myself frustrated at times and thinking just get on with it all ready, stop dragging things out. The story is told from the viewpoints of several characters - much like a legal deposition where each character relates what he/she knows about certain events.
    -----
    The characters were interesting and memorable; however, I was disappointed in the characterization/treatment of women - weak and inferior. Was this an accurate portrayal for the times? I don't know. I have read other Victorian novels and didn't come away with the same feeling. Because of his portrayal of women, Mr. Collins didn't do justice to Marion Halcombe, one of the more memorable characters in the novel. A greater role would have been appreciated more by today's society but, in 1859, who knows. Creating a lead woman character who 'out thinks' a man may have been taboo. The other memorable character was Count Fosco, the mastermind behind everything evil in the world. I am being a bit facetious; however, the character was so full of himself that I couldn't help but inflate his imaginary ego a little more. His character was fully developed - I didn't like him and found him frustrating - once again this could be attributed to the Victorian language.
    -----
    Overall, I did like the novel; however, the above issues prevent me from giving it more than three stars. I recommend to those who enjoy Victorian literature and those who would like to read one of the first mystery novels. This is a long book and not a quick read - you will be in it for the long haul - which you will enjoy.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2011

    A lost classic

    Where has this book been all my life? Written in the time of Dickens and Stoker and as good as either, this is a shockingly modern thriller/mystery.

    This United Holdings Group edition is very good, with no typos or scan errors that I noticed. Worth the buck over the free version which is riddled with errors.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2014

    I had a really hard time with this almost 600 page book.

    This book was published in 1860. It has almost 600 pages. By today's standards it is a squeaky clean book. If I read correctly, it is one of the first paranormal mystery books published. Unfortunately, it did not transfer to e- book format very well and the antique, english style of narration almost drove me bonkers. I found this a very difficult and time consuming read. At least with a book of this age, I do not have to worry about hurting the author's feelings. For ages 16 and up, if they can stick with it. I could not.

    AD

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 9, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Sorry, I just couldn't.

    What can I say? I'm terrible. I want to try to read classics. I really do. But then when it happens I drive myself nuts for an entire trying to get into them with no avail. Same here unfortunately. I can honestly say, I have no idea what this is about. It didn't help at all that my ebook had insane typographical errors that inserted random punctuality into the middle of any sentence or word. That being said, I'm just not an old soul, just an old guy I guess.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2013

    Gibberish

    Unreadable. Very bad OCR.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2013

    Recommeded

    Excellent turn of the century page turner! Can't put it down.

    BUT, formatting terrible. Often reads like one long, small type paragraph and there is no using normal Nook features to adjust the type size or to break text into chapters with number of remaining pages shown. Book is formatted as one long narrative without breaks. Pages remaining show as pages remaining in book. Not helpful.
    BN should quit acting like they have a huge store of free and low cost give-away classics. These are quick scanned library books. I have much better luck with Kindle...and YES, that is where my next e-reader will be coming from. Amazon has MUCH better customer care. I guess they really CARE about their customers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2012

    Great period piece

    526 pages/numerous typos/however what a great story. Rated 5 w/o typos

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2011

    bad

    This book is horrible

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 20, 2011

    Charming.

    I'd forgotten how charming books from that time can be. I totally enjoyed it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2010

    Too long

    There were aspects of this book I really enjoyed. I love the Victorian, Jane Austenesque language of the book. The plot is also intricate and promising. But it was just too dang long to get where it was going. Somewhere along the way I read that this had been a serialized novel published in a paper. I could see that and I had the same problem with another book compiled from a serial. Also while the plot was good on its own merits, the way it gets tied up at the end is disappointing in terms of the characters involved. That being said, if you love the writing coming from this time period, you will find this book satisfying. If you love intrigue and mystery you will also find something satisfactory in this book. But, Wilkie, couldn't you have just gotten to the point quicker!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Quintessential Mystery Novel

    Often lauded as the first true mystery novel, "The Woman in White" is as intriguing as it is original. The plot is carefully crafted and often surprising in its twists and turns.

    The characters are painstakingly crafted and beautifully developed (particularly Count Fosco) and, by the middle of the book, I found I was worrying over the fate of the hero and heroine in spite of myself.

    Admittedly, I found this novel slow to start, but once all of the characters were on the proverbial stage, things moved rather quickly. All in all, this novel is worth the read for avid mystery novel readers interested in how the mystery genre first became popular. Incidentally, Collins wrote some wonderful psychological/ghost thrillers, which I have recommended it below. Happy reading!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2014

    To imperatpr k

    Turns out you have bad spelling and grammar

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2014

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2014

    Imperator K业

    Rolls her eyes.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2014

    To Real konoha

    Go to yours and stygians book and post a symbol youve never used before. When he gets here post that symbol here and he will proclaim you real.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2014

    Who kohona!

    You think your soo invincable with a new symbol well guess what punk? Im coming for you.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2014

    TO IMPERATOR K WITH ONE STAR

    You said you had perfect grammar but your i isnt cpitalized inyour post!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2014

    Imperator K TO ALL

    "I have to go because of Family business. Please DO NOT listen to that other imposter!" &#48679

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2014

    Tito Sniw ж

    Looks at the Imeriators.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2014

    TO WHO KONOHA

    IN YOUR DREAMS SISTEH!!!!!! HAHAHAHAHA I FOOLED ALL OF U I MAKE AN AWESOME LEADRR OF FOOLS LIKE U!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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