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The Woman in White (Professionally Annotated)

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'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 becom '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 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.


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'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 becom '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 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.

30 review for The Woman in White (Professionally Annotated)

  1. 4 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. 3 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. 3 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 middle “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 twa "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. 5 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.

  7. 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 Professo 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.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bookdragon Sean

    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.

  9. 5 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.

  10. 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 noble 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 below 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.March 2016 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.

  11. 5 out of 5

    °°°·.°·..·°¯°·._.· ʜᴇʟᴇɴ Ροζουλί Εωσφόρος ·._.·°¯°·.·° .·°°° ★·.·´¯`·.·★ Ⓥⓔⓡⓝⓤⓢ Ⓟⓞⓡⓣⓘⓣⓞⓡ Ⓐⓡⓒⓐⓝⓤⓢ Ταμετούρο Αμ

    «Η γυναίκα με τα άσπρα» γράφτηκε το 1850 και θεωρείται το πρώτο βαθιά αισθηματικό λογοτεχνικό έργο μυστηρίου και αγωνίας. Είναι ένας θησαυρός Βικτωριανής κουλτούρας με άψογη και πρωτότυπη τεχνοτροπία γραφής. Άριστα δομημένοι χαρακτήρες, κοινωνικές συνθήκες και τρόποι συμπεριφοράς, κρυμμένα κίνητρα, άθλιοι ήρωες, ηθικές, εκκεντρικές και καθόλου αφελείς ηρωίδες. Αυτά είναι τα κύρια συστατικά με τα οποία ο συγγραφέας ξεκινάει να διαμορφώνει τη δημιουργία του. Η μεγαλοφυΐα και η ικανότητα του συντελ «Η γυναίκα με τα άσπρα» γράφτηκε το 1850 και θεωρείται το πρώτο βαθιά αισθηματικό λογοτεχνικό έργο μυστηρίου και αγωνίας. Είναι ένας θησαυρός Βικτωριανής κουλτούρας με άψογη και πρωτότυπη τεχνοτροπία γραφής. Άριστα δομημένοι χαρακτήρες, κοινωνικές συνθήκες και τρόποι συμπεριφοράς, κρυμμένα κίνητρα, άθλιοι ήρωες, ηθικές, εκκεντρικές και καθόλου αφελείς ηρωίδες. Αυτά είναι τα κύρια συστατικά με τα οποία ο συγγραφέας ξεκινάει να διαμορφώνει τη δημιουργία του. Η μεγαλοφυΐα και η ικανότητα του συντελούν στην εκπληκτική εξέλιξη και πλοκή προσώπων και γεγονότων για ένα αποτέλεσμα που ανατρέπεται συμπερασματικά ως την τελευταία σελίδα. Δεν χρειάζεται να φανταστείς τους χαρακτήρες, την οπτική τους παρουσία, τα ενδότερα πνευματικά και ψυχικά τους στοιχεία, ούτε καν τους τόπους, τα μέρη, τους χώρους που διαδραματίζονται όλα. Η περιγραφική του πένα σου αποκαλύπτει εξαιρετικά και σε πραγματικό χρόνο ό,τι μπορείς ή δεν μπορείς να φανταστείς. Το στυλ του ξεκάθαρο, σαφές, συνοπτικό, χωρίς υπερβολικές καταγραφές, εύκολο και τρομερά ενδιαφέρον. Προσελκύει εθιστικά την ανάγνωση και τραβάει όλο και πιο βαθιά σε αγωνία και απρόσμενες αποκαλύψεις απο το ένα κεφάλαιο στο άλλο. Διατηρώντας παράλληλα χαρακτήρες και πλοκή σε μια ουσιαστική ροή χωρίς σύγχυση. Τα βικτωριανά μυθιστορήματα φημίζονται για την εξέλιξη των χαρακτήρων τους και το συγκεκριμένο δεν αποτελεί εξαίρεση, αποτελεί μια εκπληκτική πορεία δράσης όπου τα φαινόμενα πάντα απατούν και ανατρέπουν δεδομένα που ίσως να ήταν αυτονόητα. Πολλοί αφηγητές που πήραν μέρος στην ιστορία μυστηρίου και αγάπης εξιστορούν ο καθένας απο την δική του οπτική γωνία πως βίωσαν τις καταστάσεις σε προσωπικό και κοινωνικό επίπεδο. Οι αφηγήσεις τους δεν είναι σε σωστή χρονική σειρά πάνω στην πραγματική ιστορία, μα ειναι διαδοχικές απο πρόσωπο σε πρόσωπο κι αυτό ειναι ενα ακόμη στοιχείο μη αναρρωτικής αγωνίας. Έχουν περάσει 168 χρόνια απο τη στιγμή που δημοσιεύτηκε κι όμως, αυτό το τεράστιο χρονικό διάστημα δεν είναι πουθενά αποτρεπτικό. Η βικτωριανή εποχή ενισχύει τους σπουδαίους χαρακτήρες οι οποίοι με τη σειρά τους είναι τόσο πραγματικοί που μπαίνουν σε συγκριτικά με ανθρώπους της σημερινής εποχής. Δεν θα αναφερθώ στην ιστορία του βιβλίου, αυτό πρέπει να το βιώσει ο κάθε αναγνώστης ως προσωπική εμπειρία. Ωστόσο απο τους ήρωες ξεχώρισα και θαύμασα την προσωπικότητα του Κόμη Φόσκο. Πόσο ιδιοφυής πρέπει να είσαι για να χτίσεις έναν τέτοιο πρωταγωνιστή. Ο Φόσκο είναι ένας κακοποιός που αποτελεί μια απο τις πιο θαυμάσιες λογοτεχνικές δημιουργίες. Μια μάζα αντιφάσεων ουσιαστικά και μεταφορικά. Ένας άψογος ραδιούργος, αριστοκρατικά τοποθετημένος στην αστική τάξη που τον ενισχύει σε κάθε επιδίωξη του. Ο Κόμης Φόσκο, ένας άνδρας με αξέχαστη φυσιογνωμία, οξυμένη αντίληψη, πνευματώδης, καταρτισμένος, θύτης ανηλεής και θύμα ερωτικής κρίσης. Βρίσκεται πάντα ενα βήμα μπροστά απο τις ενέργειες των ηρώων και φαινομενικά μπορεί να ειναι δισυπόστατος σε ψυχή και σώμα. Είναι ο κακός που αγάπησα, ο αδυσώπητος και σκληρός τυχοδιώκτης που λάτρεψα. Πραγματικά μέχρι το τέλος δεν κατάφερα να τον μισήσω όσο κι αν προσπάθησα. Σε αντίθεση με τους καλούς χαρακτήρες που με άφησαν συναισθηματικά αδιάφορη. Σε ολόκληρο το βιβλίο - δεν παίζει κανεναν απολύτως ρόλο ο όγκος των σελίδων - ξέρουμε πως συμβαίνει κάτι πολύ κακό... μα σε αντίθεση με τα παραδοσιακά μυστήρια των βιβλίων που αναζητάμε τον ένοχο, εδώ έως το τέλος ψάχνουμε όχι μόνο το ποιος το έκανε, μα και το «τι έκανε». Ένα διαβολικό παραμύθι με τραγικές εξελίξεις που ακούγεται απο διάφορες και διαφορετικές φωνές. Μια κλασική αναγνωστική εμπειρία, μια μαρτυρία χτισμένη με αγάπη, φιλία, καλές και κακές οικογενειακές σχέσεις, τρόμο, μυστήριο, προδοσία, ψυχολογικά παιχνίδια, πίστη, συμπόνοια και έντονη γοτθική αίσθηση. Απόλυτα ισορροπημένα και εναλλασσόμενα ώστε να μη φθείρονται μέχρι τέλους. Το απόλαυσα, το θαύμασα. Με αντάμειψε, χαρίζοντας μου πολλά περισσότερα απο ό,τι μπορεί να υποσχεθεί ένα μυθιστορημα. Χρόνια Πολλά!!! Καλή ανάγνωση. Πολλούς ασπασμούς.

  12. 4 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 mat 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... and a bunch of classicist stuff. All the elements I adore are here. It's Gothic, & the writer is like some British N. Hawthorne (Well at least I think so: and 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.

  13. 3 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 5 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.

  16. 4 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 4 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

  19. 5 out of 5

    Evgeny

    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

    Virginia

    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.

  21. 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!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    I've never liked the term "butterface." I don't object to the objectification; I just don't like the sound of it. Nonetheless, it unavoidably popped into my head at my introduction from behind to Miss Halcombe, as Collins allows Hartright to ogle "the rare beauty of her form...[and] her waist, perfection to the eyes of a man, for it occupied its natural place...visibly and delightfully undeformed by stays*," before she turns and he's horrified by the revelation that "The lady is ugly!" (I.6) Sinc I've never liked the term "butterface." I don't object to the objectification; I just don't like the sound of it. Nonetheless, it unavoidably popped into my head at my introduction from behind to Miss Halcombe, as Collins allows Hartright to ogle "the rare beauty of her form...[and] her waist, perfection to the eyes of a man, for it occupied its natural place...visibly and delightfully undeformed by stays*," before she turns and he's horrified by the revelation that "The lady is ugly!" (I.6) Since I like pretentious literary allusions as much as I dislike the word "butterface," I propose to exchange that unpleasant word for the new term, "Halcombe." It's even gender-neutral: "That guy you went home with last night? Looks like he hits the gym plenty...but man, what a Halcombe." Much better, right? I've already put it on urbandictionary.com; go give it a thumbs up. 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: the aforementioned Halcombe, who makes the book basically feminist; 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.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kyriaki

    Αιφνιδιαστικά συναρπαστικό! Ο Ουόλτερ Χαρτράιτ προσλαμβάνεται για μερικούς μήνες στο Λίμεριτζ Χάουζ από τον κύριο Φέρλι για να διδάξει ζωγραφική σε δύο νεαρές δεσποινίδες, τη Λόρα Φέρλι και τη Μάριαν Χάλκομπ. Στο πρώτο μέρος του ταξιδιού του προς τα εκεί, σε έναν ερημικό δρόμο, μία η ώρα το βράδυ ο Ουόλτερ συναντά μια μυστηριώδη γυναίκα ντυμένη από την κορυφή μέχρι τα νύχια στα λευκά. Και κάπως έτσι ξεκινάει για τον Ουόλτερ, τη Λόρα και τη Μάριαν μια δυσάρεστη περιπέτεια. Αν και δεν έχω διαβάσει πο Αιφνιδιαστικά συναρπαστικό! Ο Ουόλτερ Χαρτράιτ προσλαμβάνεται για μερικούς μήνες στο Λίμεριτζ Χάουζ από τον κύριο Φέρλι για να διδάξει ζωγραφική σε δύο νεαρές δεσποινίδες, τη Λόρα Φέρλι και τη Μάριαν Χάλκομπ. Στο πρώτο μέρος του ταξιδιού του προς τα εκεί, σε έναν ερημικό δρόμο, μία η ώρα το βράδυ ο Ουόλτερ συναντά μια μυστηριώδη γυναίκα ντυμένη από την κορυφή μέχρι τα νύχια στα λευκά. Και κάπως έτσι ξεκινάει για τον Ουόλτερ, τη Λόρα και τη Μάριαν μια δυσάρεστη περιπέτεια. Αν και δεν έχω διαβάσει πολλά βιβλία της εποχής(19ος αιώνας) περίμενα να συναντήσω πολλές γλαφυρές περιγραφές, καθωσπρέπει κυρίους και ευαίσθητες δεσποινίδες που με την παραμικρή αναστάτωση να πέφτουν του θανατά. Αντιθέτως βρήκα αγωνία, μυστήριο, συνωμοσίες και βαθιά σκιαγραφημένους χαρακτήρες! Δεν θέλω να πω κάτι παραπάνω για την υπόθεση μιας και πιστεύω πως είναι καλύτερα να ξεκινήσει κανείς ανυποψίαστος. Θα πω όμως ότι από τις πρώτες κιόλας σελίδες του με κέρδισε με την ατμόσφαιρά του, αλλά και αργότερα μπαίνοντας όλο και βαθύτερα στην ιστορία καθώς με κάθε νέο στοιχείο που έρχονταν στο φως η αγωνία μου αυξάνονταν. Καθώς περνούσαν οι σελίδες όλο και πιο πολύ ήθελα να φτάσω στη λύση του μυστηρίου! Θέλω επίσης να αναφερθώ στους δύο χαρακτήρες που μου έκαναν τη μεγαλύτερη εντύπωση: την Μάριαν Χάλκομπ, έξυπνη, γενναία, δυναμική, ένας εξαιρετικός γυναικείος χαρακτήρας που συμπάθησα πάρα πολύ, και από την άλλη μεριά ο κόμης Φόσκο. Ένας ιδιαίτερα ύπουλα κακός τύπος, του οποίου την πολυπλοκότητα του χαρακτήρα βρήκα συναρπαστική και πραγματικά απολάμβανα να διαβάζω γι' αυτόν! Ιδιοφυές, ανατρεπτικό, συναρπαστικό, μου άρεσε πολύ! B.R.A.CE. 2018: 4 βιβλία με ένα χρώμα στον τίτλο ή στο εξώφυλλο (2/4)

  24. 5 out of 5

    BrokenTune

    At the ripe age of sixty, I make this unparalleled confession. Youths! I invoke your sympathy. Maidens! I claim your tears. So finally, finally I got around to reading the classic that is The Woman in White. About the book, I am so glad I read it. I didn't love it, but I fully acknowledge that it is a remarkable book and, its time, must have caused quite a stir. I loved the narration from several points of view - basically, every character got their say at one point. Even a grave stone got a par At the ripe age of sixty, I make this unparalleled confession. Youths! I invoke your sympathy. Maidens! I claim your tears. So finally, finally I got around to reading the classic that is The Woman in White. About the book, I am so glad I read it. I didn't love it, but I fully acknowledge that it is a remarkable book and, its time, must have caused quite a stir. I loved the narration from several points of view - basically, every character got their say at one point. Even a grave stone got a paragraph to tell part of the story! I loved the plot and the twists - but I won't go into them because, erm, spoilers and such - even tho I already had a good idea of where the plot was going to go. I loved that there was such a mix of characters. From the courageous, to the devious, to the whiny, to the downright pathetic. And no, the "hero" of the piece was not necessarily the best character. In fact, Walter Hartwright was such an annoying, whiny, lovesick puppy for the first part of the book that I felt some great relief when another character took over the narration. Luckily, Walter improved later in the book. (Although, he remained a condescending git.) The second main character, Laura, was no better. If there was a quote to describe her, this would be my pick: "I am so useless— I am such a burden on both of you," she answered, with a weary, hopeless sigh. "You work and get money, Walter, and Marian helps you. Why is there nothing I can do? You will end in liking Marian better than you like me— you will, because I am so helpless! Oh, don't, don't, don't treat me like a child!" Luckily, Laura is absent for much of the book because.....ahaha....it's a mystery. No, my favourite character of this book was Marian Halcombe, whom Walter (the main character) describes as follows on their first encounter: 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! Never was the old conventional maxim, that Nature cannot err, more flatly contradicted— never was the fair promise of a lovely figure more strangely and startlingly belied by the face and head that crowned it. The lady's complexion was almost swarthy, and the dark down on her upper lip was almost a moustache. She had a large, firm, masculine mouth and jaw; prominent, piercing, resolute brown eyes; and thick, coal-black hair, growing unusually low down on her forehead. Her expression— bright, frank, and intelligent— appeared, while she was silent, to be altogether wanting in those feminine attractions of gentleness and pliability, without which the beauty of the handsomest woman alive is beauty incomplete. Well, as I said, Walter was a bit of a git. However, this is one of the examples in the book that shows how Collins set out his narratives and that he did to include humor, even if it was kinda shallow. Some of us rush through life, and some of us saunter through life. Mrs. Vesey SAT through life. All of this was very well. Good writing, a well laid out plot, a romantic element, experimental writing (for its time), fascinating characters, ... So, why did The Woman in White not sweep me off my feet? I guess the simple answer to this is that the story dragged. A LOT. I'm at a loss to see why we needed to read the Third Epoch, other than this having being printed as a serial originally and Collins obviously kept the story going for a paycheck. Had he cut some of the overly detailed explanations at the end I would have enjoyed this much, much more. Alas, he didn't. Just could not come to the point, which reminded me of all the things that were so annoying about Walter in the beginning of the book - it took him ages to come to a conclusion about his feelings that were just so obvious: I loved her. Ah! how well I know all the sadness and all the mockery that is contained in those three words. I can sigh over my mournful confession with the tenderest woman who reads it and pities me. I can laugh at it as bitterly as the hardest man who tosses it from him in contempt. I loved her! Feel for me, or despise me, I confess it with the same immovable resolution to own the truth. No shit, Sherlock.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Piyangie

    This is one of the greatest books I have read in my life. It is really amazing that how many great books I have come across and read this year, all thanks to goodreads. The book is my first Wilkie Collins and I’m really glad to have finally come across him, for he has instantly 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 k This is one of the greatest books I have read in my life. It is really amazing that how many great books I have come across and read this year, all thanks to goodreads. The book is my first Wilkie Collins and I’m really glad to have finally come across him, for he has instantly 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 certain 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 reading experience of this book was so different; not at any point Collins allowed my own mental interpretations to come in to 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 number of 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 of 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 take 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 the 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 sensational novel was a great success in its time and I believe still is which in itself accounts for its greatness. Simply, I loved the book and it was a great read. 5 full stars, and a place among my favourite-classic shelf is the reward in return.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Gabrielle Dubois

    The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins I started this book, encouraged by readers of the group “Victorians!” The type of reading “police investigations” is not at all mine: I’ve never read either a Sherlock Holmes or an Agatha Christie, yes, this kind of reader exists! In fact, I’veve always been afraid of not finding in a detective story, deed characters, feeling, poetry. But, as it would be foolish to reject a type of books without having read a single one, I started The Woman in White. Result .. The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins I started this book, encouraged by readers of the group “Victorians!” The type of reading “police investigations” is not at all mine: I’ve never read either a Sherlock Holmes or an Agatha Christie, yes, this kind of reader exists! In fact, I’veve always been afraid of not finding in a detective story, deed characters, feeling, poetry. But, as it would be foolish to reject a type of books without having read a single one, I started The Woman in White. Result ... I'm hooked on this story! My French edition is 500 pages, I read the first 160 pages last night! The first sentence, simple, concise, is well chosen: it presents the story and immediately intrigues: « This is the story of what a Woman's patience can endure, and what a Man's resolution can achieve. » Then, for a few pages, I was a little afraid to find myself in a court, as in a police TV series, which bores me deeply. But, finally, we enter fairly quickly in the story and we are quickly captivated. The character of Marian Halcombe is a young woman as I like them: intelligent, clairvoyant and good. That of Walter Hartright, who seemed to me soft at first, even lazy, turned out to be a bit romantic and it’s probably this side of his nature that led him to this mysterious story. For the moment, the police investigation side that I feared doesn’t bother me. Wilkie Collins, apart from the plot, masters the art of knowing when and how to describe nature through the eyes of the drawing-master, the discreet and polite birth of love feelings, the different links weaved between the protagonists depending on whether they’re a woman, a man, according to the social rank, wealth, or degree of friendship or love. There are some passages of reflections on life that I had already made by myself, such as: « I have observed, not only in my sister's case, but in the instances of others, that we of the young generation are nothing like so hearty and so impulsive as some of our elders. I constantly see old people flushed and excited by the prospect of some anticipated pleasure which altogether fails to ruffle the tranquillity of their serene grandchildren. » And also : « Admiration of those beauties of the inanimate world, which poetry so largely and so eloquently describes, is not, even in the best of us, one of the original instincts of our nature. Those whose lives are most exclusively passed amid the ever-changing wonders of sea and land are also those who are most universally insensible to every aspect of Nature not directly associated with the human interest of their calling. Our capacity of appreciating the beauties of the earth we live on is, in truth, one of the civilised accomplishments which we all learn as an Art. » In short, I'm happy I started reading my first novel by Wilkie Collins. And now as usual, the same one in French : La dame en blanc, de Wilkie Collins J’ai commencé ce livre, incitée par les lectrices du groupe Victorians! . Le genre enquête policière n’est pas du tout mon genre de lecture : je n’ai jamais lu ni un Sherlock Holmes ni un Agatha Christie, eh oui, ça existe ! En fait, j’ai toujours craint de ne pas trouver dans un roman policier de profondeur des personnages, de sentiment, de poésie. Mais, comme se serait idiot de rejeter un genre sans avoir lu un seul livre, je me suis lancée. Résultat… je suis accroc à cette histoire ! Mon édition française fait 500 pages, j’en ai lu 160 cette nuit ! La première phrase, simple, conscise, est bien choisie : elle présente l’histoire et intrigue d’emblée : « Cette histoire montre avec quel courage une femme peut supporter les épreuves de la vie et ce dont un homme est capable pour arriver à ses fins. » Puis, pendant quelques pages, j’ai eu un peu peur de me retrouver dans un tribunal, comme dans un feuilleton télévisé policier, ce qui m’ennuie profondément. Mais, finalement, on entre assez rapidement dans l’histoire et on est assez vite captivé. Le personnage de Marian Halcombe est une jeune femme comme je les aime : intelligente, clairvoyante et bonne. Celui de Walter Hartright, qui m’a semblé mou au départ, voire, fainéant, s’est avéré être un brin romantique et c’est sans doute ce côté de sa nature qui l’a entraîné dans cette mystérieuse histoire. Pour le moment, le côté enquête policière que je redoutais ne me gêne pas. Wilkie Collins, hormis l’intrigue, maîtrise l’art de savoir quand et comment décrire la nature à travers les yeux du professeur de dessin, la naissance discrète et polie des sentiments amoureux, les différentes liés tissés entre eux par chaque personnage selon qu’il est une femme, un homme, selon son rang social, sa richesse, son degré d’amitié ou d’amour. Il y a certains passages de réflexions sur la vie que je m’étais déjà faites, telles que : « J’ai observé, non seulement chez ma sœur, mais aussi chez d’autres jeunes gens, que notre génération est beaucoup moins expensive que celle de nos parents. Je vois continuellement des personnes âgées, joyeuses et agitées devant la perspective de quelque plaisir qui ne trouble même pas la tranquilité de leurs enfants ou petits-enfants. » Et aussi : « L’admiration pour les splendeurs inanimées de la nature que la poésie décrit avec tant d’éloquence n’existe pas à l’état latent dans notre être intime. Ceux dont la vie s’écoule au milieu des merveilles toujours changeantes de la terre et de la mer sont précisemment ceux qui s’y interessent le mpins, à moins que ces changements continuels ne soient étroitement liés à leur profession. C’est tout un art de savoir apprécier les merveilles de l’univers sensible, et c’est ce que la civilisation nous enseigne chaque jour. » Bref, je suis bien contente d’avoir commencé à lire mon premier roman de Wilkie Collins.

  27. 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.

  28. 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 serialisation history. Characters: Walter Hartright, Marian Halcombe, Anne Catherick, Sir Percival Glyde, Count Fosco, Frederick Fairlie, Laura Fairlie, Madame Fosco, Mr. Gilmore. عنوانها: زن سفیدپوش؛ بانوی سفیدپوش؛ نویسنده: ویلکی کالینز؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: دوم ماه دسامبر سال 1998 میلادی عنوان یک: «زن سفیدپوش»، ترجمه: نودهشتیا، نوع فایل: پی.دی.اف، در 524 ص عنوان دو: «زن سفیدپوش»، ترجمه: «آذرمیدخت کاوه‌خوری‌»، «پروین قائمی»، تاریخ اثر: سال ۱۳۷۶، شرح: ۷۳۳ ص.، ناشر: ت‍ه‍ران، ن‍ش‍ر ق‍طره‌، شابک: 9645958482 عنوان سه: «بانوی سفیدپوش»، ترجمه: «علی‌اکبر دستمالچی»، تاریخ اثر: ‏‫۱۳۸۷، شرح: 736 ص، ناشر: تبریز، مولود، شابک: 9786009025899 یادداشت: کتاب حاضر پیشتر تحت عنوان: «زن سفید پوش» در سال­های مختلف توسط ناشران و مترجمان متفاوت منتشر شده است 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 هایی که 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 پروپاقرص برایش دست و پا کرد.» پایان نقل از مقدمه کتاب. داستان شیوه 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 ست هنرمند، 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 آن جا 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..... ا. شربیانی

  29. 3 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.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nikoleta

    4,5 αστεράκια

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