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Wilkie Collins (1824 – 1889)
Lifespan: 1824 - 1889
Related: British literature- sensation novel - Victorian era
The Woman in White (1860) - Wilkie Collins [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Cover illustration: Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl (1862).
William Wilkie Collins (8 January 1824 – 23 September 1889) was an English novelist, playwright, and writer of short stories. He was hugely popular in his time, and wrote 27 novels, more than 50 short stories, at least 15 plays, and over 100 pieces of non-fiction work. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilkie_Collins [Nov 2005]
The Woman in White (1860) - Wilkie Collins
The Woman in White is a novel written by Wilkie Collins and published in 1860. The Woman in White is widely regarded as the first in the genre of 'sensation novels' and the fist example of mystery fiction. It follows the story of two sisters living in Victorian England with their selfish, uninterested uncle as their guardian. Marian Halcombe is the elder of the two sisters, and a remarkably ugly woman, but with courage, strength and resourcefulness in abundance. The younger, her beautiful half-sister Laura Fairlie, is engaged to a rich man by the name of Sir Percival Glyde.
The story begins when the hero, art master Walter Hartright, arrives to tutor the two sisters, and he and Laura rapidly fall in love. As Walter and Marian together delve deeper into the mystery of a strange woman dressed all in white, uncover the secret history of Sir Percival Glyde, and engage in a battle of wits with the enigmatic 'Napoleon of Crime' Count Fosco, the plot threads combine to produce a fast, thrilling story, leading this particular type of fiction to be described as 'sensation'.
The Woman in White is also an early example of a particular type of Collins narrative, in which several characters in turn take up the narrative of the story, often hearing one incident told from several points of view. This creates a complex web, in which the readers are unsure of who can, and cannot be trusted, and features heavily in many of Collins's writings, including The Moonstone.
The Woman in White was first published as a serial in the magazine All the Year Round, created by Collins's close friend and literary mentor Charles Dickens. Following the success of the serialisation of The Woman in White, Collins also serialised The Moonstone, credited with being the first true detective story, in the same magazine.
See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Woman_in_White [Sept 2005]
“Collins was a master craftsman, whom many modern mystery-mongers might imitate to their profit.” —Dorothy L. Sayers
See also: 1860 - sensation - novel - UK
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