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The Woman in White (1859)

by Wilkie Collins

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
11,048306457 (4.06)7 / 1234
"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." Thus young Walter Hartright first meets the mysterious woman in white in what soon became one of the most popular novels of the nineteenth century. Secrets, mistaken identities, surprise revelations, amnesia, locked rooms and locked asylums, and an unorthodox villain made this mystery thriller an instant success when it first appeared in 1860, and it has continued to enthrall readers ever since. From the hero's foreboding before his arrival at Limmeridge House to the nefarious plot concerning the beautiful Laura, the breathtaking tension of Collins's narrative created a new literary genre of suspense fiction, which profoundly shaped the course of English popular writing. Collins's other great mystery, The Moonstone, has been called the finest detective story ever written, but it was this work that so gripped the imagination of the world that Wilkie Collins had his own tombstone inscribed: "Author of The Woman in White."… (more)
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English (293)  Italian (4)  Dutch (2)  French (2)  Spanish (2)  Portuguese (1)  Swedish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (306)
Showing 1-5 of 293 (next | show all)
I am amazed that I had somehow missed this in my many years of reading. Considered to be the beginning of the mystery genre, I found it long but delightful. Highly recommend to mystery fans. Of course, as with most classics it is a journey in language.

The tale of Walter Hartright, who encounters a woman all dressed in white on a moonlit road in Hampstead. Hartright helps the woman to find her way back to London. The woman warns him against an unnamed baronet and after they part he discovers that she may have escaped from an insane asylum. Hartright travels to Cumberland where he takes up a position as the art tutor of Laura Fairlie and her devoted half-sister, Marian Halcombe, who are somehow entangled with this mysterious “woman in white”. ( )
  Gmomaj | May 22, 2021 |
This was a long one, but I loved every minute of it. The characters are so real, the situation so compelling. A great read! Simon Prebble and Josephine Bailey do wonderful jobs narrating. The only thing that stumps me is what can possibly follow this? ( )
  njcur | Apr 20, 2021 |
I enjoyed this immensely, although [b:The Moonstone|6138|The Moonstone|Wilkie Collins|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1403192382s/6138.jpg|1044477] will remain my favorite. It just felt a bit too long at the end. ( )
  RosanaDR | Apr 15, 2021 |
Written in the 1800s, the writing style reads rather contemporary. The story is well constructed, using the technique of different narrators. This gives the benefit of different perspectives, and the reader gradually finds out what actually happened. ( )
  siok | Dec 6, 2020 |
In many ways this is an unusual read for me. A mystery: I read very few of these, although I did just recently finish up all of the Sherlock Holmes stories. A novel from the Victorian age: I should read more from that time period. A novel by Wilkie Collins: my first, but I think not my last. A Woman in White is proof of the value I get from Goodreads. It found its way to my “to read” list because of the reviews of some Goodreads friends, described as a mystery that is enjoyable even to those that don’t typically read mysteries.

A Woman in White was one of those easy reading pleasures. While it was slow in starting and slow in places, the characters became as rich in detail as any friends in real life and the plot revealed itself slowly and enticingly. This novel continually invited me back like a fall day that encourages you to spend the entire day outside.

I listened to this on Audible. There are actually several different recordings of A Woman in White available through Audible. I listened to one in which different actors played the various characters. This was very effective as Wilkie Collins uses different narrators throughout the novel, an approach that I think he uses in some of his other novels.

I imagine Wilkie Collins would be quite content to know that his novels bring so much pleasure these many years after writing them. I think I would be. ( )
  afkendrick | Oct 24, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 293 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (77 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wilkie Collinsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bailey, JosephineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cauti, CamilleIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dei, FedoraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holm, IanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lorac, E. C. R.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prebble, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ruffilli, PaoloIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sutherland, JohnEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sweet, MatthewEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Symons, JulianIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tummolini, StefanoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Willis, ChristineEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woolf, GabrielNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
First words
This is the story of what a Woman's patience can endure, and what a Man's resolution can achieve.
T. S. Eliot, in seeking to express his admiration for Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White, together with Armadale and The Moonstone, regretted that there was no aesthetic of melodrama, a genuine art form. (Introduction)
An experiment is attempted in this novel, which has not (so far as I know) been hitherto tried in fiction. (Preface 1860)
'The Woman in White' has been received with such marked favour by a very large circle of readers, that this volume scarcely stands in need of any prefatory introduction on my part. (Preface 1861)
Quotations
The soft hazy twilight was just shading leaf and blossom alike into harmony with its own sober hues as we entered the room, and the sweet evening scent of the flowers met us with its fragrant welcome through the open glass doors.
There are three things that none of the young men of the present generation can do. They can't sit over their wine, they can't play at whist, and they can't pay a lady a compliment.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

"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." Thus young Walter Hartright first meets the mysterious woman in white in what soon became one of the most popular novels of the nineteenth century. Secrets, mistaken identities, surprise revelations, amnesia, locked rooms and locked asylums, and an unorthodox villain made this mystery thriller an instant success when it first appeared in 1860, and it has continued to enthrall readers ever since. From the hero's foreboding before his arrival at Limmeridge House to the nefarious plot concerning the beautiful Laura, the breathtaking tension of Collins's narrative created a new literary genre of suspense fiction, which profoundly shaped the course of English popular writing. Collins's other great mystery, The Moonstone, has been called the finest detective story ever written, but it was this work that so gripped the imagination of the world that Wilkie Collins had his own tombstone inscribed: "Author of The Woman in White."

No library descriptions found.

Book description
When Walter Hartwright encounters a solitary, terrified, beautiful woman dressed in white on a moonlit night in London, he feels impelled to solve the mystery of her distress. The story, full of secrets, locked rooms, lost memories, and surprise revelations, features heroine Marian Halcombe and drawing-master Walter Hartright as sleuthing partners pitted against the diabolical Count Fosco and Sir Percival Glyde. This gothic psychological thriller, a mesmerizing tale of murder, intrigue, madness, and mistaken identity, has gripped the imagination of readers since its first publication in 1860. The breathtaking tension of Collins's narrative created a new literary genre of suspense fiction, which profoundly shaped the course of English popular writing.
Haiku summary
Identity theft,
money, madness, hidden crimes –
a Collins classic.
(passion4reading – thank you, wisewoman)
The Woman in White.
Count Fosco controls it all,
but Marian wins!
(rretzler)

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141439610, 0141389435

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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