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Topic: The Woman in White

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Subject: The Woman in White
Date Posted: 2/17/2010 9:15 PM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2008
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I just finished The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins.  It was on my classics challenge list as my classic mystery.  It took me a while to get into it but it was a fantastic story.  Once it hooked me, I was a goner!!  Has anyone else read this one??

Date Posted: 2/17/2010 9:30 PM ET
Member Since: 9/24/2005
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Not yet, but it's on my challenge list too.  I just received a copy last week from another PBS member, and am looking forward to reading it soon!

Date Posted: 2/17/2010 9:52 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2008
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Okay, this is sooo weird. I've been hearing about this book from all over the place for the past couple of weeks. Now I *really* better get it.

Date Posted: 2/17/2010 9:55 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
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It took me a while to get into it but it was a fantastic story

hickgal, yer killin' me. 

Tell me more, tell me more! What was it that made it  so fantastic? What's the story about besides a woman in white? What's the writing style like? The more details the better.

Date Posted: 2/18/2010 12:37 PM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2008
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Okay in a nutshell that doesn't give anything away....

The Woman in White is about a young lady (Laura) who falls in love with her art teacher (Walter).  Unfortunately, prior to her father's death he promises her in marriage to older man (Sir Glyde).  Because of her father's promise she marries the older man.  The husband has a deep, dark secret that he will do anything to keep others from finding out.  Laura's aunt and her husband (the Foscos) are also involved in things.  Count Fosco is an big fat (that's actually how he's described several times) Italian who has canaries and white mice as pets and is a quack doctor.  Countess Fosco just sits around rolling cigarettes for him.  Throw in the actual woman in white, Anne Catherick, who bears a striking resemblance to Laura yet Laura doens't know her and you've got yourself a fantastic mystery 

The story is written in the voice of several different people:  Walter, Marian, a maid, etc.  There is mystery, intrigue, twists, and even an asylum.  It really took me a while to really pick up on the story but I'm so glad I stuck it out.  

Masterpiece Theater did a dramatic version a few years ago so I'm going to get it from Netflix. 

Date Posted: 2/18/2010 2:56 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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I would also like to add that I think Wilkie Collins wrote some of the best female characters of any Victorian writer.  He didn't particularly believe in marriage and had truly forward thinking views in terms of gender parity and (in some ways) race.  I write this all the time here, but I think he's really under-rated.

In addition to The Woman in White and The Moonstone, I also recommend Armadale (my favorite!), No Name and The Law and the Lady.  They are all excellent mysteries, and in some of his books (Armadale and No Name in particular) he manages to be morally complicated in a way that someone like his good friend Dickens never touched upon.  The villainess in Armadale may be my number one, all time favorite literary creation. 

spelling, spelling



Last Edited on: 2/18/10 2:59 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/18/2010 5:42 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2009
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I've always loved Wilkie Collins. It is a crying shame so few of his works are available in libraries. They all seem to have the same well known titles.  For those of you who want more of him, there are many available for  downloading @gutenberg.org.  Enjoy!!!!

Date Posted: 2/19/2010 11:23 AM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
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Thank you all very much. I will be reading Collins now.

Date Posted: 2/19/2010 1:00 PM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2008
Posts: 364
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I actually downloaded The Woman in White onto my Nook for free.  Now I need to look for Armadale and I'll bet it's available also.  There are tons of free classics out there to download to e-readers.  :)

Date Posted: 2/19/2010 1:06 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
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Valentine Domo looks VERY VERY ANGRY.

Back to Collins - he is also just super entertaining.  Weirdly, one of the reasons he isn't read more widely is that his works have been put by critics into the "entertainment" box, rather than the "literature" one.  So he doesn't get assigned much, so people who like literature and take lots of lit classes can possibly miss out on him entirely.

Interestingly, Dorothy Sayers (of Wimsey fame) was obsessed with him and was working off and on throughout her life on a book long study of his work.  She never completed it, but what she has written is worth checking out.

Date Posted: 2/19/2010 5:54 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
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Valentine Domo looks VERY VERY ANGRY.

Could be frustration at her ever growing TBR pile or simply afterglow. Who knows?

Date Posted: 2/19/2010 6:10 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
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Woman in White is one of my favorite classics ever, I love the villain and the plucky heroine (Marian, not Laura).

Date Posted: 2/20/2010 2:17 AM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
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Marian is fantastic.  When I read it, all I could think was that anyone who picked Laura over Marian was an idiot.

ETA - also worth noting - one of the two heroes in Armadale (the more admirable one - the whole book is about dualities) is black.  Which I'm pretty sure is unique in Victorian literature.

spelling, always spelling



Last Edited on: 2/20/10 2:24 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 2/20/2010 9:15 AM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2008
Posts: 364
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I thought the same thing about Marian and Laura.  Laura seemed a bit soft in the head.  I know she was young but was she that much younger than Marian.  They seemed fairly close in age.  Walter was just a fool!

BTW...I did download a free e-version of Armadale on my Nook last night.  Can't wait to read that one now.  Thanks for the suggestion!

Date Posted: 2/20/2010 10:21 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
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Did you all know that Woman in White is available on Masterpiece Theatre?

Date Posted: 2/21/2010 8:26 AM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2008
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Did you all know that Woman in White is available on Masterpiece Theatre?

Yes, and I've already got it in my Netflix queue.  :)

Date Posted: 2/27/2010 8:36 PM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2008
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I got the Masterpiece Theater version of Woman in White from Netflix and I have to say that it was absolutely horrible.  They changed characters' names, only told a fraction of the story and twisted what they did depict.  HORRIBLE!   Do not get this movie if you've ready the book because you will be severely disappointed. 

I give it a gigantic

Vienna - ,
Date Posted: 2/28/2010 3:12 PM ET
Member Since: 11/13/2009
Posts: 35
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I read another obscure book by Wilkie "The Haunted Hotel."  What a time I had trying to get it in a library!!

It was good but the ending had much to be desired.  After reading all your replies, I'm going to read "The Lady In White."  

 

Funny, I never heard of Collins before and I've been around for quite a bit.  

Vienna - ,
Date Posted: 2/28/2010 3:13 PM ET
Member Since: 11/13/2009
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Woman