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Original Essays | September 18, 2014

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The Woman in White (Modern Library Classics)

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The Woman in White (Modern Library Classics) Cover

 

 

Reading Group Guide

1. Wilkie Collins has been hailed as the creator of the “sensation novel”. Citing examples from The Woman in White, how would you define this Victorian literary genre?

2. In his preface to the 1860 edition of The Woman in White, Collins wrote, “An experiment is attempted in this novel, which has not (so far as I know) been hitherto tried in fiction. The story…is told throughout by the characters of the book.” Was the experiment a success? What is gained and what is lost in telling the story exclusively through first person narratives?

3. In her Introduction to this Modern Library edition, Anne Perry asks, “What is there in The Woman in White that transcends the change in culture from 1860 to the present, and beyond?” How would you answer this question?

4. Collins has been widely praised for his fully drawn portraits. Which characters stand out as the most vivid, and why?

5. Throughout the novel, how does Collins use premonitions, coincidences and dreams to foreshadow key events?

6. “Walter Hartright is very much a man of his time,” declares Anne Perry. “His view of women is almost unbelievably naïve compared with todays.” Drawing on Hartrights descriptions of Marian Halcombe and her sister Laura, as well as Anne Catherick and her mother, do you agree with Perrys comment? Do you think that Wilkie Collins shared his protagonists view of women?

7. Why does Mrs. Catherick allow her own daughter to be placed in an insane asylum, and how does she justify her actions?

8. In his concluding narrative, Count Fosco describes “the first and last weakness” of his life. What is the nature of Foscos self-described “deplorable and uncharacteristic fault”?

9. Throughout the novel, how does Collins explore the themes of respectability and social class?

Product Details

ISBN:
9780375759062
Introduction:
Perry, Anne
Author:
Perry, Anne
Author:
Collins, Wilkie
Author:
Wilkie Collins Introduction by Anne Perry
Publisher:
Modern Library
Location:
New York
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Classics
Subject:
England
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - General
Subject:
Nobility
Subject:
Country homes
Subject:
Art teachers
Subject:
Romantic suspense fiction.
Subject:
Inheritance and succession
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
fiction;mystery;classic;19th century;classics;victorian;gothic;england;novel;literature;british;suspense;thriller;british literature;crime;english literature;english;romance;detective;wilkie collins;historical fiction;sensation;epistolary;19th century lit
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Modern Library Classics
Series Volume:
3
Publication Date:
20020108
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
704
Dimensions:
8 x 5.27 x 1.17 in 1.045 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z

The Woman in White (Modern Library Classics) New Trade Paper
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$10.00 In Stock
Product details 704 pages Modern Library - English 9780375759062 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Set from the definitive "New Edition" of 1861 (London: Sampson, Low), this edition of Collins's popular Victorian psychological thriller features newly commissioned endnotes and a reading group guide.
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