‘There…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.’
This weekend I’m re-reading Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White. It’s part of my university degree module.
The essay I’m working on asks students to compare and contrast the techniques by which two novels (The Woman in White, and Madame Bovary) construct what might be described as ‘portraits’ of their leading female characters.
In The Woman in White, Walter Hartright has a mysterious midnight encounter with a strange woman. The meeting draws him into a vortex of crime, poison, kidnapping, and international intrigue.
Collins presents a variety of first person narratives through a series of letters. The good thing is that the letters are all stylistically different, to reflect the voice of each character.
At 643 pages The Woman in White is certainly not a quick read, but its style, characters and themes make it an interesting read. The first time I read the book, I got through it much quicker than I expected. I’m hoping a second reading will allow me to focus on the themes, ideas and characters, so I have a much deeper understanding.
What are you reading this weekend?