Friday read – The Woman in White

‘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.

Woman in White

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?



One thought on “Friday read – The Woman in White

  1. What an interesting comparison. I loved The Woman in White, even though I found the final twist there wholly unrealistic. I think the female character descriptions there are excellent. Somehow it reminded me of the descriptions you would find in Henry James’ The Portrait of a Lady. The protagonist’s thinking is also so insightful, reads on one breath.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s