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The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

William Wilkie Collins, the oldest son of William Collins, a fashionable painter. Collins was named after a friend of the family, Sir David Wilkie.

He was born in London's Marylebone London on 8 January 1824, where he lived more or less continuously for 65 years. Today he is best known for The Moonstone (1868), often regarded as the first true detective novel, and The Woman in White (1860), the archetypal sensation novel. During his lifetime, however, he wrote over thirty major books, well over a hundred articles, short stories and essays, and a dozen or more plays.

He lived an unconventional, Bohemian lifestyle, loved good food and wine to excess, wore flamboyant clothes, travelled abroad frequently, formed long-term relationships with two women but married neither, and took vast quantities of opium over many years to relieve the symptoms of ill health. Collins's circle of friends included many pre-eminent figures of the day. He knew the major writers, particularly Charles Dickens with whom he regularly collaborated, as well as a host of minor novelists. His friends and acquaintances included some of the foremost artists, playwrights, theatrical personalities, musicians, publishers, physicians and society figures of the time. Collins's unorthodox lifestyle reveals a cynical regard for the Victorian establishment. This view is reflected in his books together with a sense of humour and a profound understanding for many of the then prevailing social injustices.

As he grew older, Collins suffered terribly from gout, for which he took laudanum. Most of The Moonstone was dictated while he was bed-ridden and in agony. He died in 1889.


1.Walter Hartright: A young art teacher, he is twenty-eight years old. He falls in love with Laura. He is very right man, he likes people but he can hate too. He wants to make everything to abolish Sir Percival Glyde.
2.Marian Halcombe: She is Laura Fairlie's half-sister. She is friendly, modest and sensitive woman. She loved her sister Laura very much, she would make everything for her.
3.Miss Laura Fairlie: She is Glyde´s wife, he married her only for her money. She really loves Walter. Her sister means for her much.
4.Anne Catherick: Mysterious woman in white. Laura's double. They are real sisters. She was closed in asylum, but she was able to escape.
5.Sir Percival Glyde: Friend of Laura's father. He is with Laura only for her money. He is very calculated man, who long only for money. He has one secret, which can destroy himself.
6.Count Fosco: Archetypal 'fat man' villain. He is conspiring with Glyde. He is artful and catty man, which makes scared feelings in people.

A short plot

The novel, for which is Collins most famous, was published in 1860. Walter Hartright, a young drawing master, was walking home from Hampstead on his last evening in London. On this time he meets a mysterious woman dressed in white, apparently in deep distress. He helps her on her way but later learns that she has escaped from an asylum. The next day he travels north to Limmeridge House. The household comprises Mr Frederick Fairlie. Laura Fairlie, his niece, and Marian Halcombe, her devoted half-sister are Walter´s students. Hartright finds that Laura bears an astonishing resemblance to the woman in white, called Anne Catherick. The simple-minded Anne had lived for a time in Cumberland as a child and was devoted to Laura's mother, who first dressed her in white.

Walter and Laura quickly fall in love. Laura, however, has promised her father that she will marry Sir Percival Glyde, and Marian advises Walter to leave Limmeridge. Anne, after sending a letter to Laura warning her against Glyde, meets Hartright who is convinced that Glyde was responsible for shutting her in the asylum. Laura and Glyde marry in December 1849 and travel to Italy for 6 months. Hartright also leaves England, joining an expedition to Honduras.
After their honeymoon, Sir Percival and Lady Glyde return the to his family estate in Hampshire, Blackwater Park. They are accompanied by Glyde's friend, Count Fosco. Marian Halcombe is also living at Blackwater and learns that Glyde is in financial difficulties. Sir Percival unsuccessfully attempts to bully Laura into signing a document which would allow him to use her marriage settlement of £20,000. While Marian is hearing about their plan, it is also raining and then she collapses with a fever which turns to typhus.

While she is ill, Laura is tricked into travelling to London. Her identity and that of Anne Catherick are then switched. Anne Catherick dies of a heart condition and is buried in Cumberland as Laura, while Laura is drugged and placed in the asylum as Anne Catherick. When Marian recovers and visits the asylum hoping to learn something from Anne Catherick, she finds Laura, supposedly suffering from the delusion that she is Lady Glyde.

Marian bribes the nurse and Laura escapes. Hartright has safely returned and the three live together in obscure poverty, determined to restore Laura's identity. After some time Walter discovers Glyde's secret, which has known only Anna and her mother. Several years earlier, Glyde had forgotten the marriage register at Old Welmingham Church to conceal his illegitimacy. Glyde attempts to destroy the register entry, but the church vestry catches fire and he perishes in the flames. Hartright then discovers that Anne was the illegitimate child of Laura's father, which accounts for their resemblance. Walter Hartright now has the power to force a written confession from Fosco and Laura's identity is restored. Hartright and Laura have married and, on the death of Frederick Fairlie, their son becomes the Heir of Limmeridge.

My opinion:

A few days ago I read one book, which name was ,,The woman in white,,. I think that this book was one of the best books I have ever read. I break reading this book only one time, because it was very attractive, interesting and exciting. I would like to recommend this fiction to everybody. My opinion is that, this fiction was very thriller. The most beautiful part for me was the beginning where Walter met Anna, „the woman in white“. And second most beautiful part for me was the end where we get to know what was a resolution of true:who was Anna in fact

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