First published in 1859–60, WilkieCollins's The Woman in White quickly establishes its hold over the reader. A young drawing-master named Hartright is walking home late one night when, out of nowhere, he is ‘brought to a stop by the touch of a hand laid lightly and suddenly on [his] shoulder’ (Collins 2003 : 23): ‘There, in the middle of the broad, bright high-road – there, as if it had that moment sprung out of the earth or dropped from the heavens – stood the figure of a solitary Woman, dressed from head to foot in white garments’ (23
(1868), both playing upon the delusive appearance of reality and
[Anon.] (1974), Bentley’s
Miscellany , xxxii (November 1852): 576–86, in N.
Page (ed.), WilkieCollins: The Critical Heritage ,
London: Routledge, p. 45
Gothicised Place and Globalised Space in Victorian Cornwall
This paper examines an account of Cornwall published by Wilkie Collins in 1851, focusing specifically upon Collins‘s claim that the region lay ‘beyond’ the railway. In so doing it explores the way in which mid-nineteenth-century Gothic discourse can be understood to inform a scalar opposition between localised place – conceived of as static, isolated, anachronistic and particular – and globalised space - conceived of as kinetic, networked, modern and homogenous.
Sensationalising Substance Abuse in the Victorian Home
Controversies about the mid-Victorian sensation novel newly brought to the fore clinical conceptualisations of novel reading as an addiction. Yet as novelists capitalised on the sensational potential of substance abuse at home as part of the genre‘s rupture of ideologies of domesticity, they juxtaposed the consumption of sensational material with other emotional and physical dependencies, while reading could be a panacea or cure. M. E. Braddon‘s John Marchmont‘s Legacy (1863) and Wilkie Collins‘s The Law and the Lady (1875) form particularly revealing examples of self-reflexive sensation novels that capitalise on a clinical Gothic of addiction by appropriating discourses that had, ironically, attacked the sensation genre most virulently.
This book explores the range of ways in which the two leading sensation authors of the 1860s, Mary Elizabeth Braddon and Wilkie Collins, engaged with nineteenth-century ideas about how the personality is formed and the extent to which it can be influenced either by the subject or by others. Innovative readings of Braddon’s and Collins’s sensation novels – some of them canonical, others less well-known – demonstrate how they reflect, employ, and challenge Victorian theories of heredity, degeneration, willpower, inherent constitution, education, insanity, upbringing and social circumstance. Far from presenting a reductive depiction of ‘nature’ versus ‘nurture’, Braddon and Collins show the creation of character to be a complex interplay of internal and external factors that are as much reliant on chance as on the efforts of the people who try to exert control over an individual’s development. Their works raise challenging questions about responsibility and self-determinism and, as the analyses of these texts reveals, demonstrate an acute awareness that the way in which character formation is understood fundamentally influences the way people (both in fiction and reality) are perceived, judged and treated. Drawing on material from a variety of genres, including Victorian medical textbooks, scientific and sociological treatises, specialist and popular periodical literature, Creating character shows how sensation authors situated themselves at the intersections of established and developing, conservative and radical, learned and sensationalist thought about how identity could be made and modified.
fiction drew upon a Gothic tradition, although he did not share
Dickens’s fascination with the ghost story. However, Collins did
leave behind a variety of ghost tales which in their own way indicate an
interest in how the form could be innovated. 1 Collins’s most sustained
attempt at a ghost story is his late novella The Haunted Hotel
This book is a study of constructions of masculinity in a range of medical, cultural and Gothic narratives at the fin de siecle. The final decades of the nineteenth century provide a particularly complex set of examples of how the dominant masculine scripts came to be associated with disease, degeneration and perversity. The book first outlines the theories of degeneracy, explaining how they relate to masculinity. It then charts an alternative British tradition of degeneracy as this British context provides a more immediate background to the case histories that follow. The book presents a close reading of Sir Frederick Treves's Reminiscences; Treves's memoirs focus on the issues confronted by doctors working in the late Victorian period. The Whitechapel murders of 1888 are then discussed. The book focuses on how and why the medical profession became implicated in the murders. The murders also suggested the presence of a demonic, criminalised form of masculine control over the East End. Continuing with its focus on medicine, the book discusses medical textbooks on syphilis in the 1880s and how they responded to a shift in attitude towards attributing responsibility for the spread of syphilis. An examination of how London appears as a gendered space in the work of male authors such as Thomas De Quincey, and Charles Dickens, and later Arthur Conan Doyle and Bram Stoker, is presented. Finally, some aspects of Oscar Wilde's trials are also examined as well as a range of his writings.
. Sensation fiction seemed to contemporaries to have burst on the scene with WilkieCollins's serialised best-selling thriller, The Woman in White , in 1859–60. Other wildly popular works, like Ellen Wood's East Lynne (1861) and Mary Braddon's Lady Audley's Secret ( 1862 ), followed quickly on Collins's heels, and soon sensation was the rage. While recent scholarship has seen the emergence of sensation fiction as more gradual, and has come to appreciate the ways even realist writers like Eliot appropriated the sensational into their plots, sensation fiction was
Wilkie Collins’s After Dark and Dalziel’s freelance engravers
. There is no pure outline. A line has shape beyond what
it outlines. Wood engravers knew about the shapes of lines better than anyone. Wherever there was a black
line, the engraver cut around it on all sides, shaping it in three
dimensions. This chapter examines the work of those Dalziel
employees who created other people’s lines, theorising their
labour through the idea of ghostwriting, and WilkieCollins
Women, domesticity and the female Gothic adaptation on television
this genre, and the ways in which we might locate a specific gendered viewing position through the close analysis of a particular cycle of popular television drama.
Adaptation of female Gothic literature, a term which encompasses a broad range of sources from Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca to the work of Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, WilkieCollins and others, has always been popular on British television. It featured frequently in the anthology drama series of the 1950s and 1960s, such as Hour of Mystery (ABC 1957) and Mystery and Imagination (ABC/Thames 1966