The Woman in White
The Victorians couldn’t get enough of Wilkie Collins’s novel, The Woman in White. It sold out within weeks and inspired a sales mania: Woman in White bonnets and cloaks became all the rage and Walter a fashionable name for baby boys. It’s not hard to explain the novel’s popularity: it’s a rollicking potboiler full of dramatic incident from a midnight encounter with a ghostly figure on Hampstead Heath, to kidnapping, poisoning and identity fraud. Critics of the day hailed it as a new beginning in fiction on account of its power to excite the nervous system of even the most hardy and robust reader. The novel also worked on a more subversive level too exposing double standards in Victorian thinking about gender, the home and marital law. Join me to learn about the techniques and ideas that made The Woman in White such a spectacular success then and why it’s still popular today. The BBC are currently filming a new 13 part adaptation of the novel so what better way to prepare for this than by studying it first with LRL?