The Woman in White

The Woman in White

The Woman in White

The Woman in White


The Woman in White (1859-60) is the first and greatest "Sensation Novel." Walter Hartright's mysterious midnight encounter with the woman in white draws him into a vortex of crime, poison, kidnapping, and international intrigue. This new critical edition is the first to use the original manuscript of the novel. John Sutherland examines Collins's contribution to Victorian fiction, traces his practices as a creator of plot, and provides a chronology of the novel's complicated events.


'THE WOMAN IN WHITE' has been received with such marked favour by a very large circle of readers, that this volume scarcely stands in need of any prefatory introduction on my part. All that it is necessary for me to say on the subject of the present edition--the first issued in a portable and popular form--may be summed up in few words.

I have endeavoured, by careful correction and revision, to make my story as worthy as I could of a continuance of the public approval. Certain technical errors which had escaped me while I was writing the book are here rectified. None of these little blemishes in the slightest degree interfered with the interest of the narrative--but it was as well to remove them at the first opportunity, out of respect to my readers; and in this edition, accordingly, they exist no more.

Some doubts having been expressed, in certain captious quarters, about the correct presentation of the legal 'points' incidental to the story, I may be permitted to mention that I spared no pains--in this instance, as in all others--to preserve myself from unintentionally misleading my readers. A solicitor of great experience in his profession most kindly and carefully guided my steps, whenever the course of the narrative led me into the labyrinth of the Law. Every doubtful question was submitted to this gentleman, before I ventured on putting pen to paper; and all the proof-sheets which referred to legal matters were corrected by his hand before the story was published. I can add, on high judicial authority, that these precautions were not taken in vain. The 'law' in this book has been discussed, since its publication, by more than one competent tribunal, and has been decided to be sound.

One word more, before I conclude, in acknowledgment of the heavy debt of gratitude which I owe to the reading public.

It is no affectation on my part to say that the success of this book has been especially welcome to me, because it implied the recognition of a literary principle which has guided . . .

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