Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White
Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White. Analysis, Reception and Literary Criticism of a Victorian Bestseller
ISBN 978-3-88476-227-1, 306 S., kt., € 28,50 (1996)
(SALS - Studies in Anglophone Literatures, Bd. 7)
The Woman in White published in 1860 by Wilkie Collins was one of the most successful books of 19th century England. This study examines the bestseller as an important piece of Victorian literature and reassesses its position as a "major novel" among the literary canon. Up to now there has not been an exclusive examination of the novel itself and its international reception to the extent presented in this study.
One reason for much controversial discussion is the question of The Woman in White as a genre novel. It is assumed that part of the contradictory criticism and evaluation of the novel is due to its indistinct classification into a particular literary category.
A survey of 135 years of mainstream and deviating opinions on the novel sheds new light on its respective evaluation. The subsequent study of German criticism is entirely new in Collins scholarship. An explanation is then given, outlining why the book has remained a bestseller throughout the century in Russia and has always been considered a Victorian classic even in the former Soviet Union.
This study of The Woman in White and the reaction to it provides German and internatinal scholarship with the arguments required to promote the novel to a more justified rank among Victorian literature.