I love a good mystery fiction whatever the time period. I heard that The Woman in White is one and it didn’t disappoint. It was written by Wilkie Collins and published in 1859. It was the first time I encountered a story with multiple narrators and perspectives. Quite refreshing.
It is one of the earliest examples of detective fiction. It is not the first as that position belongs to The Murders in the Rue Morgue, written in 1841 by Edgar Allan Poe. It is, however, the first and best example of the Sensation fiction genre.
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Table of Contents
The story revolves around a rich young heiress. When she refused to sign over her assets to her new husband, he switched her identity, fake her death, and committed her to a mental asylum. She is fortunate to have a half-sister and an admirer who tried their best to help her.
My post-reading reaction: laws in Victorian England are terrible at protecting rich women and even expose them to unnecessary dangers.
The novel was adapted for the stage almost immediately after its publication. Film adaptations from 1917 onwards but can only be described as loose adaptations. Here are 2 examples.
The Unfortunate Marriage 1917
Crimes at the Dark House 1940
The Woman in White was adapted for television as early as 1966 by the BBC. Unfortunately, I couldn’t locate any clips of it.
There were 3 more TV remakes produced by the BBC: 1982, 1997, and 2018.
The Woman in White 1982
Starring Jenny Seagrove as Laura and Diana Quick as Marian.
The Woman in White 1997
This 1997 series received more attention because it stars Andrew Lincoln (of The Walking Dead fame) as Walter Hartright. Watch the 2-hour dramatization at Youtube.
The Woman in White 2018
This stars Olivia Vinall as Laura, Jessie Buckley as Marian, and Ben Hardy as Walter. Dougray Scott made a nuanced Glyde. But what is Charles Dance doing as the hypochondriac uncle?
The series is available for viewing at Amazon Prime Video. It is not free but it does not require a Prime Video subscription.
I hope you find this compilation of a classic sensation novel useful and enjoyable.
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Part of featured image: After Frederick Walker, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons.
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