As the inscription on his tombstone reveals, Wilkie Collins wanted to be remembered as the “author of The Woman in White,” for it was this novel that secured his reputation during his lifetime. The novel begins with a drawing teacher’s eerie late-night encounter with a mysterious woman in white, and then follows his love for Laura Fairlie, a young woman who is falsely incarcerated in an asylum by her husband, Sir Percival Glyde, and his sinister accomplice, Count Fosco.
This edition returns to the original text that galvanized England when it was published in serial form in All the Year Round magazine in 1860. Three different prefaces Collins wrote for the novel, as well as two of his essays on the book’s composition, are reprinted, along with nine illustrations. The appendices include contemporary reviews, along with essays on lunacy, asylums, mesmerism, and the rights of women.
“This is an excellent edition of The Woman in White. It has been prepared with great thoroughness by two editors well versed in Collins studies and give the earliest published version of Collins’s text. It provides a lengthy introduction covering most of the important issues raised by the novel. The annotations have been carefully researched and the various appendices succeed in furnishing the reader with exactly the right sort of contextual and background matter to give a better understanding of the story.” — Andrew Gasson, Chairman, Wilkie Collins Society
“To convey the sensationalism of The Woman in White, Bachman and Cox wisely choose the original, serialized version as their copy text. A thoughtful introduction places the novel in context, explaining its importance to sensation fiction, outlining its concern with the problem of identity and with constructions of madness, and discussing its narrative structure as well as its later stage adaptation. The appendices are especially useful, with their material on Victorian gender ideologies and Victorian psychology, including letters, articles, and reports illuminating the ‘panic’ over false incarceration for insanity.” — Lillian Nayder, Bates College