❴Epub❵ ➝ Man and Wife Author Wilkie Collins – Lectinshield.co.uk



10 thoughts on “Man and Wife

  1. says:

    My recent reading of Wilkie Collins s Man and Wife was a great illustration of what a good idea it can be to come to novels in a state of blithe ignorance, without any idea of how they are conventionally regarded Published in 1870, Man and Wife is apparently often seen as representing an early instance of the later Collins s tendency to centre his novels around social issues a choice that is seen as signalling a decline in literary quality In Swinburne s words What brought good Wilkie s genius near perdition Some demon whispered Wilkie, have a mission Fortunately, I had no idea of any of this at the time I read the novel, and I didn t find the novel s social issue focus offputting In fact, I liked it very much Collins drills in on certain issues of marital law in Ireland and Scotland which could, and did, create painful legal issues for individuals, particularly women He also turns his attention, in Man and Wife, to what he clearly saw as a problem in 1870s imperial Britain the growing cult of brawn over brain among the social elite, as typified by the growth of early sports culture The novel s villain, Geoffrey Delamayn, is a magnificent physical specimen and a semi professional athlete, but he lacks any moral sense or human sensitivity, and is brutal especially in his treatment of women.The introduction to the edition I read Oxford World s Classics takes it for granted that the moral evils of sport theme will have no meaning whatever for the modern reader I m not sure that s actually 100% true, given that trials for rape and violence and sexual harassment on the part of sportsmen are not exactly uncommon in our day but, in any case, Collins s attitude is surely interesting as a sliver of social history I found the account of training and betting culture, and the vivid narrative of an early sporting event a race in which Geoffrey is involved rather fascinating it certainly added to the texture of the novel.For the rest well, this is Collins s usual, well paced, well written, character rich, crimey model of novel up there, I would say, with his best The romantic leads, Blanche Lundie and Arnold Brinkworth, are appealing without being especially interesting, but the melancholy heroine Anne Silvester has a a little to her and the enduring friendship between Blanche and Anne is the kind of thing that would be celebrated as a proto feminist landmark if this were a novel written by a woman Collins also gives us a queer, disconcerting, distinctly non clich villain in the overmuscled Geoffrey, and a splendid, Jane Austen style satirical portrait of a pompous, snobbish ego monster in Blanche s stepmother, Lady Lundie Best of all, in the figures of the cook and domestic abuse survivor Hester, and in the sprightly retired Scots lawyer Sir Patrick Lundie, Blanche s uncle, Collins sketches out a couple of genuinely interesting and unusual characters Hester is a complete mish mash, to be honest an unholy mixture of Gothic horror archetype and sad and not implausible contemporary hard luck story not too unusual a mixture in Collins, I suspect Sir Patrick is just a delight an elderly, patrician, slightly waspish figure, oddly ancien r gime for someone presumably born around 1800 He is used for much of the novel as a satirical, out of time perspective on the values of 1860s society, but gradually grows into much of a character, developing in all kinds of unexpected ways I have noticed in my reading of Collins so far that the characters he portrays most warmly often have some kind of defect, whether social the illegitimacy of Norah and Magdalen in No Name the taint of African blood in Osiaz Midwinter in Armadale , or physical the drug addiction of Ezra Jennings in The Moonstone or the paraplegia of Miserrimus Dexter in The Law and the Lady Despite Sir Patrick Lundie s patrician social status, he is spiritually linked to these disabled characters and to the forsaken Anne Silvester in this novel by his physical defect of a club foot Collins seems to reserve his sympathy principally for the maimed , taken in a very broad sense one reason why he seems to me such a very modern novelist, and why I keep coming back to him this must be my sixth or seventh Collins in the past few years.


  2. says:

    Yet another Wilkie Collins years ahead of its time Seriously why does everyone think Charles Dickens is the greatest English Victorian novelist After The Law and the Lady s feminist heroine, we now have a novel which deals with the terrible situation many 19th century women found themselves in when they realised they d married a complete pig Social commentary wrapped up in a gripping storyline, with than its fair share of humour considering the emotional subject mattter


  3. says:

    When Dickens was producing his scathing attack on the English chancery system Bleak House , or his expose of the boarding school system Nicholas Nickleby , his good friend Wilkie Collins produced this morality tale about the marriage laws in some parts Scotland, Ireland of the British empire in the 19th century And, he doesn t let the institution of marriage off easily, showing how, for a woman, a marriage was a form of legalized bondage which permitted the husband to essentially steal all of a woman s own property Today, when so much noise is heard about the sanctity of marriage, it is worth remembering that marriage is seldom the ideal portrayal we see in Leave it to Beaver Man and Wife is a lesser known Collins novel, but any Collins aficionado will find it just as absorbing as the better known works It is true that his attacks on the inadequacies of 19th British marriage laws and customs may strike some as a bit strident, but on the whole I found the book very interesting, informative and entertaining to read.


  4. says:

    They don t write em like this any.What the endorsers of the good old days tend to forget, and the view explored through the character of Sir Patrick, is that the past has always looked better than the present So as a modern reader of fiction from the 1800 s, it was interesting to see that although this period of time might seem idealized to us now, it wasn t so for the people living then Of course, this seemed common sense once I started thinking about it, but I just needed it pointed out to me.One of the things I love most about reading books from earlier periods is that it always provides an interesting insight to popular attitudes, beliefs and insights at the time For example, I thought the concern held by Sir Patrick and evidently Wilkie Collins himself about the degeneration of England being brought about by a fetish amongst the young generation for physical exercise was fascinating The arguments were absorbing to follow and wonderfully supported in the villainous character of Geoffery Delamayn Although to the modern reader the view might seem a little strange, I found it best just to accept and absorb the arguments.The other issue that Collins deals with in this book is the subject of irregular marriage laws in Scotland, branching out later into a critique of the institution itself The wry wit with which these scathing critiques were written was truly a pleasure to read I think perhaps that this book had some of the most biting, enjoyable humour out of the other Wilkie Collins books that I have read The only problem I did have with it was that I found the perpetual visits between houses a little tedious after a while, but not so much that it distracted from the story.


  5. says:

    Pubblicato nel 1870, il padre della detective story si scaglia contro le contraddizioni delle leggi vigenti sul matrimonio e sulla propriet e contro una generazione che ha abbandonato l affinamento dell intelletto per dedicarsi al culto dei muscoli e alla pratica di sport violenti Altra perla da custodire gelosamente Spero che il lettore di queste pagine riconoscer che il fine della storia sempre parte integrante della storia stessa In un lavoro di questo genere, la principale condizione per il successo che realt e finzione non siano mai scindibili l una dall altra Ho lavorato con tutto il mio impegno per raggiungere questo proposito, e confido di non aver lavorato invano.


  6. says:

    Hell of gripping, as they say Why isn t this better known Would it be blasphemous to say that it s better than The Woman in White and The Moonstone Cause it is Not as good as No Name, though.


  7. says:

    Not my favorite Wilkie Collins but nontheless a great classic book dealing with themes unique to the era You can always rely on Collins to keep you guessing until the end Suspense fiction got started with this author and as a contemporary rival of Dickens you can expect a good read.


  8. says:

    Daunted though I was by the sheer bulk of this volume over 600 pages of small, crammed print , and not sure whether I would be able to grasp the legal aspects of the story, hence perhaps impeded from appreciating Wilkie s effort at contesting the Scotch marriage system of the 19th century, due to there being no Penguin or Oxford edition for Kindle with explanatory notes, yet hankering after some yarn where mistery and drama converge with a bit of comedy, I finally gave this massive novel a shot and got a likewise tremendous rush out of it.As to the irregular marriages in Scotland, however, a crucial issue here indeed, Collins concern about their implications suggested to him the plot for this book , in order to understand these unions, controversial even among those who then administered that law, we are, through the dialogue between characters, referred to a judicial authority who delivered a statement of Scotch marriages in these terms Consent makes marriage No form of ceremony, civil or religious no notice before, or publication after no cohabitation, no writing, no witnesses even, are essential to the constitution of this, the most important contract wich two persons can enter into That does not sound too complicated, does it Now add this clause from another lawyer to the statement previous In Scotland, consent makes marriage and consent may be proved by inference So the main conflict in the tale arises from this observation by Sir Patrick Lundie It is extremely difficult for a man to pretend to marry in Scotland, and not really to do it And it is, on the other hand, extremely easy for a man to drift into marrying in Scotland without feeling the slightest suspicion of having done it himself Another point that Wilkie touched, and which, in turn, may move anyone with a sense of human justice, was the complete annulment of women s rights in favour of their husbands, notwithstanding how base they might be Damn It cut me to the quick that such abuse and cruelty as Hester Dethridge suffered from her monster of a husband was condoned, nay, approved and almost encouraged by bills of Parliament What sort of magistrates, I wonder, could force a woman to surrender her dignity and her whole resources to the whim of a brute that will beat and rob her as often as she manages to bring herself up again But there s also jest in the book, as Wilkie mocks the national craze for sporting events and the idolising of athletes chapter 18, where Julius goes in search of his brother Geoffrey, when the latter has just been confirmed as representing The South in a coming foot race is pure magic Wilkie also argues that the british responded with rampant enthusiasm to such entertainments, whereas the very same people showed little interest and fidgeted impatiently in ther seats during a Shakespeare play Moreover, while the public extolls the physical prowess of individuals, Sir Patrick Lundie, serving as Collins mouthpiece on the subject, bemoans that such prowess is achieved at the expense of stunting the development of moral values and fraternal feelings True or not, it is because of his utter lack of compassion and sympathy towards his fellow creatures that Geoffrey Delamayn abandons Anne, the woman who fell for him, and betrays Arnold, the best friend he ever had A downright scoundrel, Geoffrey But he didn t lie and scheme for the sake of amusement or out of absolute malice He had a motive, a motive strong enough to dispel both his consideration for a sentimental governess he himself had compromised and would disgrace if he did not marry, as well as his affection for a friend whose loyalty to himself he well knew and, therefore, took advantage of it was the prospect of material comforts and social status, then, that drove Geoffrey Delamayn to leave Anne in the lurch, making a compensation prize of his own friend Arnold for the poor lass not caring a straw for the fact that Arnold was engaged to Anne s best friend Blanche , since he, Geoffrey, expected an inheritance from his father, so he had to avoid any scandal as a condition to receive it, plus his mother was already securing for him a rich widow for his wife.Now, back to Hester Dethridge, we learn from her confession that the pain and terror she once endured did not render her a cripple, as she appeared, but rather, as it were, enhanced her perception and provided her with sufficient motive to, on her part, betray Geoffrey at the very end Like the photographer in the TV series The X Files season 6, episode 10, titled Tithonius who always arrived at the site of fatal accidents before anyone else had even heard of them, not because he had caused these accidents himself, as the police at first suspected, but because he could see death lurking around and descend upon the chosen of the occasion like this chap, I say, Hester s eyes were open to death too in the shape of a black figure hovering around certain people Yet, instead of watching as a mere witness, she felt impelled to play the executor of death s sentences Yes, there is a supernatural element in Hester s tale still, the novel that incorporates it does not depart for a single second from the realm of the ordinary, treating commonplace matters we may account for Hester s actions by declaring her delusional, rather than believing a black figure actually ordained her to terminate the wicked in the world with her own hands And because of this narrative feat, I apply to Collins a phrase of Goethe s as quoted by Wilde in one of his essays It is in working within limits that the master reveals himself For my part, as regards the story, scope and style of this particular work, I pronounce Wilkie Collins unmatched in his craft.


  9. says:

    Nel suo processo di ripubblicazione dell intera produzione di Collins, la casa editrice Fazi riporta in auge forse l opera pi impegnata, che non solo coinvolge e intrattiene ma si lancia senza esitazioni in una critica sociale tagliente, finalmente in linea con lo stile di vita dello scrittore, sotto molti aspetti anticonformista rispetto ai tempi in cui viveva.Il titolo originale, Man and wife, gi allerta il lettore sul tono del romanzo e l oggetto della sua critica Collins non vuole solo polemizzare con le assurde leggi sul matrimonio vigenti in Scozia all epoca, gioia degli azzeccagarbugli ma forse poco significative per un lettore moderno, ma anche sulla pi estesa e pressante questione del ruolo totalmente subordinato della donna nell istituzione del matrimonio che, per legge, la priva di qualunque diritto di prorpiet e la mette in tutto e per tutto alla merc del marito, senza possibilit di sottrarsi al suo giogo nemmeno quando questo si rivela un violento con intenti omicidi.Continua su


  10. says:

    Wilkie Collins is known as one of the fathers of the mystery with The Moonstone and The Woman in White, both of which I would recommend In this work, Collins also shows himself as a master of suspense while engaging in some pointed social commentary as well.The suspense and much of the commentary is built around the Scottish marriage laws of the time, which recognized irregular marriages in which men and women, who wittingly or not, represented themselves as married were indeed married under law The plot develops around Geoffrey Delamayn, who has gotten Anne Winchester in trouble and is compelled to meet her and marry her at a Scottish inn Delamayn conveniently has to return to London because of an ailing father and sends the friend whose life he saved, Arnold Brinkworth, who is engaged to Anne s best friend Blanche Lundie, to carry a message to this effect, a message which becomes very important and is the object of much scheming subsequently Arnold arrives to find that to allow Anne to stay at the inn, he must represent himself as her husband even though Anne resists this They stay in separate rooms and he leaves the next morning This becomes the pretense Delamayn uses to escape his marriage obligation in order to marry a wealthy widow Unfortunately the contention that Anne and Arnold are married only becomes known after Arnold marries First we are in suspense as to when this will come to light Second, we are in suspense as to the outcome and whether Blanche s uncle and guardian, Sir Patrick Lundie, will be able to vindicate Arnold and his marriage to Blanche And finally, we have the suspense as Delamayn plots against the life of Anne, compelling the help of mysterious Hester Dethridge All this develops at a leisurely pace over 600 pages in this edition, yet this never seemed dragged out to me a testimony to Collins art.The book serves most significantly as social commentary on the state of marriage laws that may both entrap people into unwanted marriages and subject women to the brutality of unloving husbands who can seize property and endanger their lives without legal recourse Although these laws have been changed in the U.K as well as the U.S., women still live at the mercy of men in many parts of the world without legal protection of life or property.Collins also engages in a critique of the culture of athleticism that emphasized the development of body at the expense of the formation of mind or character, represented in the character of Geoffrey Delamayn Delamayn neglects his education to train for athletic events which both make his reputation and break his health This doesn t sound very far from the world of collegiate athletes in big money sports like basketball and football today.Altogether, I thought this was a great read both at the level of suspense and for the issues it raises that are still with us today.


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