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Man and Wife

Wilkie Collins

Book Overview: 

This novel by Wilkie Collins centers around a peculiarity of Scottish law of that time, according to which any man and woman 'who were legally entitled to marry and who asserted that they were married before witnesses, or in writing, were regarded in Scotland as being married in law.' This strange law causes the characters Arnold and Geoffrey both possibly accidentally marrying Anne, though one is engaged to another woman and the other is searching for a more wealthy wife to accomodate his lifestyle. In these circumstances, Anne needs to catch an actual husband in order to save her reputation.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .whether he came as friend or enemy to the inn.





CHAPTER THE ELEVENTH. SIR PATRICK.

THE doubt was practically decided before Anne had determined what to do. She was still at the window when the sitting-room door was thrown open, and Sir Patrick appeared, obsequiously shown in by Mr. Bishopriggs.

"Ye're kindly welcome, Sir Paitrick. Hech, Sirs! the sight of you is gude for sair eyne."

Sir Patrick turned and looked at Mr. Bishopriggs—as he might have looked at some troublesome insect which he had driven out of the window, and which had returned on him again.

"What, you scoundrel! have you drifted into an honest employment at last?"

Mr. Bishopriggs rubbed his hands cheerfully, and took his tone from his superior, with supple readiness,

"Ye're always in the right of it, Sir Paitrick! Wut, raal wut in that aboot the honest employment, and me drifting into it. Lord's. . . Read More

Community Reviews

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.

They don't write 'em like this anymore.

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...more

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 commenta...more

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.

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...more

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 i...more

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 i...more

Nel suo processo di ripubblicazione dell'intera produzione di Collins, la casa editrice Fazi riporta in auge forse l'opera più 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,...more

Pubblicato nel 1870, il padre della detective story si scaglia contro le contraddizioni delle leggi vigenti sul matrimonio e sulla proprietà 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 d...more

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...more

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