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Man and Wife (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 11 Dec 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks (11 Dec. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199538174
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199538171
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 3.3 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 362,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Norman Page is Emeritus Professor of English Literature at the University of Nottingham. The author of numerous books on nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature, he is the editor of Mad Monkton in World's Classics, and Consultant Editor for the works of Thomas Hardy in Everyman Paperbacks. He lives in Oakham, Rutland.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 60 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 Dec. 2000
Format: Paperback
This is one of Wilkie Collins lesser known novels, but is probably his best.
It is a typical Collins tale starting from the point of view of a woman suffering under the unfairness of the law. However, it quickly develops into a study of how far people will go to secure their goals. It contains a wonderful critique of the male "hero" obsessed with sporting achievement and physical excellence. This was a development in society that Collins thought could only lead to a fall from civilised behaviour.
The plot moves from social matters to murder and develops to a terrifying page-turning climax.
The book combines the best qualities of the Woman in White (great characters and clever plot)with the best qualities of Armadale (exciting climax).
Apart from myself I know a number of people who have read all of Wilkie Collins major novels and most of his shorter ones. This book is voted his best by virtually all of them and if you only read one Wilkie Collins this should be it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Muppet on 1 Aug. 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a brilliant page turner - and out of the 5 WC books I've read, it's undoubtedly the best... if (like me) you've never quite managed to get past the first page of the Moonstone start with this one or the Lady and the Law and soon you'll be flying through them all!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. T. Harvey on 24 July 2009
Format: Paperback
Warning: this review contains spoilers

When I first began reading 'Man and Wife' I found the subject matter risible. It concerns the irregular Scottish marriage laws at the end of the 19th century where, to put it simply, no ceremony had to be gone through and the mere fact of residence and an intention to wed constituted a legal marriage. I then realised I was viewing the situation with a 21st century sensibility and that Collins was seriously looking at the consequences of a stupid law. When reading 'Man and Wife', one has to put oneself firmly in the period in which the novel is set and to understand the position of women, both married and single, in Victorian society.

The novel is packed with incident and events move swiftly. Two strong female characters stand out: Anne Silvester, forthright and uncompromising, determined to ensure that her husband, the feckless Geoffrey Delamayn, acknowledges her as his wife. Initially, Anne comes over as neurotic and unsympathetic, but as the novel progresses she emerges in a more positive way as she fights for her rights. And then there is the waspish Lady Lundie, in conflict with Sir Patrick Lundie, who takes up Anne's case.

A minor, but important, secondary plot concerns Hester Dethridge, who, in her own way, is a victim of Victorian marriage laws and the legal status of women in Victorian society. Her story is a powerful one and could well have formed the basis of a novel in itself rather than the chapter which Collins devotes to it.

The novel is an excellent example of Collins' sensationalist, barnstorming style. It also contains one of the most ingenious ways I have come across in fiction to commit murder!

A great read and an intriguing story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Fengirl on 1 Dec. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've read Wilkie Collins' major books and now thanks to Kindle free books I'm able to get started on the other works.
This is a book with many faces - it's part moral tale, part an illustration of the author's time BUT - there's also a section which seems very like a Brian Rix farce with people whipping through doorways as others enter a room.
The heroine is a bit naughty but basically virtuous, the hero is strong and loyal and the villain a really nasty piece of work who gets worse as the book progresses. They are supported by diverse characters who are all very believable and their profiles are so well drawn by the author that you almost feel as if you are watching a film.
Thoroughly enjoyed it
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Little on 12 April 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Who wouldn't be delighted to find the public domain list of FREE classic literature. This is fantastic. All the titles I've always wanted to read and for free - this is my kind of kindle heaven. I love the way they arrive on your kindle, they're so quick, it's like magic. Thank you public domain!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By canoesailor on 21 Nov. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I agree with one of the other reviewers, if Man and Wife isn't better than Moonstone, it is at least equal to it. The only problem is it's unprepossessing title, Collins could surely have thought of a better one (Perhaps the Rise and Fall of Lady Lundie). I feel that the title will put off potential readers (particularly men) and this novel is so good it deserves to be read, by both sexes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By jacqueline on 26 Jun. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Who would have thought a book based in the 1860's would be a page turner? Well it is! Excellent portrayal of a breadth of characters. Interesting views on athletes which perhaps I hadn't realised might have been the case in the 19th Century. Great to have a combination of Scotland and London in there. A touch of the "Jane Austin" style, but not too much worthiness(!) and also a cliffhanger, with murder and intrigue to the very last. I loved it. I'm going to download more to take on holiday!
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