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by Wilkie Collins
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From Library Journal
Collins's 1862 novel offers up the fate of Magdalen Vanstone, an illegitimate child who struggles to reclaim her dignity after falling from grace in Victorian society.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Condemned by Victorian critics as immoral, but regarded today as a novel of outstanding social insight, No Name shows William Wilkie Collins at the height of his literary powers. It is the story of two sisters, Magdalen and Norah, who discover after the deaths of their dearly beloved parents
that their parents were not married at the time of their births. Disinherited and ousted from their estate, they must fend for themselves and either resign themselves to their fate or determine to recover their wealth by whatever means.
Wilkie Collins's investigation of illegitimacy and 'the woman question' in No Name (1862) compels with a wholly different order of suspense from that of The Woman in White or The Moonstone. For its family secret - the Vanstone daughters' illegitimacy, their consequent disinheritance and fall from social grace - is revealed early on, and as Magdalen Vanstone struggles to reclaim her identity, the plot uncovers many a moral, social and legal skeleton in the cupboards of Victorian society. Mercurial and unscrupulous, Magdalen is Wilkie Collins's most exhilarating heroine, one of the rare subversives in Victorian fiction and a woman dazzlingly versatile in her powers of self-transformation. Through her, with great comic vigour, No Name exposes how social identity is constructed, and how it can be dismantled, buried, borrowed or invented.
About the Author
William Wilkie Collins was an English novelist, playwright, and writer of short stories.
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