Take Part In This Project!
- Identify a nineteenth-century article that is relevant to this edition of The Woman in White.
- Concisely explain how your article puts Wilkie Collins’s novel into context. As appropriate, use additional secondary sources to educate and intrigue your readers about the connections between your article and the novel.
- Apply communication and citation conventions that grant credit to other people for any ideas you’ve drawn from their work in your context statement.
Components to Include
(1) The full text of an article or short story* published during the long nineteenth century that you feel will help this project’s readers approach The Woman in White more thoughtfully.
*Other forms of media are welcome as long as you have permission to reproduce them freely! (For example, a photo you took of an 1870 sculpture of Count Fosco would likely be a good fit.)
(2) An introductory statement that provides relevant context for this article or story (~175-500 words). Use this statement to help your readers understand why the specific text you’ve shared is relevant to The Woman in White. If you’d like, you can also include reflection questions for readers within this statement. In this project, the supplemental article “Miss Emily Faithfull” provides one example of what such reflection questions might look like.
(3) Citation information for the primary source text and any other primary source media you’ve submitted.
(4) Citation information for all secondary source(s) that you’ve referred to in your explanatory statement.
When you’re ready to share your article and introductory statement for the editors of this project to review, please consult the Contribution Guidelines section for more information!
Choosing Primary Sources
Critical editions of novels frequently include two kinds of contemporary sources. The first category of contemporary source include texts directly related to the novel. Some examples in this project are The London Review’s 1860 article on The Woman in White or Wilkie Collins’s essays “A Petition to the Novel Writers” and “The Unknown Public.”
The second category of contemporary source include texts that are indirectly related to the novel. These texts provide context for an aspect of the narrative that may not be obvious to a modern-day reader. An example in this project is the article “Miss Emily Faithfull.” This article doesn’t connect to The Woman in White by name, but it was published within a year of the novel and may help to illustrate the attitudes towards women that a strong female character like like Marian Halcombe might face in her day-to-day life.
You’re welcome to submit either type of contemporary source for inclusion in this text. It’s fine to contribute a contemporary source that is directly related to Collins’s novel even if it happens to appear in another critical edition of the novel. (There’s a limited range of directly-related sources to choose from!)
This said, a key goal of this OPP19c project is to provide connections and commentaries that readers might not find in other critical editions. We want to respect the work that’s gone before us and to create something new. We also want to avoid copyright infringement claims from publishers, so we’re making sure that the array of contemporary sources in this project differs from those offered in other mainstream editions of The Woman in White.
Therefore, we ask that if you’re submitting an article indirectly related to the novel, choose one that is different from an existing, copyrighted edition of The Woman in White. Basically: please don’t consult something like the Broadview or Oxford World’s Classics version of The Woman in White and consciously contribute an article you found in that edition.
To illustrate: It’s perfectly fine to submit a Victorian article about asylums during the 1850s as a way to educate readers about a key plot element in Collins’s novel. Many other critical editions include contemporary articles related to asylums!
However, it wouldn’t be appropriate for you to consult the Broadview edition of The Woman in White, flip through the pages to a section of that text that describes asylum culture, and to copy out the 1858 Times article “Lady Bulwer Lytton” to send to this project.
As a better starting point, we encourage you to identify a theme of interest to you and to look around for related content in nineteenth-century periodicals. (For example, you might find a collected edition of The Illustrated London News from the 1850s and 1860s and search for the word “asylum” and see whether you find any thought-provoking articles.)
You may find it helpful to read this project’s “Using Primary and Secondary Sources for Your Research” section to find search tips and primary source links to work with.
- This is a hypothetical example: I've never seen such a sculpture. However, if you do find one of these, it would be a wonderful addition to this collection. ↵