Survival of the Unfittest: Collins’s The Haunted Hotel and The Woman in White

  • Eleanor Salotto


Wilkie Collins’s novella The Haunted Hotel offers a novel way to read the feminine voice in nineteenth-century British literature. I want to argue that when the female voice is repressed in the texts I discuss, whether structurally or thematically, that voice returns in some fashion. Therefore, we may say that one of the ghosts of the nineteenth-century British novel is the return of the repressed female voice. The gothic novel in its obsession with ghosts is always involved with flickerings from other worlds. These flickerings I locate in woman’s speech that is buried alive but ultimately resurrected through attempts to get her story told. The gothic novel profoundly interested Collins because it allowed him to express the tensions between a rationalist discourse present in the realistic novel and an “irrational” discourse of the gothic that was more closely aligned both fictively and realistically with woman’s legal and social position in nineteenth-century Britain.


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© Eleanor Salotto 2006

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  • Eleanor Salotto

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