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Archived Group Reads 2014 > No Name 2014 Scenes 7 & 8; Mar 8

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message 1: by SarahC (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1424 comments This is for discussion of this final section of the novel.


message 2: by Mehrdad (new)

Mehrdad Kermani Holy moly! Norah is fudging up Magdalen's plans! I wonder how this will play out.


message 3: by Mehrdad (new)

Mehrdad Kermani Oh dear, between the scenes, right before scene 8 - heartbreaking! Is there no hope for magdalen? She's tried so hard, will she ever see success?


message 4: by Denise (new)

Denise (drbetteridge) | 19 comments Finished! Best book of the year, I'm sure of it.


message 5: by Teresa (new)

Teresa (tnorbraten) | 107 comments Denise! Another satisfied customer! I recommended this book, and I thought I was the only one who knew about it. I'm glad to learn thru this group that others have also read it, and now others will be 'No Name' fans.


message 6: by Elsbeth (new)

Elsbeth (elsbethgm) Denise and Teresa, I agree with you: a great book! Thank you for 'making' me read it!


message 7: by Teresa (new)

Teresa (tnorbraten) | 107 comments I just thought of this. I'm reading this quickly because I'm unemployed.
Miss Vanstone is redundant and has No Job.
I would love to run a scam on my o.d bosses with Captain Wragge!


message 8: by Linda (new)

Linda (lindy-lou) | 13 comments I was already a Wilke Collins fan and after reading "No Name", I am more of a Collins fan than ever. Among other things, I really enjoy how modern he sounds; considering how long ago he wrote, his expression fits very well into currently authored selections. (I'm also a fan of Charles Dickens, a friend of his, by the way.)


message 9: by Whimsical (new)

Whimsical (goodreadscomb_flowers) | 189 comments Lindy-lou wrote: "I was already a Wilke Collins fan and after reading "No Name", I am more of a Collins fan than ever. Among other things, I really enjoy how modern he sounds; considering how long ago he wrote, hi..."

I think that's the reason why these books are classics-- the writing stays "fresh" and the topic relevant. Writers from that era gave us so much to think about--characters are three-dimensional and the plot interesting. One can never guess what's next or what the final outcome will be, therefore, one must read to the end. This is also my first read of any of Collins's books and I am definitely hooked.


message 10: by Linda (new)

Linda (lindy-lou) | 13 comments Whimsical wrote: "Lindy-lou wrote: "I was already a Wilke Collins fan and after reading "No Name", I am more of a Collins fan than ever. Among other things, I really enjoy how modern he sounds; considering how lon..."

O Whimsiclal, do try "The Woman in White" and "The Moonstone"; I loved them both!


message 11: by Whimsical (new)

Whimsical (goodreadscomb_flowers) | 189 comments Lindy-lou wrote: "Whimsical wrote: "Lindy-lou wrote: "I was already a Wilke Collins fan and after reading "No Name", I am more of a Collins fan than ever. Among other things, I really enjoy how modern he sounds; c..."

I sure will. Thanks Lindy-Lou. Love your name!


message 12: by Teresa (new)

Teresa (tnorbraten) | 107 comments Whimsical wrote: "Lindy-lou wrote: "I was already a Wilke Collins fan and after reading "No Name", I am more of a Collins fan than ever. Among other things, I really enjoy how modern he sounds; considering how lon..."
Oh, do try "Armadale"!!!!! It's a very, very good W.C. book, generally thought to be the best, along with No Name. It's about two men, both named Alan Armadale. One is "fated" to kill the other, because one father killed the other's father. The first few chapters are wonderfully written. There is a great female villain named "Miss Qwilt". It's darker than No Name, but great.


message 13: by Whimsical (new)

Whimsical (goodreadscomb_flowers) | 189 comments Teresa wrote: "Whimsical wrote: "Lindy-lou wrote: "I was already a Wilke Collins fan and after reading "No Name", I am more of a Collins fan than ever. Among other things, I really enjoy how modern he sounds; c..."

Will do. Thank you.


message 14: by Elsbeth (new)

Elsbeth (elsbethgm) I'll put those 3 books to my 'to-read'-list as well! Thanks for the tips!


message 15: by Sam (new)

Sam | 10 comments Wilkie Collins was basically my recent introduction into the domain of Victorian novels. In late December and early January I read The Moonstone, and quickly ordered some of his other novels. Since I read No Name immediately after (unaware of this planned group-read), I have become hooked on the Victorian style, and have been making up for lost time by reading all the Victorian writing I can get a hold on. I am currently reading some Trollope, but Armadale and The Woman in White are also high on my TBR list.

I must say, No Name was one of the best books I've read in a long time. Especially for Captain Wragge's character. He's so likeably dislikeable.


message 16: by Whimsical (new)

Whimsical (goodreadscomb_flowers) | 189 comments Sam wrote: "Wilkie Collins was basically my recent introduction into the domain of Victorian novels. In late December and early January I read The Moonstone, and quickly ordered some of his other novels. Since..."

I agree with your opinion of Horatio Wragge, "likeably dislikeable." I'll remember that in the future.


message 17: by Elsbeth (new)

Elsbeth (elsbethgm) Whimsical wrote: "Sam wrote: "Wilkie Collins was basically my recent introduction into the domain of Victorian novels. In late December and early January I read The Moonstone, and quickly ordered some of his other n..."

Yes, that really says it 'likeably dislikeable'! Great! Yes, I also look forward to reading more Wilkie Collins (this was my very first book by him)!


message 18: by Teresa (new)

Teresa (tnorbraten) | 107 comments I'm done! Now what do I do? It's like losing a close friend. I love this book.


message 19: by Elsbeth (new)

Elsbeth (elsbethgm) Teresa wrote: "I'm done! Now what do I do? It's like losing a close friend. I love this book."

I felt the same thing. But now I'm reading Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell, which is totally different, but also very beautiful.


message 20: by Teresa (new)

Teresa (tnorbraten) | 107 comments The Victorians would have been appeased that Magdalen "paid" for her crimes with her illness. I'm starting Collins' other book "Armadale". One of its offense was that that the main bad lady, Miss Qwilt, has a life of evil and it doesn't show on her face (!!!).


message 21: by Elsbeth (new)

Elsbeth (elsbethgm) Teresa wrote: "The Victorians would have been appeased that Magdalen "paid" for her crimes with her illness. I'm starting Collins' other book "Armadale". One of its offense was that that the main bad lady, Miss..."

Well, there was a time when in films all the bad characters where ugly and dressed in black and all the good guys where beautiful and dressed in white...


message 22: by Teresa (new)

Teresa (tnorbraten) | 107 comments Did you catch the subtle allusion to rape in the scene with Mazey? Did you need to loosen your corset to let yourself get more air? You are experiencing the Sensation novel


message 23: by Clarissa (new)

Clarissa (clariann) | 530 comments Teresa wrote: "Did you catch the subtle allusion to rape in the scene with Mazey? Did you need to loosen your corset to let yourself get more air? You are experiencing the Sensation novel"

I know what you mean, there was something a little creepy, perhaps more gothic, in that section of the book.

It's lucky that Magdalen kept her looks through it all though, otherwise Mazey wouldn't have let her get away, and if she'd been ugly Kirke wouldn't have stopped her being carried off to the workhouse!


message 24: by Clarissa (new)

Clarissa (clariann) | 530 comments Sam wrote: "I must say, No Name was one of the best books I've read in a long time. Especially for Captain Wragge's character. He's so likeably dislikeable. ."

When Wragge said that he understood the age he lives in, it was very telling, coupled with the success he's achieved through a more high level form of roguery,I think Collins was indicating that these are the type of people who often succeed in life. The same with the letter from Mr Clare predicting that Frank will get into parliament through blind luck that he didn't deserve, linking into earlier in the book where Mr Clare says that the people who rise to the top are always the most unworthy.


Evelina | AvalinahsBooks (avalinahsbooks) | 89 comments I have finished the book too. I didn't enjoy it as much as I had enjoyed The Moonstone and The Woman in White, but it the ending was still very satisfying. Somehow the book seemed a little 'stuck' around the middle (4th scene), but I could recognize my Good ole Collins around the place where the whole business with Norah's wedding started going on, and then Kirke - all those things, I just love it how Collins makes the characters get intertwined in the weirdest ways, as if by impossible coincidences. That's the Collins I like, and this wasn't quite as strong in the middle of the book, I thought.

I definitely think that Wragge was my favorite character. Even though he's not a good man, he does show his human side later on, by caring for Madgalen. And he is just positively cutely hilarious. I couldn't help it but feel glad that he has finally become a respectable businessman (of course, he still lies, but those are more business-acceptable lies, it seems).

Collins really knows how to make a reader love the ending, even if he disliked most of the book. When you're done, you still feel satisfied.

and Clari - yes, it seems true that nothing would have gone her way if Magdalen wasn't pretty. unfortunately, the world hasn't changed in this regard through the centuries - it's exactly the same way now. The pretty women will get their way far easier than those who are plain. The same goes for the men. I guess attaching external beauty to internal beauty must be something deep inside the human psyche, it's probably just natural to us, although it's quite a false assumption in most cases.


message 26: by Clarissa (last edited Feb 21, 2014 06:42AM) (new)

Clarissa (clariann) | 530 comments Evelina wrote: "The pretty women will get their way far easier than those who are plain. The same goes for the men. I guess attaching external beauty to internal beauty must be something deep inside the human psyche, it's probably just natural to us, although it's quite a false assumption in most cases. "

I guess all that's changed over the years is what is considered pretty.

Interestingly though I've just started Collins' early novel, 'Basil', and the only female character so far introduced is the narrator's sister, and he comments how men don't look twice at her, but it's their loss as she's the sweetest, loveliest person and he wished that people had the depth to look beyond the surface.
I can't remember 'Moonstone' or 'The Woman in White', so well, but I think the heroines in those novels were quite beautiful? Plotwise I assume it is easier having a woman who men are willing to do things for, rather than a plain girl who gets ignored and has no chance of scheming people into marrying her.


message 27: by Evelina | AvalinahsBooks (last edited Feb 21, 2014 05:54AM) (new)

Evelina | AvalinahsBooks (avalinahsbooks) | 89 comments The situation in The Woman in White was even "better" - there was a pretty girl, though very childish and unable to do ANYTHING (obviously, a victim of the scheme) and her sister who was deadly ugly (short of having a moustache to look completely unfeminine), but being a really smart woman, helped her sister out with her other friends. I found it very tiring in that book how the beauty was so helpless, stupid and deified, and the 'beast' sister was of course praised for her cunning and ability, but it was pretty clearly assumed that she would never have any love affairs even to think of, and she would clearly be a spinster in her future. She was also the poor sister, by the way, and the beauty was the rich sister. Curious, and yet typical, eh?
I can't recall the Moonstone very well, but the main character was definitely beautiful.

Plotwise, definitely nothing else as a beautiful girl would have worked in Magdalen's case. Beauty was the thing she used for her schemes to begin with. So it's pretty logical that she had to look the way she did for the story.


message 28: by Teresa (new)

Teresa (tnorbraten) | 107 comments Collins' next book, "Armadale", also deals with names and identity.

I was thinking last night that this book doesn't use a lot of literary flourishes, no similes or fancy turns of phrase. Just good plotting. I am spoiled for reading books that aren't written this way. I read a good quote from Collins where he said he wanted a good "tale" that kept him up at night. I want the same, not some literary equivalent to Mariah Carey's vocal calisthenics.


message 29: by Clarissa (new)

Clarissa (clariann) | 530 comments Teresa wrote: "Collins' next book, "Armadale", also deals with names and identity.

I was thinking last night that this book doesn't use a lot of literary flourishes, no similes or fancy turns of phrase. Just go..."


I think the issue of identities is a theme through many of his stories. He also uses lots of mirroring, in 'No Name' Magdalen and Norah show opposite characteristics, vibrant beauty vs angelic patience.


message 30: by Teresa (new)

Teresa (tnorbraten) | 107 comments I'd love to see how this book was broken out for the serial magazine. I can find what months it was published, and I think it was once a month.


message 31: by Whimsical (new)

Whimsical (goodreadscomb_flowers) | 189 comments Teresa wrote: "I'd love to see how this book was broken out for the serial magazine. I can find what months it was published, and I think it was once a month."

I have posted a link to a pdf document that addresses the serialization of all Collin's novels. I hope it helps.


message 32: by Teresa (new)

Teresa (tnorbraten) | 107 comments Thanks!


message 33: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Finally got to March 8th and the schedule to discuss the final sections.

I see a lot of "I really liked this book" but not a lot of discussion on the content and how it came out.

I did totally miss [Teresa #22] the allusion to rape with Macey. Perhaps gender related? Agree with Clari [24] about the values of the time being reflected in many of the issues. Evelina's comment [25] about the intertwining I was less pleased with than she was -- that's for a separate post. Teresa [28], if you want a tale without literary flourishes, try Kipling. Fantastic story teller, very much not overly literary.


message 34: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Nobody has really mentioned Mazey, except in connection with sexual suggestiveness. I really liked him as a character; he seemed one of the most robust of all the characters in the book, after Wragge and perhaps after Mrs. Lecount. Mazey and Mrs. Lecount are quite similar in both being devoted to the interests of their masters, though in quite different ways; an interesting comparison WC has offered us. But in a book filled with people who are duplicitous, scheming, underhanded, Mazey is a delightful exception.


message 35: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Am I the only one who thought all the sleepwalking bit was just too far over the top? Sleepwalking, okay. But being able to follow that very detailed route (though a chill which should have woken almost any sleeper) remembering to carry his keys, to go to exactly the document that Magdalene wanted to discover, to find the right key in his basket to unlock the cabinet, relock it, go to the bureau, find the right key for the bureau, unlock it, put in the document, relock it, all while asleep -- I'm sorry, but that just takes too much suspension of disbelief for me to swallow. Didn't it bother anybody else?


message 36: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments I loved that line, when Wragge comes to Magdalen in her sickness, ""Not a word, my dear girl!" said the captain, seating himself comfortably at the bedside, in his old confidential way. "I am to do all the talking; and, I think you will own, a more competent man for the purpose could not possibly have been found."

How totally true. When it comes to talking, is there anybody more reliable than Wragge?


message 37: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments As to the rest of the coincidences: Kirke coming back after a voyage to China and back and just happening to see (and recognize!) Magdalen as she was being carried out of the building; Frank Clare just happening to have stowed away on his ship and found and married a rich widow, freeing Magdalen from any lingering fondness for him; Norah marrying into the Bartram family and finding the unburned Secret Trust in the tripod; well, disbelief has had to work overtime. [g]

I'm just sorry that Collins didn't give us the scene when Admiral Bartram has to welcome his former housemaid into his home as his daughter in law. That would have been fun to read.


message 38: by Jana (new)

Jana Eichhorn | 26 comments Everyman wrote: "As to the rest of the coincidences: Kirke coming back after a voyage to China and back and just happening to see (and recognize!) Magdalen as she was being carried out of the building; Frank Clare ..."

I would have liked to have had George meeting his new sister in law for the first time and having a 'haven't wet met somewhere before' moment too. That being said, I'm still totally satisfied with the book, despite all of the required suspensions of disbelief. =)


message 39: by Renee, Moderator (new)

Renee M | 1877 comments Mod
I liked Mazey, too, Everyman. And am mystified by the "allusion to rape," so it's not a gender thing. (I really looked for it, too..Thinking I had missed something.) I actually think he's a pretty straight-forward character. And I love his description of Magdalen as "slim and straight as a poplar" which seems to compliment without sexualizing. (Although, he probably wouldn't have let her escape if she were a chubby, plain girl.)


Evelina | AvalinahsBooks (avalinahsbooks) | 89 comments The sleepwalking thing bothered me too, but oh well.

As for the coincidences, that's pretty common in Collins's work, isn't it? I came to the book expecting plenty of that, so it didn't bother me at all.


message 41: by Teresa (new)

Teresa (tnorbraten) | 107 comments What I was talking about the rape allusion is when Mazey comes back to Magdalen the next morning after locking her in her room and says

"I'm going to disgrace myself." Magdalen drew further and further back, and looked at him in rising alarm."


Evelina | AvalinahsBooks (avalinahsbooks) | 89 comments I think you're looking too deeply here for things that aren't there..


message 43: by Teresa (new)

Teresa (tnorbraten) | 107 comments Ah we'll, Sensation novels, and that was my thought. I must be a Victorian servant secretly reading this book, caught up in the emotion I while sitting in the back kitchen between being called by bells.

I was also just thinking that this book could have been set in almost any time period. If you think of them as being in Edwardian, or 1950's America, it still works. Capt Wragge uses social media in 2014 to scam people, I love the idea.


message 44: by Renee, Moderator (new)

Renee M | 1877 comments Mod
Captain Wragge would not be alone in that.


message 45: by Renee, Moderator (new)

Renee M | 1877 comments Mod
I'm so pleased that George got a girl! He's one of the relatives who seemed like a decent fellow all along. And, although the romance with the good Captain Kirke seems contrived, I think Collins was going for foreshadowing on a number of occassions.

Also, didn't sleepwalking figure prominently in The Moonstone? It must be one of his favorite devices.


message 46: by Whimsical (new)

Whimsical (goodreadscomb_flowers) | 189 comments Just wanted to mention that Collins died before he could finish "No Name." The ending was written by Dickens, I think.


message 47: by Teresa (new)

Teresa (tnorbraten) | 107 comments Whim, absolutely not. No Name was written and published in 1862-3 and Wilkie Collins died in 1889. He went on to publish several more books.


message 48: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Teresa wrote: "What I was talking about the rape allusion is when Mazey comes back to Magdalen the next morning after locking her in her room and says

"I'm going to disgrace myself." Magdalen drew further and ..."


I didn't see it at the time, but given that servants at the time were, at least in some houses, quite vulnerable to being taken advantage of (what a horribly neutral phrase for what could be a very vicious act), I certainly see your point.


message 49: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2531 comments Teresa wrote: "Whim, absolutely not. No Name was written and published in 1862-3 and Wilkie Collins died in 1889. He went on to publish several more books."

You're right, but Whim isn't totally wrong. From this web site:
http://www.wilkie-collins.info/wilkie...

"Dickens, however, serialized Collins's next novel, No Name, which ran for 45 instalments from March 1862. Dickens made several helpful suggestions whilst still maintaining his editorial authority. In September he wrote: 'I have gone through the Second Volume at a sitting and I find it wonderfully fine. It is as far before and beyond The Woman in White as that was beyond the wretched common level of fiction-writing.'

1862 was a bad year for Collins's gout and he was so unwell by October that Dickens, hearing of it from Frank Beard and remembering his own illness during the writing of Bleak House, volunteered to help. 'Write to me at Paris at any moment, and say you are unequal to your work, and want me, and I will come to London straight, and do your work. I am quite confident, that with your notes, and a few words of explanation, I could take it up at any time...I hope that the knowledge may be a comfort to you. Call me, and I come'. Collins didn't need to avail himself of this offer and was able to complete the story, himself. "


message 50: by Teresa (new)

Teresa (tnorbraten) | 107 comments I read somewhere that Collins hired people to take dictation. They had to write what he dictated, then he would scream in pain, then dictate some more.

Thanks for seeing my point, Everyman, about the scene in the bedroom. I think Magdalen being that vunerable is the first time she's not in control in the book.


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