17 Matching Annotations
  1. Dec 2019
  2. whokilledzebedee.wordpress.com whokilledzebedee.wordpress.com
    1. I could hang you by a word.

      While capital punishment in Britain did not cease until the 20th century, the last woman hanged was Frances Kidder in 1868. The same year saw the last public hanging in Britain.

      Published in 1880, this story likely takes place decades prior, given the indication of the narrative format, making it possible that Priscilla could have indeed been subject to hanging.

    2. I preferred leaving the police force.

      From The Law and the Lady to The Woman in White, Collins’s career-long engagements with British law in his fiction conveys a complex ethical code. Heroes commit crimes as often as the villains. For more discussion on British law in Collins and its social and biographical context, see Pykett.

    3. I had delicious kisses, thanks to Priscilla.

      This story hints as Collins’s contemporary liberal views of sexuality and marriage. Suggestive of an illicit liaison (at least in terms of an officer engaging with a investigative subject), Collins reifies Victorian morality by engaging the two to be married but then disrupts that again by the revelation that Priscilla murdered Zebedee. The narrator’s love for the criminal Priscilla, however, may suggest a movement beyond Victorian social conventions. Collins’s work, as always, is morally complex. For more information on Collins’s own affairs, see the Peters biography in the further reading tab.

    4. I heard from her certain particulars, which threw a new light on Mr. Deluc, and on the case generally

      Collins’s innovations in detective fiction, a mode of literature to which he contributed significantly, crucially includes his use of the amateur female sleuth. While Marian Halcombe of The Woman in White is credited as the prototypical female detective, characters like Priscilla and Anne Rodway (“The Diary of Anne Rodway”) illustrate Collins’s interest in these figures. Given more agency than their traditional female counterparts, Collins’s sleuths straddle the line between criminality and justice. See Kestner in the further reading tab for more discussion of Collins and female detectives in the nineteenth century.

    5. caught her alone on the stairs

      Gothic and sensational literature presents gendered abuse variety of manners, but Collins’s work often frames unwanted sexual advances and sexual assault as villainous. There is a myriad of scholarship on Collins’s engagement with gender and sexuality, including works by Haefele-Thomas, Heller, O’Neill, and Pykett. See citations in the further reading tab.

    6. Mrs. Zebedee being in no condition to understand the proceedings in either case

      Medicine and its abuse features in several of Collins’ works, as well as throughout sensational and Gothic literature. As in the case here, it often carries a gendered connotation. See Talairach for more discussion on medicine in Collins in the further reading tab.

    7. yellow

      A yellow complexion, while certainly a racialization, does not denote a specific race. Collins also uses yellow to describe the Italian Count Fosco in The Woman in White. More likely, it is a signifier of foreignness, perhaps from a warm climate.

    8. I did it in my sleep!

      Anxieties and interest in mesmerism (also known as animal magnetism) and hypnotism compounded in the nineteenth century, featuring in sensational novels and occult media. Here, as in many cultural instances, a woman is (or believes she is) subject to its influence. While Mrs. Zebedee has a history of sleepwalking, her book “The World of Sleep” suggests an ambiguous influence suspiciously similar to mesmerism. For further discussion of Collins and gender and mesmerism, see Pearl in the further reading tab.

    9. Creole

      Linguistic. Creole: 1. (n.) a descendant of white European settlers (esp. Spanish or French) who is born in a colonized country 2. (n.) Any person of mixed ancestry born in a country previously colonized by white Europeans.

      Interpretive Deluc could be a white Creole or mixed race, according to 19th century racial conventions.

    10. I’ve known them to be mad

      Madness (or the lack thereof) is a crucial component to many of Collins’s sensational works both as characterization and plot device, perhaps most prominently in The Woman in White. For further discussion on mental illness and gender in Collins, see Heller in the further reading tab.

    11. she did it in her sleep

      Sleepwalking also features heavily in The Moonstone (1868) during the climatic revelation of the moonstone’s thief. For further discussion on somnambulism in Collins, see Ayoub in the further reading tab.

    12. smelling her breath

      Though Priscilla is deemed sober, the influence of drugs and alcohol are prevalent throughout Collins’s oeuvre. Collins himself suffered from opium addiction. Addiction is showcased in Armadale (1866) and The Moonstone (1868). See Peters for biographical information on Collins’s addiction.

  3. Mar 2017
    1. There may well be a dominant reading, but this can erode over time if the “interpretive community” (Fish 1980) to which it speaks changes or the message lost entirely if that com-munity is decisively disrupted or displaced.14
  4. inst-fs-dub-prod.inscloudgate.net inst-fs-dub-prod.inscloudgate.net
    1. The Eskimo reading is unaccepta­ble because there is at present no interpretive strategy for pro­ducing it, no way of "looking" or reading (and remember, all acts of looking or reading are "ways") that would result in the emergence of obviously Eskiri:lO meanings. This does not mean, however, that no such strategy could ever come into play, and it is not difficult to imagine the circumstances under which it would establish itself.

      And this is the point.