» » The Legacy of Cain (Large Print Edition)

Download The Legacy of Cain (Large Print Edition) epub

by Wilkie Collins

This is a pre-1923 historical reproduction that was curated for quality. Quality assurance was conducted on each of these books in an attempt to remove books with imperfections introduced by the digitization process. Though we have made best efforts - the books may have occasional errors that do not impede the reading experience. We believe this work is culturally important and have elected to bring the book back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide.
Download The Legacy of Cain (Large Print Edition) epub
ISBN: 0554215543
ISBN13: 978-0554215549
Category: Other
Subcategory: Humanities
Author: Wilkie Collins
Language: English
Publisher: BiblioLife; large type edition edition (August 18, 2008)
Pages: 356 pages
ePUB size: 1521 kb
FB2 size: 1208 kb
Rating: 4.2
Votes: 853
Other Formats: txt lrf lrf mobi

Wilkie Collins (1824-1889), a friend and sometime co-author of Charles Dickens, wrote enjoyable books. He was the inventor of detective novels. He is best known for his books “The Woman in White” and “Moonstone.” His plots are unusual and suspenseful. Even some plots of his non-detective tales have the flavor of that genre. He has a keen understanding of psychology, which is reflected frequently in his tales. In this book two sisters grow up not knowing that they are not related biologically, and turn out differently.

The story begins when a female prisoner who was sentenced to be hung for the horrible way she killed her husband persuades a minister, Mr. Gracedieu, to adopt her infant daughter. The minister and his wife have no children and do not expect to be able to have any. A doctor warns him that human nature causes physical and personality traits of parents to be inherited by their children, and tries to persuade the minister not to take the child because he will face horrors when the child grows up because she will have her mother’s despicable traits. The minister disagrees and states that his Christian lessons and pious home habits will assure the child grows into a responsible woman. The plot therefore focuses on what causes evil: heredity or environment or, to put it simply, is there a legacy of Cain?

The plot is amplified when the minister’s wife unexpectantly gives birth to a daughter and, unknown to her husband, tells the head of the prison in a venomous manner that she does not want the hung woman’s child and will do all she can to dispose of the child even though her husband wants her. She tries to gain his help in the enterprise, but he refuses. She dies before she can carry out her plan. The minister does all he can to hide that his adopted daughter is the child of a sinister murderess. He refuses to reveal to his daughters that one of them is adopted, and for unusual reasons asserts that he does not want to say which of the two is older. This act raises the curiosity of people who hear about it. He names his adopted daughter Eunice, which, not mentioned or even hinted by Collins, is based on the Greek “eu,” meaning “good,” while the minister’s wife names her daughter Helena against his wishes, a name that is reminiscent of Helen of Troy. Is this meant to be ironic?

The plot swells by the entrance of several characters into the lives of the children, including the mistress of the murdered husband, Miss Chance, who strongly disliked his wife who killed him and her daughter, who is determined to harm the daughter. Another is the entrance into the minister’s home of the minister’s cousin, Miss Jillgall, who Helena thinks is mean-hearted and duplicitous, while Eunice considers her a nice person. The well-meaning minister brought her into his home because she had nowhere else to live. One of her friends is Miss Chance. Jillgall is overly curious and a busy-body. Still another character introduced into the tale is the rich husband of the murderess’s sister who was no longer alive, who offered to help place the child, but refused to bring the child into his home lest his son fall in love with this tainted girl and want to marry her. He is not told that the minister adopted her.

Years later, the two girls are eighteen. Helena, the minister’s natural daughter is far smarter, prettier, and with a warmer personality than Eunice. While Helena is away, Eunice and the son meet, neither knowing the history, and they fall in love. Eunice thinks that the only problem that she might have with this young man is that his father is exceedingly rich while her father is poor, but she is wrong.
Wilkie Collins is better known for two other novels, THE MOONSTONE and THE WOMAN IN WHITE but THE LEGACY OF CAIN is their equal, in my opinion.

A minister is persuaded by an aristocratic woman (who is about to be hanged for murdering her husband) to take her infant daughter and raise her as his own. As happens frequently, the childless couple adopts the child and before long have a daughter of their own.

The story explores, partly through the governor (warden) of the prison who is a friend of the minister, how these two girls grow up in the exact same circumstances, never suspecting they are not blood sisters, and how differently they turn out.

The governor's narration explores the nature or nurture question in a thoughtful and provocative manner without making an absolute judgment.

Anyone interested in this subject would certainly find this story interesting.

Wilkie Collins' writing is surprisingly modern and without the flowery prose that was so common during the 1800's.
Wilkie Collins addresses the question of learned behavior or inherited behavior. Collins questions the dogma of the day as he does in other novels about social injustice. His two main characters have different parents and they are raised as sisters. The father does not believe "the crimes of a parent should be paid for by their children." I enjoyed this novel and dropped everything else to see how the sisters would turn out. I have collected all of Collins novels mostly in paperback. I have a few on Kindle to save money and have copies of books I only found in libraries. This novel is close to his best known works and above his least known novels.
I’ve always enjoyed reading Collins’ work. This one stands out as a very good and delightful read. I highly suggest that it be added to any of his fans’ list.
I have read several books including The Woman in White as well as this title and in all of his other books moved on rather well and even though this story was very good I thought the story moved a little slow at times but the plot was well put together and I also felt that the girls not knowing their ages or not knowing ifthey were real sisters or not really made the book, not as exciting as some of his other novels but still a great read.
If you have read "The Moonstone" and "The Woman in White" and are looking for a Wilkie Collins fix, walk right on by
"The Legacy of Cain". An indignant indictment of Victorian prejudices which lacks the subtle evocations of atmosphere that Collins excels at, "Legacy" fails to round out its characters and is short on plot. Consider yourself warned.
Characters fairly well developed. Not as enthralling as some of W Collins work but still entertaining. I recommend this book.
Wilkie Collins and Anthony Trolope are two of my favorite writers. This book, although very different in subject matter, reminds me so much of my favorite book by Collins, Armadale. If you like a story w more twists and turns than the Mississippi, you'll like The Mark of Cain, and you'd love Armadale.