The main purpose of this story is to appeal to the reader's interest
in a subject which has been the theme of some of the greatest writers,
living and dead--but which has never been, and can never be, exhausted,
because it is a subject eternally interesting to all mankind. Here is
one more book that depicts the struggle of a human creature, under those
opposing influences of Good and Evil, which we have all felt, which we
have all known. It has been my aim to make the character of "Magdalen,"
which personifies this struggle, a pathetic character even in its
perversity and its error; and I have tried hard to attain this result by
the least obtrusive and the least artificial of all means--by a resolute
adherence throughout to the truth as it is in Nature. This design was
no easy one to accomplish; and it has been a great encouragement to me
(during the publication of my story in its periodical form) to know, on
the authority of many readers, that the object which I had proposed to
myself, I might, in some degree, consider as an object achieved.
Round the central figure in the narrative other characters will be found
grouped, in sharp contrast--contrast, for the most part, in which I
have endeavored to make the element of humor mainly predominant. I have
sought to impart this relief to the more serious passages in the book,
not only because I believe myself to be justified in doing so by the
laws of Art--but because experience has taught me (what the experience
of my readers will doubtless confirm) that there is no such moral
phenomenon as unmixed tragedy to be found in the world around us.
Look where we may, the dark threads and the light cross each other perpetually in the texture of human life.
To pass from the Characters to the Story, it will be seen that the
narrative related in these pages has been constructed on a plan which
differs from the plan followed in my last novel, and in some other of
my works published at an earlier date. The only Secret contained in this
book is revealed midway in the first volume. From that point, all the
main events of the story are purposely foreshadowed before they take
place--my present design being to rouse the reader's interest in
following the train of circumstances by which these foreseen events are
brought about. In trying this new ground, I am not turning my back in
doubt on the ground which I have passed over already. My one object in
following a new course is to enlarge the range of my studies in the art
of writing fiction, and to vary the form in which I make my appeal to
the reader, as attractively as I can.
There is no need for me to add more to these few prefatory words than is
here written. What I might otherwise have wished to say in this place, I
have endeavored to make the book itself say for me.
Hello!! Earlier this year I read No Name. I must say I liked it a lot, but found it utterly different in style from works like The Woman in White and The Moonstone, and from Armadale as well. Have you read No Name? If you have, did you enjoy it?
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