Introduction to Ioláni by Ira B. Nadel.

Background on Ioláni by Paul Lewis

Text of Ioláni

The bound manuscript, entirely in the hand of Wilkie Collins, consists of 167 leaves: four gatherings with two extra free end papers bound in at the front of the volume and two at the back. The first gathering consists of 52 leaves; the second of 39 leaves (folios 53-91), with one leaf apparently tipped in on the stub of a previously canceled leaf numbered 57 in the manuscript; the third gathering of 44 leaves (folios 92-135) and the fourth of 28 leaves (folios 136-163).

Folios 1-52 consist of the title page, a blank leaf, a leaf containing an epigram, and folios 1-49 in Collins's foliation; folios 53-91 correspond to folios 50-88 in Collins's foliation; folios 92-135 to 89-132 in Collins's foliation; folios 136-163 to folios 133-160 in Collins's foliation.

The leaves are cream in color and measure 25.4 cm. x 20 cm. Four watermarks can be identified: a small fleur-de-lis, a large fleur-de-lis, "BUNE," and "1844." Horizontal chain lines for all four types of paper are artificially imposed and are 2.5 cm. apart.

The manuscript is bound in a brown leather, Pfister binding measuring 26 cm. x 21 cm. with a gold stamped spine, which reads: [raised band 20.5 mm.] IOLANI AND IDIA [raised band 20.5 mm.] COLLINS [raised band 20.5 mm.] [raised band 20.5 mm.] [raised band 20.5 mm]. The inside boards and endpapers are a light marbled pink.


Click for a transcript of this page of ms

The uniform neatness of the manuscript suggests that it is a fair copy, since corrections, emendations, and cancellations are at a minimum. The clean copy reflects none of the hesitations of a first draft with its accompanying insertions, deletions, revisions, or structural changes. Nor are there any notes suggesting the length of episodes or chapters, all features of the manuscript for Antonina, Collins's second novel, now at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Antonina remains his first published novel (London: Richard Bentley, 1850), but not his first written. The manuscript of his third novel, Basil—at the British Library—is also corrected, revised, and reworked, a characteristic of his later manuscripts as well. The manuscript of Ioláni is most likely the fair copy that possibly circulated among Longmans and, later, Chapman and Hall.

In the absence of other textual witnesses, the manuscript copy of Ioláni necessarily becomes the only copytext. The editorial policy of this first edition of the novel is to provide an accurate reading text of the work and to indicate all deletions, cancellations, and emendations of wording. In some instances, as on page 127, line 13, Collins removed, crossed out, or altered individual words or sets of words as he wrote or revised the manuscript. Because this is Collins's first attempt at novel writing, it is important to see Collins at work, drafting, revising, and altering his material. All wording variants, deleted from the text, are therefore recorded with the lemma repeated only for purposes of identification. For example, the deletion of a word, now illegible, following "disposed" on page 137, line 1 is presented thus: disposed] disposed (illegible). Angled brackets < > indicate deletions. Square brackets [ ] indicate an editorial insertion. A revision occurring in the same line as an earlier reading is marked "[altered in same line]." The edited text also reproduces Collins's inconsistent spelling, because it conveys the immediacy of his manuscript composition and sense of process in creating the story. Similarly, I have maintained his unorthodox punctuation, which has a rhetorical and emphatic role in the text. Capitalization, paragraphing, and dashes remain as Collins presents them. Unintentionally omitted accents, however, have been added, and the spelling of "Tahíti" (also spelled Tahěti by Collins) has been used throughout. The altered accent on Tahíti appears too infrequently to justify disruption to the reader.

Professor Ira B Nadel 1999

A list of emendations and corrections and a small number of notes on the text are not reproduced on this website. Readers are referred to the published work.

From: Ioláni, or Tahiti as it was: A Romance by Wilkie Collins, edited and introduced by Professor Ira B. Nadel, University of British Columbia, Princeton University Press 1999 (ISBN 0-691-03446-X).
© 1999 Princeton University Press. Reprinted with permission of Princeton University Press and kind permission of Ira B Nadel.

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