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The Woman of Knockaloe

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Wikipedia article

'The Woman of Knockaloe: A Parable' is a melodramatic novel by the British writer Hall Caine which was first published in 1923. On the Isle of Man during the First World War a young woman finds herself drawn to one of the nearby German prisoners of war. They begin a romance in the face of fierce hostility of the local community which eventually drives them to commit suicide. The story has been described as a "minor masterpeice"Kelly p.11


Barbed Wire - The film

The book was the basis for the 1927 American film 'Barbed Wire' directed by Rowland V. Lee and starring Pola Negri and Clive Brook. Hardt p.237 The novel's Manx setting was changed to Normandy, and some plot alterations were made including the insertion of a happy ending.Kelly p.11

Barbed Wire - The book

To coincide with the release of this film, The Woman of Knockaloe was published with the title Barbed Wire in 1927 by 'The Readers Library Publishing Company Ltd.' (London) for the mass market in Britain. Hall Caine wrote a special foreword for this particular edition.

The blurb on the dust jacket compares Barbed Wire with Romeo and Juliet and Emile Zola's The Attack on the Mill in as much as all three are about bigotry, prejudice and discrimination of one sort or another. The Woman of Knockaloe was Hall Caine's last novel. In the foreword he wrote for Barbed Wire he said:

" I have thought that its publication through the wide-reading medium of the READERS LIBRARY, at a critical moment in the life of the League of Nations, might touch

the heart of the public and perhaps do the world some good."

All his books are largely forgotten today. However, this edition of Barbed Wire was also one of the cheapest Hall Caine novels ever published - sixpence (British coin)

at the time. It also had an attractive dust jacket (uncommon for such cheap hardback books) which was reminiscent of the film. Although mass produced, few copies with a dust jacket, and in good condition, have survived, which has made it a collector's item on both sides of the Atlantic.http://www.lwcurrey.com/pages/books/100475/hall-caine/barbed-wire



* Hardt, Ursula. 'From Caligari to California: Erich Pommer's Life in the International Film Wars'. Berghahn Books, 1996.

* Kelly, Andrew. 'Cinema and the Great War'. Routledge, 1997.

Category:British novels

Category:1923 novels

Category:British novels adapted into films

Category:Novels by Hall Caine

Category:Novels set in the 1910s

Category:Novels set in the Isle of Man

Category:Manx culture

Category:World War I novels

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