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Collins, (William) Wilkie

story woman novel

(British, 1824–89)

The son of a landscape painter, Wilkie Collins worked as a tea-importer and qualified as a barrister before beginning his career as a writer. His first novel, Antonina (1850) was an account of the fall of Rome, but it was Basil (1852) that introduced the themes of mystery and suspense for which he is best known. The Moonstone (1868) is a brilliantly constructed and complex ‘whodunit’ about the theft of a jewel, and The Woman in White (1860) is the story of a woman's incarceration in an insane hospital that combines the trappings of the Gothic novel with the beginnings of the modern detective story. Later books are generally judged to have deteriorated in quality, dealing primarily with social issues, and it is as the creator of the ‘novel of sensation’ that Collins remains widely read and enjoyed.

Charlotte Brontë, Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens. See CRIME  WB

Compton-Burnett, Ivy [next] [back] Collier, John

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