The Cambridge Companion to Wilkie Collins (Cambridge by Jenny Bourne Taylor

By Jenny Bourne Taylor

Wilkie Collins was once some of the most renowned writers of the 19th century. he's most sensible recognized for the lady in White, which inaugurated the feeling novel within the 1860s, and The Moonstone, one of many first detective novels; yet he wrote over 20 novels, performs and brief tales in the course of a profession that spanned 4 a long time. This significant other deals a desirable review of Collins's writing. In quite a lot of essays through prime students, it strains the advance of his profession, his place as a author and his complicated relation to modern cultural pursuits and debates. Collins's exploration of the tensions which lay underneath Victorian society is analysed via a number of serious methods. A chronology and advisor to extra studying are supplied, making this e-book an quintessential consultant for all these drawn to Wilkie Collins and his paintings.

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During this period Collins wrote a number of attacks on cultural pomposity. ‘To Think or Be Thought For’ (September 1856) continued the attacks of A Rogue’s Life on fashion-driven gullibility about 30 Cambridge Collections Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006 The early writing Old Masters. ‘Dramatic Grub Street’ (March 1858) and ‘A Breach of British Privilege’ (March 1859) attacked acceptance of low standards in, respectively, writing and production at British theatres. ‘A Clause for the New Reform Bill’ (October 1858) derided the waste and pomposity of civic celebrations.

The Diary of Anne Rodway’ was an important development in Collins’s exploration of the detective mode. It also convinced Dickens that Collins was the writer closest to his own values. To his co-editor, W. H. Wills, he praised the story’s pathos and humanity, and instructed him to invite Collins to join the regular staff of Household Words. 11 Wills reported back to Dickens that Collins was afraid that he would be submerging his distinct identity as a writer in the journal’s collective personality in which all articles appeared unsigned under Dickens’s editorship.

In his Cornish retreat Basil composes the kind of realist contemporary narrative that Mannion wished to produce. It is a strange, fragmented narrative, lacking any obvious overall authority, which includes dreams, hallucinations and letters, together with Mannion’s long confession, and disintegrates into fragmentary diary entries, supplemented by letters from other people. Basil had a mixed reception, as Collins’s Preface foresaw. One sympathetic reader was Dickens, whom Collins first met in 1851, when he acted with him, as his valet, in Bulwer-Lytton’s play, Not So Bad As We Seem.

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