Wilkie Collins

Wilkie Collins (William Wilkie Collins), 1824–89, English novelist. Although trained as a lawyer, he spent most of his life writing, producing some 30 novels. He is best known for two mystery stories, The Woman in White (1860) and The Moonstone (1868), which are considered the first full-length detective novels in English and among the best of their genre; they helped to define the genre of literary melodrama which would peak at the end of the century. Collins's heroines are drawn with considerable clarity and sympathy. He was a close friend of Dickens, in whose periodical Household Words many of Collins's novels first appeared.

See his letters, ed. by W. Baker and W. M. Clarke (2 vol., 1999); biographies by W. M. Clarke (1988), C. Peters (1993), and M. Klimaszewski (2011); studies by M. P. Davis (1956), W. H. Marshall (1970), N. Page (1974), and S. Lonoff (1982).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Wilkie Collins: A Biography
Kenneth Robinson.
Macmillan, 1952
Wilkie Collins: The Critical Heritage
Norman Page.
Routledge, 1995
The Moonstone
Wilkie Collins.
Press of the Readers Club, 1943
FREE! The Woman in White
Wilkie Collins; W. Sherman Potts.
Charles Scribner's Sons, vol.1, 1908
Detection & Its Designs: Narrative & Power in 19th-Century Detective Fiction
Peter Thoms.
Ohio University Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Four "The Detection of Innocence in The Moonstone"
Love's Madness: Medicine, the Novel, and Female Insanity, 1800-1865
Helen Small.
Clarendon Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "The Woman in White, Great Expectations, and The Limits of Medicine"
The Eighteen-Sixties: Essays by Fellows of the Royal Society of Literature
John Drinkwater.
Macmillan, 1932
Librarian’s tip: "The Early Novels of Wilkie Collins" begins on p. 51
The Literary Detective: 100 Puzzles in Classic Fiction
John Sutherland.
Oxford University Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Includes discussion of Wilkie Collins in multiple chapters
A Companion to the Victorian Novel
William Baker; Kenneth Womack.
Greenwood Press, 2002
Librarian’s tip: "Victorian Detective Fiction" begins on p. 177, and "Wilkie Collins's Challenges to Pre-Raphaelite Gender Constructs" begins on p. 365
The History of the Novel in England
Robert Morss Lovett; Helen Sard Hughes.
Houghton Mifflin, 1932
Librarian’s tip: "William Wilkie Collins (1824-89)" begins on p. 250
Cyclopedia of World Authors
Frank N. Magill; Dayton Kohler.
Harper & Row, 1958
Librarian’s tip: "Wilkie Collins" begins on p. 227
FREE! No Name: A Novel
Wilkie Collins.
Harper & Brothers, 1874
Criticism and the Nineteenth Century
Geoffrey Tillotson.
Athlone Press, 1951
Librarian’s tip: Chap. IX "Wilkie Collins's 'No Name'"
The Power of Lies: Transgression in Victorian Fiction
John Kucich.
Cornell University Press, 1994
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Two "Competitive Elites in Wilkie Collins: Cultural Intellectuals and Their Professional Others"
FREE! The New Magdalen
Wilkie Collins.
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1908
The Dead Secret
Wilkie Collins; Ira B. Nadel.
Oxford University Press, 1997
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