Mad Monkton and Other Stories

Mad Monkton and Other Stories

Mad Monkton and Other Stories

Mad Monkton and Other Stories

Synopsis

Wilkie Collins established a reputation for himself as a highly readable storyteller. This engaging collection spanning thirty years displays his characteristic powers with twelve short stories from a number of genres. He explores the uncanny peculiarities of everyday life, as well as its underside, offers haunting ghost stories, and makes an important contribution to the newly emerging form of the detective novel.

Excerpt

[Since this Introduction includes references to the plots of some of the stories, readers may prefer to turn to it after reading the stories themselves.]

It is no exaggeration to say that Wilkie Collins's status among mid-Victorian novelists has undergone a quiet revolution in the past twenty years. in 1969 the New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature placed his contemporary Charles Reade in the company of Dickens, Thackeray, George Eliot, and Trollope, but consigned Collins to the small- print muster-roll of practitioners of 'minor fiction', along with Surtees, Sala, Mrs Gatty, Thomas Adolphus Trollope, and others considerably less well known. If it seemed a faintly odd discrimination at the time, it now seems inexplicable, or at least indefensible, for in barely a generation the whirligig of time has reversed their roles. Reade's work is out of print, but the number of Collins titles available in modern editions is constantly increasing, so that the presentday reader has access not only to the familiar novels of the 1860s but to earlier and later books from Basil (1852) to Blind Love (1890). Moreover, while there has been virtually no substantial biographical or critical attention paid to Reade, Collins has been the subject of a major critical biography and several full-length critical studies, as well as extended attention in other books and articles. Almost exactly a century after his death, it is now becoming possible to see his achievement as a whole and to assess the true extent of his originality and his influence. At the same time he has become for readers not merely the author of two or thr e classic novels whose other work has sunk without trace but a prolific writer and expert story-teller who, once launched on a narrative, is almost incapable of failing to hold his audience's attention.

Collins published not only more than twenty novels but travel books, biography, drama, a large number of essays . . .

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