The Moonstone

The Moonstone

The Moonstone

The Moonstone

Excerpt

The Moonstone is the first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels. But it is something more important than that; it is the best of all the novels written by that man who among the novelists of the nineteenth century was in every way the most closely associated with Charles Dickens. You cannot appreciate Collins without taking Dickens into account; and the work of Dickens after 1850 would not be what it is but for the reciprocal influence of Collins.

William Wilkie Collins was born in 1824, twelve years later than Dickens. He had begun writing before he and Dickens met, but his two best-known novels, the only ones which are at all widely read to-day, The Woman in White and The Moonstone, were written after the friendship was well assured. Dickens played an important part in their production; he published both of them serially in his magazine All the Year Round. Both novels were in this form popular successes and contributed materially to the prosperity of the magazine.

None of the novels which Collins wrote thereafter either deserved or obtained the success of The Woman in White or The Moonstone. Collins's claim to remembrance after that time is to be found chiefly in the work of Dickens. There is no adequate biography of Collins beyond a brief note in the Dictionary of National Biography, and Forster's allusions to the relations of the two men are few and meagre, but some things we are entitled to guess. At about the middle of Dickens's career Forster tells us that Dickens experienced an impoverishment of the creative imagination which had hitherto appeared inexhaustible. There is no doubt that Dickens, who always needed money . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.