The Works of Wilkie Collins

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The fourth and most compelling line of argument though is that Collins made enticing, intriguing stories central to his writing. Having clever, interconnected plots drive his works makes them the forerunners of modern popular writing: Let's not be patronizing about it though—we're not talking just about superficial bestsellers. Okay, we are talking about superficial bestsellers, but we're also talking about many of our great literary works that have found wide readership. It's Collins we have to thank for much of this, more than or as much as others of his time.

Consider almost any work of Dickens and you'll find marvellous characters brought together by slowly developing narrative structures. For readers today, the temptation is to skim through many of Dickens's pages to find "what happens next".

Collins's characters may be less memorable, but their lives are beset by conflict, twisting fates, sudden reversals and bewitching mystery. Today it seems obvious that the ideal for a writer is to strive for both: Collins's first published novel, Antonina , is a floridly written historical novel of the Roman Empire that's deservedly forgotten today, along with his early memoirs, travelogue and short fiction. But his second published novel, Basil , shows the early development of his style that was to flower in his masterpieces.

Basil has the mystique, the teasing style, the shifting points of views, and some epistolary narrative. Most of all, it has the then shocking subject matters of sexuality and adultery.

Wilkie Collins

Collins's rhythm may be off, some of his plot twists may be a little awkward, and the revelations solving the mystery perhaps come too quickly and easily. But you can see he's on the way to developing what would become known as sensation fiction. Around this time, Collins was also knocking out short stories, often for Dickens's Household Words periodical. A longer work in this vein is "The Yellow Mask" , a short novel featuring a man haunted by his dead wife, although the supernatural elements are balanced by the search for a rational explanation.

The Works of Wilkie Collins

Works[edit]. Cover of the first edition of The Haunted Hotel by Wilkie Collins, . Basil (); Hide and Seek (); The Dead Secret. Complete 30 volume hardcover set published by P.F. Collier around the year Various editions were published, some with minor changes to spine design .

Again it's plot driven, suspenseful and shocking in its characterization. And again its major failing is that the resolution is too easy—a failing Collins would fix in the future, as he learns to pace his suspense.

His many stories, novels and plays, in which he developed his lively style through the s, were popular with the reading public—which other British writers noted. But it's The Woman in White that is considered his first masterpiece. Kaitlyn Schombs rated it it was amazing Sep 11, Charlene Conlon rated it really liked it Mar 10, Gerald Beckman rated it it was ok Apr 21, Mr Roy E Gibbs rated it really liked it Feb 16, Kathleen rated it really liked it Oct 02, Bruce Moore rated it it was amazing Jun 20, Leah rated it really liked it Jan 07, Mike Shevyn rated it it was amazing May 30, Miss Prism rated it it was amazing Aug 11, Susan Trofatter rated it really liked it Sep 07, Chet Williamson rated it liked it Dec 03, Judith Moore rated it it was amazing Jul 05, Ronald K Hughes rated it really liked it Jan 02, Sue Snobeck rated it it was amazing Dec 30, Mr Stephen Moore rated it really liked it Sep 29, Strawberry Shortcake rated it it was amazing Sep 02, Kristin Hicks rated it it was amazing Jul 13, Beth rated it it was amazing Mar 09, Candace rated it it was amazing Apr 27, Terri rated it really liked it Jun 19, Your contribution may be further edited by our staff, and its publication is subject to our final approval.

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The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. Learn More in these related Britannica articles: In his next novel, however, the brief and affectionately humorous idyll Under the Greenwood Tree , Hardy found a voice much more distinctively his own. In this book he evoked, within the simplest of marriage plots, an episode of social change the displacement of…. Noted for its suspenseful plot and unique characterization, the successful novel brought Collins great fame; he adapted it into a play in Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students.

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