Wilkie Collins

Wilkie Collins : A Life of Sensation

3.64 (64 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

1868, and bestselling author Wilkie Collins is hard at work on a new detective novel, The Moonstone. But he is weighed down by a mountain of problems - his own sickness, the death of his mother, and, most pressing, the announcement by his live-in mistress that she has tired of his relationship with another woman and intends to marry someone else. His solution is to increase his industrial intake of opium and knuckle down to writing the book T. S. Eliot called the 'greatest' English detective novel. Of Wilkie's domestic difficulties, not a word to the outside world: indeed, like his great friend Charles Dickens, he took pains to keep secret any detail of his menage. There's no doubt that the arrangement was unusual and, for Wilkie, precarious, particularly since his own books focused on uncovering such deeply held family secrets. Indeed, he was the master of the Victorian sensation novel, fiction that left readers on the edge of their seats as mysteries and revelations abounded. In this colourful investigative portrait, Andrew Lycett draws Wilkie Collins out from the shadow of Charles Dickens.
Wilkie is revealed as a brilliant, witty, friendly, contrary and sensual man, deeply committed to his work. Here he is given his rightful place at the centre of the literary, artistic and historical movements of his age. Part biography, part history, part intimate family saga, Wilkie Collins brings to life one of England's greatest writers against the backdrop of Victorian London and all its complexities. It is a truly sensational story.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 544 pages
  • 162 x 240 x 49mm | 864g
  • Hutchinson
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 2 x 8pp colour plates
  • 0091937094
  • 9780091937096
  • 734,812

Review Text

"Acclaimed biographer Andrew Lycett uncovers a few skeletons in Wilkie Collins’s closet, revealing a private life every bit as sensational as anything the author dreamt up in his fiction."
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Review quote

"Acclaimed biographer Andrew Lycett uncovers a few skeletons in Wilkie Collins's closet, revealing a private life every bit as sensational as anything the author dreamt up in his fiction." Observer "Clean outlines, crystal clear English, and a clear-eyed picture of his subject... Andrew Lycett's a terrific narrator... the Hemingway of biographers... One sees Collins more clearly having read Lycett... A fine, and pre-eminently useful, biography of the most elusive character in Victorian literature." -- John Sutherland The Spectator "Collins's private life... was as rich in secrets as his books. Sensible, thoughtful and never less than scrupulous, -Lycett is just the right biographer to assess whether such potentially sensational material should affect our interpretation of -Collins's work." Sunday Times "As delicate as it is thorough, Lycett peels away the layers of deception with which Collins protected himself and shows us the engagingly vulnerable figure beneath" Evening Standard "Excellent on Collins's friendship with Dickens, which he presents, convincingly, as much more of a relationship of equals than Dickens's biographers allow" The Times
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About Andrew Lycett

Andrew Lycett has a degree in history from Oxford University. After several years as a foreign correspondent, he has been a biographer since the early 1990s. His books include highly praised lives of Ian Fleming, Dylan Thomas, Rudyard Kipling and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Geographical Society. He lives in North London.
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Rating details

64 ratings
3.64 out of 5 stars
5 17% (11)
4 39% (25)
3 34% (22)
2 9% (6)
1 0% (0)
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