Wilkie Collins

Collins, Wilkie (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 Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on Wilkie Collins from Fact Monster:

  • Andrew Lloyd Webber - Lloyd Webber, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Andrew, 1948–, British theatrical composer. A member of a ...
  • mystery: History - History Although some critics trace the origins of the genre to such disparate works as Aesop's ...
  • January 8 Birthdays: Stephen William Hawking - January 8 birthdays: Stephen William Hawking, Jose Ferrer, David Bowie, Carl Rogers, Emily Greene Balch, Edmond Charles Genêt, John Carroll, Elvis Presley, R.L. Stine, Wilkie Collins, William Piper, Jose Ferrer, Nicholas Biddle
  • English literature: The Victorian Age - The Victorian Age The Reform Bill of 1832 gave the middle class the political power it needed to ...

See more Encyclopedia articles on: English Literature, 19th cent.: Biographies