Wilkie Collins (Authors in Context)

Lyn Pykett
Oxford World's Classics

Wilkie Collins is mainly remembered for his best-selling sensation novel The Woman in White and his detective mystery The Moonstone , both published in the 1860s. However, in a literary career spanning nearly forty years he wrote over twenty novels, several plays, and numerous short stories in which his preoccupations with Victorian society are revealed. Irregular liaisons, the chaotic state of the marriage laws, social and psychological identity, and the interconnections between respectable society and the world of crime are recurring themes in Collins's fiction. Lyn Pykett looks at Collins's long and varied career in relation to the changing circumstances of his own life, a changing literary marketplace, and the changing worlds of nineteenth-century Britain, as well as his enduring legacy for modern writers and interpreters. The book includes a chronology of Collins's life and times, suggestions for further reading, websites, illustrations, and a comprehensive index.

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1. The Life of Wilkie Collins
2. The Social Context
3. The Literary Context
4. Master, Servants, and Married Women: Class and Social Mobility in Collins's Novels
5. Sex, Crime, Madness, and Empire
6. Psychology and Science in Collins's Novels
7. Recontextualizing Collins: The Afterlife of Collins's Novels


Lyn Pykett, Professor of English and Pro Vice-Chancellor, University of Wales, Aberystwyth