Collins was born in London, the son of a
well-known Royal Academician landscape artist, William Collins. Named
after his father, he became known by his second name Wilkie. From the
ages of 12-15 he lived with his parents in Italy, which made a great
impression on him. At the age of 22 he entered Lincoln's Inn to study
law. It was in 1850, with the release of his first published novel, that
his career as a writer began in earnest. In 1851 he was introduced to
Charles Dickens and they became lifelong friends and collaborators.
Collins suffered from a form of arthritis known as "rheumatic gout" and
became severely addicted to the opium that he took (in the form of
laudanum) to relieve the pain. As a result he experienced paranoid
delusions, the most notable being his conviction that he was constantly
accompanied by a subjective 'Ghost Wilkie'. His novel The Moonstone
prominently features the effects of opium addiction. Collins never
married and died in 1889. He is buried in Kensal Green Cemetery, West
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THE WOMAN IN WHITE
The Woman in White was written in 1859 and published in 1860. It is
considered among the first mystery novels and is widely regarded as one
of the best in sensational novel genre. The story can be considered as
an early detective fiction as he uses many sleuthing techniques. The
multiple narratives draw on the author's legal training.
Author Wilkie Collins
is at his best, with a brilliant plot and careful manipulation of great
scenes and suspense.
The protagonist in the story is Walter Hartright.
Throughout the story the characters
encounter a mysterious woman in white, whose own sad story seems
entangled with those of Laura and her husband. She is the mysterious
Anne Catherick, who apparently plays a crucial role in the main events.
Hartright first encountered Anne Catherick on his last night in London
but she reappears, having escaped from the mental asylum. Actually, she
was committed by Sir Percival since Anne and her mother know a dark
secret about him.
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