Master of mystery and suspense!

The latest display in the Special Collections showcase on level 12 of the library focuses on the work of Wilkie Collins.


One of the most famous and popular Victorian fiction writers, Wilkie Collins (1824-1889) is best known for his sensation novels – drawing on the influences of melodrama and the gothic style to explore themes considered provocative by societal norms. Typically they focused on controversial subjects such as murder, adultery, bigamy, insanity, forgery, identity-theft or prostitution. They were devised to give readers a thrill and to play on their anxieties, especially as many of these scenarios were played out in a domestic setting, bringing these issues to the heart of the Victorian home.

Over his lifetime Collins published 23 novels, several collections of stories, a biography, and a travel book. He also published numerous short stories, several plays and countless articles in periodicals.

Currently on display are a selection of his works found in Special Collections, including: The Moonstone as serialised in the 1868 volume of All the Year Round – described by T. S. Eliot as ‘the first and greatest of English detective novels’; copies of Basil (Collins’s second full-length work of fiction) and Blind Love (posthumously published in 1890); and the highly successful stage play No Thoroughfare, co-authored by Charles Dickens.

Come up to level 12 of the library to find out more. The display will be on show until April 2016.

Categories: Special Collections

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