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Monday, January 1, 2018

Book Review: Wilkie Collins A Life of Sensation by Andrew Lycett, Windmill Books, 2014, 522 pages.

Wilkie Collins is one of the most skillful and talented novelists of any time. He doesn't get his due because he is overshadowed by his immensely talented friend and colleague, Charles Dickens. And he is also seen in rather regional terms being a product of England about English society rather than a more universal scribe.

The Woman In White and The Moonstone are seminal works of sensation and mystery; works still read and, hopefully, taught somewhere today for their plot twists and rich characterization. But as this biography states in graphic detail, we discover these works of literary art are merely a reflection of the daily life of the author.

Wilkie Collins lived a quite different life than his readers would imagine and a life that was more than a simple life, it was double life; a life of scholarship and a life of sensation.

A Life of Sensation is the most thoroughly researched biography I have seen in some time. The book can bog down in short pieces because of all the information contained therein but on the whole it is rich in facts and full of utter and complete sensation.

Andrew Lycett presents a scholarly work which is largely entertaining and shocking to say the least. Fans of literature in general should read of this life so rich and they should relish a writer who, unbeknownst, to all his readership, who told us all about it.

Buy this book.

Wilkie Collins: A Life of Sensation

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