|01-30-2014, 01:21 AM||#1|
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Launceston, Tasmania
Device: Kindle3, iPad2, Kobo Touch, Sony PRS T3, Nexus 7
Collins, Wilkie: The Queen of Hearts (illustrated) v1 30 Jan 2014
Wilkie Collins lived in London from 1824 to 1889, a period in which 'the inevitable self-assertion of wealth, so amiably deplored by the prosperous and the rich; [was] so bitterly familiar to the unfortunate and the poor.'
He was short, plump, and short sighted; a traveller, bon vivant, journalist, satirist, essayist, novelist, dramatist, and social activist despite his severe suffering from recurrent gout. He became addicted to laudanum, and several of his characters praise it.
One of his characters says '... isn't it the original intention or purpose ... of a work of fiction, to set out distinctly by telling a story? ... What I want is something that seizes hold of my interest ... something that keeps me reading, reading, reading, in a breathless state to find out the end.'
The Queen of Hearts was published in 1859, and is a story in its own right, split into two parts (which I have called Prelude and Finale) telling of the visit of a young woman to her three elderly uncles. They entice her to stay longer with them by telling stories from their experience over ten nights, and that keeps her with them until her cousin can get home from the Crimea to propose to her.
The ten stories had been published separately over the previous five years or so. Their plots include adventure, detective, ghost, and sensational stories, and social commentary.
Several are told first hand by 'a person in the lower rank of life,' and show Collins' sympathy for the poor and needy.
The source text was Project Gutenberg 1917-h.htm. I have corrected typos, curled quotes, and modernised punctuation, spelling, and hyphenation using oxforddictionaries.com.
As always if you find any errors please let me know so I can correct them.
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