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Old 04-07-2014, 02:56 AM   #1
AlexBell
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Collins, Wilkie: Little Novels, v1, 7 April 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; despite his severe suffering from recurrent gout he was a traveller, bon vivant, journalist, satirist, essayist, novelist, dramatist, and social activist, and a friend and rival of Charles Dickens. 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...

Little Novels contains fourteen stories involving romantic relationships. Several stories also contain supernatural or occult themes, and some have detective story elements. Most of the protagonists are members of what would be 'the one percent' in our day, and some stories deal with love across social classes and the effects this has.

The stories were originally published separately under different names in various journals during the later years of his life. He was becoming more dependent on laudanum, and getting less relief from his pain. Perhaps this is why in several stories the tone is more sardonic than the gentle satire in his earlier works.

The source text was Project Gutenberg 1680-h.htm, checked against the Chatto and Windus 1890 edition. I have corrected typos, curled quotes, and made minor changes to spelling, punctuation, and hyphenation using oxforddictionaries.com.

Version 2: Error corrected
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Last edited by AlexBell; 04-08-2014 at 07:30 AM.
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