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Old 03-24-2015, 02:42 AM   #1
AlexBell
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Collins, Wilkie: I Say No, v1 24 Mar 2015

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 gout he was a traveller, bon vivant, journalist, satirist, essayist, novelist, dramatist and social activist; and friend, collaborator, 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...

'I Say No' was serialised in the 'London Society' magazine and published by Chatto & Windus in 1884. At one level the story is a sensational romance about an eighteen year old orphan whose father had died mysteriously four years earlier, who had been given false information about his death, and who had to cope with contact with people from her father's past. Even at the climax of the book Emily was the last to know that according to the standards of the time what had happened was worse than she had suspected. At another level it satirises the mores and pretensions of the time.

The source text for this ebook cannot be named because I have made corrections after checking it against a pdf copy of the 1899 Chatto & Windus version from the Internet Archive. I have silently corrected typos, curled quotes, restored diacritics, set off letters and documents as blockquotes, used British English, and made changes to spelling and hyphenation using oxforddictionaries.com.
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