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Book Title: The Two Destinies|
The author of the book: Wilkie Collins
ISBN 13: 9781604503739
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 11.19 MB
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Loaded: 2546 times
Reader ratings: 7.1
Edition: Tark Classic Fiction
Date of issue: July 6th 2009
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I believe, after reading the Wikipedia entry for Wilkie Collins, that I have approached his work from the wrong end. I had previously read The Law and the Lady, Miss or Mrs.?, and (most recently) The Moonstone. Today I read that his work from the 1860's was his best (and The Moonstone was the last written during this decade). Beyond that, it is suggested that his work deteriorated, probably because of his addiction to laudanum.
If the difference between The Moonstone (1868) and this book (published in 1876), can be used as a measuring stick, I would have to agree. One could not argue with the brilliancy of The Moonstone. On the other hand, The Law and the Lady (1875) and The Two Destinies both felt a bit belaboured, repeating similar scenarios ad nauseam without any apparent point. Perhaps, since the story was originally published in serial form, Collins believed that the repetition was necessary as a courtesy to readers who may have forgotten where it "left off". Or maybe he himself (under the influence of an addictive substance) had forgotten?
Perhaps my modern sensibilities are showing (I admit to being very impatient with the slow-moving classics which were originally published as serials) -- or perhaps I am just being unkind. Whatever the case, I have not abandoned Wilkie Collins. I am happy that three more stories from his "better" decade are still in my reading future.
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Read information about the authorA close friend of Charles Dickens from their meeting in March 1851 until Dickens' death in June 1870, William Wilkie Collins was one of the best known, best loved, and, for a time, best paid of Victorian fiction writers. But after his death, his reputation declined as Dickens' bloomed.
Now, Collins is being given more critical and popular attention than he has received for 50 years. Most of his books are in print, and all are now in e-text. He is studied widely; new film, television, and radio versions of some of his books have been made; and all of his letters have been published. However, there is still much to be discovered about this superstar of Victorian fiction.
Born in Marylebone, London in 1824, Collins' family enrolled him at the Maida Hill Academy in 1835, but then took him to France and Italy with them between 1836 and 1838. Returning to England, Collins attended Cole's boarding school, and completed his education in 1841, after which he was apprenticed to the tea merchants Antrobus & Co. in the Strand.
In 1846, Collins became a law student at Lincoln's Inn, and was called to the bar in 1851, although he never practised. It was in 1848, a year after the death of his father, that he published his first book, 'The Memoirs of the Life of William Collins, Esq., R.A'., to good reviews.
The 1860s saw Collins' creative high-point, and it was during this decade that he achieved fame and critical acclaim, with his four major novels, 'The Woman in White' (1860), 'No Name' (1862), 'Armadale' (1866) and 'The Moonstone' (1868). 'The Moonstone', is seen by many as the first true detective novel T. S. Eliot called it "the first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels ..." in a genre invented by Collins and not by Poe.
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