Wilkie Collins: A Classics Challenge – January Prompt

The Classics Challenge has started and the first book I’m reading is The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. Katherine at November’s Autumn has provided some questions at different levels, depending on how much of the book you’ve read. I’m starting with level 1:

The Author:

Who is the author? What do they look like? When were they born? Where did they live? What does their handwriting look like? What are some of the other novels they’ve written? What is an interesting and random fact about their life?

Wilkie Collins (1824 – 1889)

Wilkie Collins was born in Marylebone, London and lived in a number of houses in the area:
  • Blandford Square (1848-1850)
  • Hanover Terrace (1850-1856)
  • Harley Place (1856-1857)
  • Harley Street (1860-1864)
  • Melcombe Place (1864-1867)
  • Gloucester Place (1867-1888)
  • Wimpole Street (1888-1889)

He wrote 30 novels, more than 60 short stories, 14 plays, and over 100 non-fiction pieces. His best-known works are The Woman in WhiteThe MoonstoneArmadale and No Name.

Collins’s handwriting:

Collins also considered a career in painting and exhibited a picture at the Royal Academy summer exhibition in 1849.

20 thoughts on “Wilkie Collins: A Classics Challenge – January Prompt

  1. Interesting challenge!

    I had no idea Collins had written so many novels; I have only read The Woman in White and The Moonstone. The Woman is a lovely novel I have read at least twice, and as I know a bit about your taste, I think you will also like it. I´ll watch out for your review.


  2. I didn’t realize that Collins painted as well either. Energetic man! I loved WiW when I read it in 2010. Is this a reread or first time for you? Either way, enjoy!


    1. Jane, I’ve not read WiW before. The only other book by Collins that I’ve read is The Moonstone, which I loved. So far, I think I prefer the Moonstone, as the WiW is a bit slow to get off the mark by comparison. Although the appearance of the woman in white at the beginning promises much mystery, I’ve yet to get to find out more – I’m hoping the action will pick up soon.


  3. I loved The Woman in White – hope you are enjoying too! The only other one of his books I’ve read is The Moonstone and I didn’t realize he had written so much more – I look forward to exploring these other titles.


  4. How great to learn more about Collins. I plan to read his Woman in White this year too! (From what you’ve said in the comments I think I must read his Moonstone too).
    I didn’t know about his interest in painting nor that he’d written so many novels!

    I love the convenience of typing but I admit to also loving handwriting. I think it’s interesting that his ‘d’ changes– I saw three different styles.

    Thank you for your post Margaret! 🙂


  5. I read this book last year for the first time and simply LOVED it! It was my favorite vintage read of 2011.I reviewed it in two parts. I’ll be interested to see what you think of it. 🙂


  6. The Law and The Lady, and Armadale, are among the best of the other books of this terrific writer, who also exerted a great influence on Dorothy L Sayers, especially in her book The Documents in the Case


  7. I look forward to reading your opinion of Woman in White. My Reading Partner and I have it on deck to read sometime in 2012, having thoroughly enjoyed The Moonstone.
    Wishing you a wonderful year of reading.


  8. Fascinating information …thank you
    I must admit I enjoy listening to ‘talking books’ of the longer Victorian classics..it’s the only way I get enough uninterrupted time to get into the story and it makes mindless chores much more tolerable :0)


  9. These Victorian authors always make me feel like a lazy slug! They were so productive and prolific. I read The Woman in White many years ago when I was a teen and really liked it. I’d love to read it again some day to see if I still feel the same way.


  10. I read Woman In White last year and it has become one of my favourite classics. I am dying to read more by Wilkie Collins. I have to admit that I know little about him.


  11. I love this book – I seem to remember it’s supposed to have been inspired by a woman in white rushing from a house while he was walking past – and later he set up home with her.


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