Catherine Peters

A Tale of Two Mistresses

Wilkie Collins: A Life of Sensation

By

Hutchinson 512pp £20 order from our bookshop

It is time for a new biography of Wilkie Collins. The late William M Clarke first revealed the details of Martha Rudd’s relationship with Wilkie Collins and the subsequent history of their three children 25 years ago. My own biography appeared in 1991. A short life by Peter Ackroyd was a welcome addition in 2012, but it was not based on new research and was not comprehensive. Literary scholars have, during the past quarter-century, added much to the interpretation and understanding of Collins’s novels and established their place in the canon of 19th-century fiction. There are also useful introductions to new editions of his lesser-known works, but an up-to-date account of his life for the reader who may know only The Woman in White or The Moonstone has long been needed. 

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'One of the reasons for its longevity is that it has virtually nothing to say about science and technology at all,… ,
    • 'The characters in many of these stories are trapped in the obsessive present tense of their own thoughts; in the m… ,
    • 'Libraries, for much of their existence, have embodied in microcosm many of the characteristics of the totalitarian… ,
    • 'Moss and Cynthia buy several properties through which to launder their ill-gotten gains, take lots of drugs, have… ,
    • 'Never mind the imperial cult. This is the cult of Boris. What happened to Rome?' From the LR archive:… ,
    • Thirty-two years ago this month, we published Muriel Spark's short story, 'A Playhouse Called Remarkable' Read it… ,
    • Time travel, bicycles and white horses populate @WomackPhilip's roundup of children's books by @marcussedgwick,… ,