Gothic Chill Meets Human Vulnerability: The Birth of the "Sensation" Novel

September 26, 2014 12:32 PM

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My obsession with Wilkie Collins started, strangely, with The Moonstone. It's often credited with being the first "detective novel," but it isn't. It is considered a classic, but it's boring and poorly plotted. I read it to please my father, who had loved it. When I told him what I thought of it, he said, "Oh, yes, I remember now, it is boring. Try The Woman in White, that's much better."

Indeed. I spent that year collecting and reading every Collins novel I could find. The Woman in White, while perhaps the least needing of publicity, is the best book with which to introduce Wilkie Collins to the uninitiated.

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