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Wilkie Collins: A Life of Sensation

Sunday 30 March 2014

1 Hour


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Biographer Andrew Lycett uncovers a brilliant, witty, friendly, contrary and sensual Wilkie Collins deeply committed to his writing. Collins’s detective novel, The Moonstone, was described by T S Eliot as the greatest English detective novel. It was written in 1868 at a time when Collins was struggling with illness, the death of his mother and the announcement by his live-in mistress that she was tired of his relationship with another woman and was going to marry someone else. In response, Collins increased his huge intake of opium and set about completing the book. All of this was unknown to the outside world, and Lycett’s investigative study draws out the real Wilkie Collins, placing him at the heart of the literary, artistic and historical movement of his age.

Lycett is a former foreign correspondent turned biographer. His books include acclaimed lives of Ian Fleming, Dylan Thomas, Rudyard Kipling and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.