Lost in the horrors of writer’s block last week, in which everything I wrote deserved to be deleted, I neglected to post last Friday and wish Wilkie Collins(b. 1824) a Happy Birthday. I’m sure if he was still around he would be disappointed, but in the expected way of those who are often neglected. Wilkie Collins had the privilege and the misfortune to be a contemporary and a close friend of Charles Dickens.
They were often collaborators on stage productions and theatricals which brought Dickens more money than his writings did in his lifetime. It was through one of these productions that Dickens was introduced to Ellen. His fascination with this 19 year old, ended his marriage to his wife Catherine, mother of his 10 children.
Collins’ works, The Moonstone and The Lady in White often outsold Dickens in their day, Collins is now obscure and often only known to English majors and mystery buffs. Even in the world of mystery Wilkie is eclipsed by Edgar Allen Poe as scholars endlessly argue over which man invented the detective and the mystery story.
To add insult to these injuries Mr. Collins finds himself the unreliable and often unlikeable narrator of Dan Simmons Drood which I have written about previously.
So Happy Birthday Wilkie, even though I’m a little late. Now I am going off to make a cup of tea and dust off my copy of The Woman in White. What more could an author want?