Wilkie Collins

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Wilkie Collins in 1874

William Wilkie Collins (1824 – 1889) was an English writer best known for his novels The Woman in White and The Moonstone (arguably the first detective novel in English literature).

He was a close friend of Charles Dickens, and several of his novels were originally serialised in Dickens' magazine All the Year Round.

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Works by Wilkie Collins with their own trope pages include:

Wilkie Collins provides examples of the following tropes:
  • Accidental Marriage: In Man and Wife, Geoffrey Delamyn and Anne Silvester accidentally get legally married in 19th century Scotland by each writing a note referring to the other as their spouse. At the same time, Geoffrey is trying to get rid of Anne by manipulating his friend Arnold into posing in public as her husband -- believing that this will cause Anne and Arnold to become married. One of Collins' reasons for writing the book was to encourage reform to Scottish marriage law.
  • Descending Ceiling: In "A Terribly Strange Bed", some innkeepers murder (in order to rob) their guests by giving them a canopied bed where the canopy can be silently lowered to smother the sleeper.
  • In the Blood: Armadale revolves around this trope; a young man who has (for unrelated reasons) adopted a pseudonym meets another young man who shares his birth name of Allan Armadale. They become fast friends, until the first young man discovers that his father had murdered the father of the other Allan Armadale. He spends much of the rest of the novel haunted by his father's conviction that the sons are destined to repeat the fathers' fatal feud.
  • Inn of No Return: In "A Terribly Strange Bed".
  • Made on Drugs: Collins was addicted to laudanum and later opium during the period during which he wrote what have been called "the best and most enduring novels of his career": The Woman in White, No Name, Armadale, and The Moonstone. By the 1870s, though, his opium addition (along with a general decline in his health and a growing problem with his eyesight) began to adversely affect his writing; it's hard to point to any particular feature of his later work which can be definitively attributed to the drug use, though.
  • May-December Romance: Man and Wife concludes with the marriage of Anne Silvester and Sir Patrick Lundie, although Sir Patrick is decades older.
  • Murphy's Bed: In "A Terribly Strange Bed"
  • One Steve Limit: The aversion is a big plot point in Armadale, which features four different characters named Allan Armadale.
    • Five, if you count the "original" Allan Armadale, uncle of the one, father of the other Allan Armadale of the older generation of Armadales, who disowned the son to make the nephew his heir starting the feud.
  • Spirited Young Lady: Valeria Brinton of The Law and the Lady is ladylike, graceful, and devoted to her husband. She also becomes one of the first amateur female detectives in the nineteenth-century novel.
  • Sudden Name Change: In the Project Gutenberg text of The Haunted Hotel, Lord Montbarry's eldest daughter's name changes from Lucy to Marian between chapters. The same slip is present in the French edition.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Collins seems to have been fond of this trope; Lydia Gwilt in Armadale and Captain Wragge in No Name are both excellent Xanatos Speed Chess players.