(William) Wilkie Collins, famous English author and son of William Collins, the artist, was born in London, January 8, 1824. He received some education at Highbury, but at seventeen was apprenticed to a tea merchant, and while working there wrote his first novel, "Antonina, or, The Fall of Rome," a rather insipid tale. He later became a student at Lincoln's Inn and was called to the bar in 1851. He did not care for the law, however, and was undecided for a time between art and literature. He wrote many novels, characterized by skillfully laid plots, and was a master of the short story, as exemplified in "The Queen of Hearts," published in 1859. His best known novels are "The Woman in White" (1860), and "The Moonstone" (1868). He lectured in America in 1873-74, and died September 23, 1889.
REFERENCES: E. L. von Wolzogen, Wilkie Collins (probably the best biography); S. M. Ellis, Wilkie Collins, LeFanu and Others; Malcolm Elwin, Victorian Wallflowers; W. C. Philips, Dickens, Reade and Collins; A. C. Rickett, "Wilkie Collins," The Bookman (London), XLII, 1912, 108-14, with 17 illustrations, 7 portraits, and 1 caricature; Allibone, Dict. Eng. Lit., I, and Supplement, I.
Fireside Library. Nos. 92, 104, 113, 117
Waverley Library (quarto). No. 214