The Evil Genius

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1.-The Trial.
THE gentlemen of the jury retired to consider their verdict.
Their foreman was a person doubly distinguished among his colleagues. He had the clearest head, and the readiest tongue. For once the right man was in the right ...
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The Evil Genius

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1.-The Trial.
THE gentlemen of the jury retired to consider their verdict.
Their foreman was a person doubly distinguished among his colleagues. He had the clearest head, and the readiest tongue. For once the right man was in the right place.
Of the eleven jurymen, four showed their characters on the surface. They were:
The hungry juryman, who wanted his dinner.
The inattentive juryman, who drew pictures on his blotting paper.
The nervous juryman, who suffered from fidgets.
The silent juryman, who decided the verdict.
Of the seven remaining members, one was a little drowsy man who gave no trouble; one was an irritable invalid who served under protest; and five represented that vast majority of the population-easily governed, tranquilly happy-which has no opinion of its own.
The foreman took his place at the head of the table. His colleagues seated themselves on either side of him. Then there fell upon that assembly of men a silence, never known among an assembly of women-the silence which proceeds from a general reluctance to be the person who speaks first.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Released in 1886, Collins's Victorian soap opera focuses on Kitty Linley, a child whose father dies in disgrace and whose mother abandons her for another marriage. Kitty is tossed into a school where she, of course, is treated brutally. A governess is hired to raise her, but her stepfather falls for the woman, bringing yet more misery into the girl's life. Collins is always popular. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592244058
  • Publisher: Wildside Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2003
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author

Wilkie Collins

Wilkie Collins was an English novelist who critics often credit with the invention of the English detective novel. Sergeant Cuff from Collins's novel The Moonstone became a prototype of the detective hero in English fiction. Collins's works center on mainstream Victorian domestic life. Collins liked to tackle social issues, and many of his novels contain sympathetic portraits of physically abnormal individuals. In addition to Moonstone, he is well known for his popular suspense thriller The Woman in White, No Name, and Armadale.Collins was born in London in 1824 to William Collins, a well-known landscape painter, and Harriet Collins, the daughter of a painter. Despite a secure home, he was a small, sickly child and had a slightly deformed skull. He was educated privately and studied painting for several years. He later studied law and became a lawyer at the age of twenty-seven. Collins never practiced law, but he did put his legal knowledge to work in his crime writing. In 1851, Collins met his lifelong friend and mentor Charles Dickens while they were pursuing a mutual interest in amateur theater. Dickens helped Collins bring humor and believable characters into his books.The two women in Collins's life-Caroline Graves, his life-long companion, and Mrs. Martha Rudd, his mistress-also greatly influenced his writing.During the 1860s, Collins started to suffer severely from rheumatic pains and became addicted to laudanum, a form of opium. The death of Dickens in 1870 robbed him of his powerful inspiration, and his popularity declined. In 1873, he met Mark Twain and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow on a trip to the United States. Soon thereafter he wrote The Evil Genius, which was published in 1886. Collins died from a stroke on September 23, 1889. John Bolen brings his extensive theater, film, and television experience to audiobooks. Recent television appearances include CIA: Masters of Deception on the Discovery Channel and Courage on the Fox Family Channel. His recent film work includes The Land, The Inn Outside the World, Dream Parlor, and the American Film Institute's Women Directors Workshop short This Is Bill.John has performed at many theaters in the Los Angeles area. He portrayed Sir David Metcalfe in Beyond Reasonable Doubt and Jim in Later Life. He was featured as Dr. Montague in The Haunting of Hill House, Grandpa Joe in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Mr. Meeker in Inherit the Wind, Henri and the shore patrolman in South Pacific, and Lord Montague in Romeo and Juliet. He starred as Palmer Forrester in Murder Among Friends and Dr. Gerald Lyman in Bus Stop. John has also performed in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Tribunal, A Dickens of a Christmas, Once Upon a Mattress, Fiddler on the Roof, and Finian's Rainbow. He performs in an ongoing school touring production of Billy's Closet. He is also a playwright and a member of the New Voices Playwrights Theatre. John and his wife, Lynne, live in Irvine, California.


Wilkie Collins has long been overshadowed by his friend and collaborator Charles Dickens -- unfortunately for readers who have consequently not discovered one of literature's most compelling writers. His novels are ceremonious and none too brief; they are also irresistible. Take the opening lines of his 1852 story of marital deceit, Basil: "What am I now about to write? The history of little more than the events of one year, out of the twenty-four years of my life. Why do I undertake such an employment as this? Perhaps, because I think that my narrative may do good; because I hope that, one day, it may be put to some warning use." It's a typical Collins opening, one that draws the reader in with a tone that's personal, but carries formality and import.

With his long, frizzy black beard and wide, sloping forehead, Collins looked like a grandfatherly type, even in his 30s. But his thinking and lifestyle were unconventional, even a bit ahead of his time. His characters (particularly the women) have a Henry James–like predilection for bucking social mores, and he occasionally found his work under attack by morality-mongers. Collins was well aware of his books' potential to offend certain Victorian sensibilities, and there is evidence in some of his writings that he was prepared for it, if not welcoming of it. He writes in the preface to Armadale, his 1866 novel about a father's deathbed murder confession, "Estimated by the clap-trap morality of the present day, this may be a very daring book. Judged by the Christian morality which is of all time, it is only a book that is daring enough to speak the truth."

Collins began his career by writing his painter father's biography. He gained popularity when he began publishing stories and serialized novels in Dickens's publications, Household Words and All the Year Round. His best-known works are The Woman in White and The Moonstone, both of which -- along with Basil -- have been made into films.

Collins often alludes to fantastic, supernatural happenings in his stories; the events themselves are usually borne out by reasonable explanations. What remains are the electrifying effects one human being can have upon another, for better and for worse. His main characters are often described in terms such as "remarkable," "extraordinary," and "singular," lending their actions -- and thereby the story -- a special urgency. In one of his great successes, 1860's The Woman in White, Collins spins what is basically a magnificent con story into something almost ghostly: The fates of two look-alike women -- a beautiful, well-off woman and a poor insane-asylum escapee -- are intertwined and manipulated by two evil men. One of those is among the best fictional villains ever created, the kill-‘em-with-kindness Count Fosco. Fosco is emblematic of another Collins hallmark -- antagonists who manage to throw their victims off guard by some powerful charm of personality or appearance.

The Moonstone, published in 1868, is regarded by many to be the first English detective novel. Starring the unassuming Sergeant Cuff, it follows the trail of a sought-after yellow diamond from India that has fallen into the wrong hands. Like The Woman in White, the novel is told in multiple first person narratives that display Collins's gift for distinctive and often humorous voices. Whether it is servants, foreigners, or the wealthy, Collins is an equal-opportunity satirist who quietly but deftly pokes fun at human foibles even as he draws nuanced, memorable characters.

Though The Woman in White and The Moonstone are Collins's standouts, he had a productive, consistent career; the novels Armadale, No Name and Poor Miss Finch are worthwhile reads, and his short stories will particularly appeal to Edgar Allan Poe fans. Fortunately in the case of this underappreciated writer, there are plenty of titles to appreciate.

Good To Know

Collins studied law, and though he never practiced as a lawyer, his knowledge of the subject is evident in his fiction. He also apprenticed with a tea merchant in his pre-publication years.

He was addicted to laudanum, a form of opium that he used to treat his pain from rheumatic gout.

Collins never married, but he had a long-term live-in relationship with one woman, and a second romance that produced three children.

He is named after popular artist Sir David Wilkie; both his parents were painters who counted Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth among their friends.

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    1. Also Known As:
      William Wilkie Collins (full name)
      Wilkie Collins
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 8, 1824
    2. Place of Birth:
      London, England
    1. Date of Death:
      September 23, 1889
    2. Place of Death:
      London, England

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2002

    A Victorian Melodrama Best Left to Collins Fans

    This book has every possible Victorian cliche from the abandoned, unloved child to the cheating but repentant husband. It is just too melodramatic. There are so many better examples of this genre. It is a title best left to diehard fans of Wilkie Collins.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted June 5, 2012



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    Posted March 29, 2012

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    Posted June 5, 2011

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