Wilkie Collins's Library

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Overview

Wilkie Collins (1824-1889) is a major British Victorian novelist, dramatist, short story writer, and journalist. He is best known today as the author of The Moonstone, which T.S. Eliot called the first and greatest English detective novel. He has been the subject of two recent biographies, and a revival of interest in his works is now under way. In particular, there is growing concern with his intellectual development, as witnessed by the 1999 publication of his collected letters. This reconstruction of his library offers a thorough analysis of the books he owned and his response to them and thus illuminates Collins as a reader and writer.

The book begins with a narrative discussion of the contents of Collins's library and its auction. This introductory essay sheds light on the types of books he owned, his use of those texts in his writings, and the dispersion of his collection in 1890. The bulk of the volume provides annotated entries for each item from his library. Entries include publication and bibliographic information, descriptions from sale catalogs, information about the author of the item, citations of the book or author from Collins's letters, and information on the present location or subsequent history of the item. An appendix catalogs paintings and artwork in Collins's possession at the time of his death.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Wilkie Collins (1824-1889) was a British Victorian novelist, dramatist, short story writer, and journalist. This reconstruction of his library is aimed at aiding understanding Collins as a reader through an analysis of the books he owned and his responses to them. Some 537 books are listed and comments on various books taken from Wilkie's letters and other writings are included. Also included is a discussion of the methodology of the reconstruction and listings of paintings and other artworks in Collin's possession at the time of his death. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Meet the Author

WILLIAM BAKER is Professor, Department of English, and Professor, University Libraries, at Northern Illinois University. His previous books include Recent Work in Critical Theory, 1989-1995: An Annotated Bibliography (1996), Twentieth-Century Bibliography and Textual Criticism: An Annotated Bibliography (2000), and A Companion to the Victorian Novel (2002), all available from Greenwood Press. He also coedited The Letters of Wilkie Collins (1999), and has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for 2002-2003 to edit another three volumes of Wilkie Collins's letters.

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Table of Contents

Preface ix
Acknowledgments xi
Abbreviations xiii
Introduction
Wilkie Collins and His Books 1
The 1890 Dispersion of Wilkie Collins's Library 5
The Composition of Wilkie Collins's Library
Presentation/Association Copies 15
Imprint Analysis 32
Place of Publication Analysis 36
Language Analysis 42
Subject Analysis 43
Conclusion 65
Reconstruction of Wilkie Collins's Library
The Present Catalogue: Rationale and Form 70
Reconstruction 73
Addenda 164
Appendix Paintings and Art Work in Collins's Possession at the Time of His Death 165
Index 177
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