The Black Robe (1881) is a novel by Wilkie Collins. Written toward the end of Collins’ career, The Black Robe shows brilliant flashes of the author’s trademark sense of mystery and psychological unease, which made him a household name around the world. Recognized as an important Victorian novelist and pioneer of detective fiction, Wilkie Collins was a writer with a gift for thoughtful entertainment, stories written for a popular audience that continue to resonate with scholars and readers today. While visiting northern France to attend the funeral of his aunt, Lewis Romayne, while playing cards, accuses a local gambler of cheating. Offended by the young Englishman, the man challenges Romayne to a duel, but sends his son in his place. Against the odds, Romayne—unaccustomed to fighting—manages to kill the boy, saving his own life. The screams of his younger brother, however, never leave Romayne, not as he returns to Yorkshire a changed man, not for the rest of his life. Back home, he attempts to regain a sense of normalcy, caring for Vange Abbey, the family estate, and making social trips to London. In the city, he meets and falls in love with the beautiful Stella Eyrecourt, whom he marries. Meanwhile, a vindictive priest looking to gain control of the Abbey hatches a plan to convert Romayne to Catholicism and trick him into signing the property over in his will. Wracked with guilt and trusting to a fault, Romayne walks right into his trap. Beyond its sensational plot, The Black Robe is a masterpiece of mystery and social critique for seasoned readers of Victorian fiction and newcomers alike. With a beautifully designed cover and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of Wilkie Collins’ The Black Robe is a classic work of English literature reimagined for modern readers.
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About the Author
Wilkie Collins (1824-1889) was an English novelist and playwright. Born in London, Collins was raised in England, Italy, and France by William Collins, a renowned landscape painter, and his wife Harriet Geddes. After working for a short time as a tea merchant, he published Antonina (1850), his literary debut. He quickly became known as a leading author of sensation novels, a popular genre now recognized as a forerunner to detective fiction. Encouraged on by the success of his early work, Collins made a name for himself on the London literary scene. He soon befriended Charles Dickens, forming a strong bond grounded in friendship and mentorship that would last several decades. His novels The Woman in White (1859) and The Moonstone (1868) are considered pioneering examples of mystery and detective fiction, and enabled Collins to become financially secure. Toward the end of the 1860s, at the height of his career, Collins began to suffer from numerous illnesses, including gout and opium addiction, which contributed to his decline as a writer. Beyond his literary work, Collins is seen as an early advocate for marriage reform, criticizing the institution and living a radically open romantic lifestyle.
Date of Birth:December 8, 1824
Date of Death:September 23, 1889
Place of Birth:London, England
Place of Death:London, England
Education:Studied law at Lincoln¿s Inn, London