Wilkie Collins

William Wilkie Collins (8 January 1824 – 23 September 1889) was an English novelist and playwright known especially for ''The Woman in White'' (1859), a mystery novel and early sensation novel, and for ''The Moonstone'' (1868), which established many of the ground rules of the modern detective novel and is also perhaps the earliest clear example of the police procedural genre.

Born to the London painter William Collins and his wife, Harriet Geddes, he moved with them to Italy when he was twelve, living there and in France for two years, learning both Italian and French. He worked initially as a tea merchant. After ''Antonina'', his first novel, was published in 1850, Collins met Charles Dickens, who became his friend and mentor. Some of Collins' work appeared in Dickens' journals ''Household Words'' and ''All the Year Round''. They also collaborated on drama and fiction. Collins gained financial stability and an international following by the 1860s, but in the 1870s and 1880s, after becoming addicted to the opium he took for his gout, the quality of both his health and his writing declined.

Collins criticised the institution of marriage. He had relationships with two women: widow Caroline Graves – living with her for most of his life, treating her daughter as his – and the younger Martha Rudd, with whom he had three children. Provided by Wikipedia

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