Wilkie Collins and the Sensation Novel

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Wilkie Collins and the Sensation Novel

<p>When Wilkie Collins' novel “The Woman in White” was first published in serial form in 1859 it not only transformed him into one of the most famous of Victorian writers, but launched a whole new

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When Wilkie Collins' novel “The Woman in White” was first published in serial form in 1859 it not only transformed him into one of the most famous of Victorian writers, but launched a whole new genre of sensation fiction, drawing on aspects from melodrama, Gothic fiction, and the Newgate fiction which adapted crime stories for the entertainment of the newly literate working class and middle class consumers. His own life was sensational enough: sickly, and addicted to opium, he managed to maintain two mistresses and their children. His female characters are probably the best written by any Victorian male.


SUGGESTED READING

  • The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins
  • The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins
  • Armadale, Wilkie Collins
  • No Name, Wilkie Collins
  • Lady Audley’s Secret, Mary Braddon
  • East Lynne, Ellen Wood
  • Griffith Gaunt, Charles Reade
  • Desperate Remedies, Thomas Hardy
  • Fingersmith, Sarah Waters


COURSE OUTLINE

  • Sensation novels
  • The Woman in White
  • Sources of the Sensation Novel: Gothic fiction, Melodrama, Newgate fiction
  • Evolution of the Sensation Novel
  • Dickens' influence
  • Other sensation novels
  • Critical responses, then and now
  • Legacy: Novels, films, television
  • Wilkie Collins: Ill health, Charles Dickens, Love and family, Novels , Favourite themes, Significance


PLANNED LEARNING OUTCOMES
By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Describe Wilkie Collins' Life story, influences, fiction, themes, legacy.
  2. Outline the evolution of the sensation novel.
  3. Identify the influences and sources of the sensation novel.
  4. Describe the cultural context to sensation novels.
  5. Account for their critical and popular responses.
  6. Evaluate some of the key sensation novels.
  7. Describe the influence of the sensation novel of contemporary genres.
  8. Evaluate some screen adaptations of Collins' work and other sensation novels.
  9. Want to read more sensation novels and other works by Wilkie Collins.