Moonstone

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Submitted By somen
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THE MOONSTONE by Wilkie Collins

THE AUTHOR
William Wilkie Collins (1824-1889) was born in London, the son of a successful landscape painter and member of the Royal Academy, who was also very strict with both his religion and his money. While his son inherited much of his father’s parsimony, he rebelled against the strict morality of his upbringing, and against Victorian morality in general. After the death of his father, he scandalized his family and friends by setting up housekeeping with Caroline Graves, a young woman who already had a daughter, and presumably a husband.
Even when the opportunity presented itself later in life, he refused to marry her, encouraged her to marry another man, and then moved in with her again when that marriage failed. In the meantime, he kept a mistress on the side, Martha Rudd, by whom he had three children. At his death, he divided his estate equally between his two mistresses and two families. Through much of his life, he was plagued by bad health. He was small and somewhat deformed, and rheumatism contracted in his thirties caused him to take increasingly-large doses of laudanum. He himself admitted that he was a bit of a hypochondriac, and eventually became a recluse much like Frederick Fairlie in The
Woman in White.
To please his parents, he tried the tea business for five years and later studied law, but had no love for either pursuit. He was drawn to the arts, as was his brother Charles, who for a time worked among the Pre-Raphaelites (and later married Charles Dickens’ daughter), and determined to be a writer. His big break came when he met Charles Dickens in 1851. The two were soon fast friends, collaborating on short stories for the magazine edited by Dickens. Collins’ first mystery novel was Basil (1852), followed by two plays, The Lighthouse (1855) and After Dark
(1856), which Dickens both…...

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