Mr. Medhurst and the Princess by Wilkie Collins
('Royal Love')

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This early work by Wilkie Collins was originally published in 1884. Born in Marylebone, London in 1824, Collins' family enrolled him at the Maida Hill Academy in 1835, but then took him to France and Italy with them between 1836 and 1838. Returning to England, Collins attended Cole's boarding school, and completed his education in 1841, after which he was apprenticed to the tea merchants Antrobus & Co. in the Strand. In 1846, Collins became a law student at Lincoln's Inn, and was called to the bar in 1851, although he never practiced. It was in 1848, a year after the death of his father, that he published his first book, The Memoirs of the Life of William Collins, Esq., R.A., to good reviews. The 1860s saw Collins' creative high-point, and it was during this decade that he achieved fame and critical acclaim, with his four major novels, The Woman in White (1860), No Name (1862), Armadale (1866) and The Moonstone (1868). The Moonstone, meanwhile is seen by many as the first true detective novel - T. S. Eliot called it "the first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective a genre invented by Collins and not by Poe." Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900's and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions.

About Wilkie Collins

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William Wilkie Collins was born in London in 1824, the eldest son of a successful painter, William Collins. He studied law and was admitted to the bar but never practiced his nominal profession, devoting his time to writing instead. His first published book was a biography of his father, his second a florid historical romance. The first hint of his later talents came with "Basil" (1852), a vivid tale of seduction, treachery, and revenge. In 1851 Collins had met Charles Dickens, who would become his close friend and mentor. Collins was soon writing unsigned articles and stories for Dickens's magazine, "Household Words," and his novels were serialized in its pages. Collins brought out the boyish, adventurous side of Dickens's character; the two novelists traveled to Italy, Switzerland, and France together, and their travels produced such lighthearted collaborations as "The Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices." They also shared a passion for the theater, and Collins's melodramas, notably "The Frozen Deep," were presented by Dickens's private company, with Dickens and Collins in leading roles. Collins's first mystery novel was "Hide and Seek" (1853). His first popular success was The Woman in White (1860), followed by "No Name" (1862), "Armadale" (1866), and "The Moonstone" (1868), whose Sergeant Cuff became a prototype of the detective hero in English fiction. Collins's concentration on the seamier side of life did not endear him to the critics of his day, but he was among the most popular of Victorian novelists. His meticulously plotted, often violent novels are now recognized as the direct ancestors of the modern mystery novel and thriller. Collins's private life was an opensecret among his friends. He had two mistresses, one of whom bore him three children. His later years were marred by a long and painful eye disease. His novels, increasingly didactic, declined greatly in quality, but he continued to write by dictating to a secretary until 1886. He died in 1889.
Published December 14, 2012 by Gregg Press. 44 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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