Collins reputation was
such that he was the subject of several dedications or grateful mentions in book
earliest reference that has been located is The King's Mail by Henry Holl
published in three volumes in 1863 by Sampson Low.
The last paragraph of Preface includes: "A word of thanks to my
friend Wilkie Collins for introducing me to my publishers."
A presentation copy of The King's Mall was present in Collins's
library (Baker). Henry
Holl (1811-1884) was an actor, playwright and novelist.
Possibly he met Collins through Edmund Yates, son of Frederick and
Elizabeth Yates who managed the Adelphi Theatre which staged Holl's melodrama Grace
Huntley in the 1836-7 season. Holl
wrote several other plays including Louise: or the White Scarf (1825); Wapping
Old Stairs (1825); The Forest Keeper (1860); The Love Bird
(1884) and The Widow of Toledo (1884).
His other novels were More Secrets than One (1864); The Old
House in Crosby Square (1864); White Favour (1866); The Golden
Bait (1871); and A History of the War, 1870-1 (1871).
much more prolific author, Thomas Wilkinson Speight (1830-1915) mentions Collins
in his introduction to Under Lock and Key: A Story.
The novel was originally published in three volumes by Tinsley Brothers
in 1869 and possibly because of Tinsley's recent disagreement with Collins over
the second edition of The Moonstone (1868) Speight is keen to insert the
justice to himself the author thinks it requisite to state that the entire plan
of this story was sketched out, and several of the chapters written, before the
first lines of Mr. Wilkie Collins's "Moonstone" had been given to the
public. He has further denied
himself the pleasure of reading "The Moonstone" till after the
completion of his own story, so as to preclude any possible charge of having
derived the outline of his plot from the work of another writer.
The story does, in fact,
contain several echoes of The Moonstone - Indians, a valuable diamond,
drugs, and an 'impossible' theft from a locked room - but the plot is entirely
different and an excellent story in its own right.
There is a modern facsimile reprint in the Arno Press Collection,
Literature of Mystery and Detection (1976).
Speight appears to have returned to an Eastern theme with The Doom of
Siva in 1898 and to jewels with The Celestial Ruby (1904) and The
Fate of Hara Diamond in 1907.
In 1870, James
Payn dedicated Gwendoline's Harvest to Collins: "This book is
dedicated to WILKIE COLLINS, ESQ., by his friend, The Author."
The dedication also appears in the Tauchnitz edition of the same year but
was subsequently dropped in later English editions in one volume.
Payn was a long-standing friend both of Collins and Dickens, a
prolific novelist, journalist and editor of Chamber's Journal and The
Cornhill. In Some Literary
Recollections (1884), Payn recalls
"I had reason to be grateful to 'Lost Sir Massingberd'. It attracted the attention of some of my masters in the art of fiction, and among them that of my friend Wilkie Collins. He has probably long forgotten the gracious words which he bestowed upon it, but I remember them as though they were spoken yesterday instead of twenty years ago. Accustomed as was the author of 'The Moonstone' to strike at the root of the mystery, he told me that he could not guess what had become of my missing baronet."
Roosevelt (1853-1898) (full name Blanche Roosevelt Tucker Macchetta) was an
American singer and writer. In 1887
she wrote Verdi:
Wilkie Collins. My Dear Friend.
When I left
Blanche Roosevelt wrote
studies of H. W. Longfellow, Victorien Sardou, and Gustave Dore as well as Stage
Struck: or She Would be an Opera Singer.
She also wrote at least three novels including The Copper Queen
which was present in Collins's library. She
had given up the stage after marrying the Marquis d'Alligri.
She became the mistress of Guy de Maupassant, coming to
Gloom written by J. Gibb Holmes (Swan
Sonnenschein, London 1889) also carries a dedication to Collins on p. [iii]:
"To Wilkie Collins,Esq., This Novel is gratefully dedicated by an admirer
of his genius and a recipient of his kindness."
There is no evidence of what the kindness may have been although we can
conjecture it might have been the advice of the successful writer to the novice.
There is no mention of Holmes in any of Collins's letters but there was a
copy of the novel in Collins's library. J.
G. Holmes (with no apparent connection to Oliver Wendell Holmes) appears to have
written two other books, Pearl Sutton's Love in 1888 and In Sinful
Paths: a Story of the Euston Road in 1889.
of greater interest is Eugene Sue's A Romance of the West Indies
the memory of WILKIE COLLINS, author and artist, who first directed my attention
to this work and suggested its translation into English, I dedicate this book in
kindly remembrance. The
Collins had always been an
eager enthusiast of French literature and along with the works of Le Sage, Dumas
and Balzac had read the sensational novels of Sue in his youth.
Marian Longfellow was the niece of the poet,
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, whom Collins met during his reading tour of
1899 we come to Whose Deed? By Hadley Welford (
acknowledgements to Collins took the form of Women in Red, Black and in one case
Mauve. The latter was a play by
Watts Phillips. The Woman in
Mauve: A Sensation Drama in Three Acts was first performed at the Prince of
Wales Theatre, Liverpool, in Decmber1864 and subsequently at the Haymarket
addition to book dedications, there were various, more ephemeral tributes to
Collins. The earliest appear to be
musical dedications in the wave of the huge popularity of The Woman in White
from the early1860s. S. M. Ellis in Wilkie
Collins, Le Fanu and Others (1931) described how The
Woman in White was so popular that "every possible commodity was
labelled "Woman in White". There
were "Woman in White" cloaks and bonnets, "Woman in White"
perfumes and all manner of toilet requisites."
With words by J. E. Carpenter and music by C. W. Glover, The Woman in White was dedicated to Collins with these words:
"The morning was fresh & the sea bright & clear,
All the world & his wife were upon the Chain Pier,
I followed of course _ when _ imagine my fright,
There close to my side stood the Lady in White.
Dedicated to Wilkie Collins Esqe"
The sheet music was illustrated by R. J. Hammerton and published by Lith Metzler & Co. of Great Marlborough Street, London at the price of 2/6.
The Woman in White
Waltz doesn't carry any words of dedication but is clearly influenced by
the novel. The colour illustration
shows the meeting by the gravestone in
In May 1861, about the
time of the publication of the first one volume edition of The Woman in White,
Collins replied to a correspondent:
accept my thanks for your kind letter and for the little Poem enclosed, which I
have read with great pleasure, and which appears to me to possess the merit - by
no means a common one - of being very well adapted for music, both in sentiment
and versification. I assure you I feel very sincerely the compliment which you
have paid to my book - and I need therefore hardly add that I willingly accede
to your proposal to mention on the title page of "Laura's Song" that
it was suggested by the perusal of my story."
The Fosco Galop
was similarly dedicated to Collins by G. Richardson and published by Cramer Wood
& Co. and Lamborn Cock & Co at 4/-.
This particular music cover has portraits of the actor, George Vining, as
himself and as Fosco. It is of later
issue, coinciding with the production of the dramatic version of The Woman in
White at the Olympic Theatre from 9 October 1871.
Vining co-directed the play with Collins but was replaced because of
illness by Wybert Reeve as Fosco from 11 January 1872.
Earlier, however, the
overture to The Frozen Deep by Francesco Berger was dedicated to Charles
Dickens with no mention of Collins. Similarly,
The No Thoroughfare Galop by Charles Coote 'as performed nightly at the
Adelphi Theatre' (1867-1868) is 'By
Kind Permission of Charles Dickens Esqre.'
Collins does not appear to have been the dedicatee of likely authors such as Mary Braddon, Charles Reade or Edmund Yates. It is very likely, however, that the above instances miss some important dedications so it would be of interest to hear from anyone who knows of other examples.
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