Thursday, 22 June 2017

A Life of Sensation Read-a-Long: EPOCH ONE

And it begins! Welcome to the first check-in of the read-a-long hosted by Rambo Reads. We're reading Wilkie Collins: A Life of Sensation, a biography of the weirdly-shaped-headed author of The Woman in White and The Moonstone.
Here are the salient points of Epoch One:
  • I do not much care about the life of Wilkie Collins' father and I admit to skimming much of it. I want to know about Wilkie, damn it!

  • I did pick up that Mr Collins wanted his son to make something of himself professionally. Not objectively unreasonable, although it does make you raise an eyebrow when you realise that he was a painter. A successful one, mind, but still.

  • His head had a strange bump, probably due to misapplication of the obstetric forceps at birth. 

  • Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens eventually became bestest buds after Wilkie filled in a minor role for Dickens in one of his self-promoting, Dickens-wank-fest plays.

  • In later life, he told Dickens about losing his virginity to some older Italian woman when he was able thirteen. Whilst it's acknowledged that this may not be strictly true, NOBODY IS OUTRIGHT DISMISSING THIS AS IMPLAUSIBLE.
  • He studied at the Bar, with Gray's Inn. I'm a Middle Temple girl myself, but there's no accounting for taste. *prances around in her robes*

  • OH! My absolute favourite part was where he assisted in the secret wedding of a 31 year old friend and his 16 year old love interest. But, you know, it's fine, because it had been going since for four years. Since she was twelve, presumably. SEE!? FINE.
So yep, one Epoch down. I was super excited when I opened my second hand copy of this book and realised that I'd unknowingly bought a signed copy!

I'm rereading The Moonstone at the moment, alongside the autobiography. I loved it when we read-a-longed it (see my thoughts here and here), but I'm really, really loving it now. Mr Betteredge and Druscilla Clack are my favourite people in the whole world.

See you next week for Epochs 2 and 3!


  1. Kudos on getting a signed copy!

    I skimmed SO MUCH around basically anything that wasn't Wilkie. I do not care about his dad's painting or religious beliefs (except where Wilkie was like "ugh, whatevs dad.")

    "self-promoting, Dickens-wank-fest plays" Ahahaha. Sorry, this just needs acknowledged

    Also thank you for being as skeeved out about the SUPER SKEEVY wedding between the child and full grown man that everyone was cool with. Historic times, you could be so gross.

    1. I know, right!? It was completely accidental and I only noticed it yesterday. You'd think the charity shop would have put a sticker on the cover or something.

      EXACTLY! I was worried that I was the only one skipping. I'm really interesting in Wilkie, obviously, but not so much the intricate details of his Dad's religious doctrine, especially as Wilkie doesn't seem all that fussed about it himself.

      SO SKEEVY. Didn't they go abroad after she turned 16 a few months later, because then he couldn't be prosecuted for abducting her? A) Why didn't they just wait a few months, and B) is then... okay to abduct a 16 year old!?

    2. I forgot about the "You can't abduct a 16 year old!" rule. What is going on?? haha


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