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Five Fascinating Facts about Wilkie Collins

Fun facts about the Victorian novelist

1. A novel written by Victorian author Wilkie Collins when he was 20, titled Iolani and set in Tahiti, was eventually published in 1999. Written in 1844 but not published until 110 years after his death, Iolani: Or, Tahiti as It Was was Collins’s first ever attempt at writing a novel. Collins knew next to nothing about Tahiti, but that didn’t stop him from having a go at writing about it.

2. Wilkie Collins’s 1860 novel The Woman in White was so popular it spawned stage-plays, perfumes, hats, cloaks, and even a waltz. The Woman in White was the novel that made Collins a famous name and helped to establish the vogue for sensation fiction, a genre that would enjoy its heyday in the 1860s. Collins would be able to demand substantial sums for his subsequent novels as he became hot literary property: he received £5,000 for his novel Armadale in 1866, a huge sum for the time. Read the rest of this entry

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Five Fascinating Facts about The Pilgrim’s Progress

Fun facts about John Bunyan’s classic book

1. John Bunyan’s most famous book has a claim to being the first English novel. Others have argued that The Pilgrim’s Progress (1678), Bunyan’s masterpiece, is less a ‘novel’ and more a religious allegory – which it certainly is. Bunyan the book while imprisoned in Bedford gaol (for preaching without a licence and refusing to attend the Anglican church service). Read the rest of this entry

Five Fascinating Facts about Vampire Fiction

Fun facts about vampires in literature

1. Vampires began to appear in literature in a big way in the early eighteenth century, as a result of a real-life ‘vampire craze’. In the 1720s and 1730s, vampires became a big part of European culture, and even included the digging up of a couple of suspected vampires, Petar Blagojevich and Arnold Paole, in Serbia. Following this, there was a 1748 poem The Vampire by Heinrich August Ossenfelder, as well as the narrative poem Lenore (1773) by Gottfried August Bürger. Read the rest of this entry