»Having read Lycett we understand more fully the complex relationship between the writers, and how they played off each other. Dickens, for example, hailed the moment in The Woman in White in which the hero first sees the spectral lady on night-time Hampstead Heath as ‘the second best scene in literature’. He didn’t say what the best was but, odds are, it was his recycling of Collins in the opening, graveyard, scene of Great Expectations. He also trumped Wilkie’s mad woman in white with his own mad woman in bridal white, Miss Havisham.«
A terrific narrator: John Sutherland reviews the new biography Wilkie Collins: A Life of Sensation by Andrew Lycett. Read more at The Spectator.