Wie in september van vorig jaar “The invisible woman” (2013) van Ralph Fiennes op televisie heeft gezien, weet dat Charles Dickens en Wilkie Collins zeer bevriend waren met elkaar. 150 jaar geleden leidde dit tot een concreet gegeven: Charles Dickens stelde zijn magazine “All the year around” ter beschikking van zijn vriend om daarin diens briefroman “The moonstone” in afleveringen te laten verschijnen. “The moonstone” wordt over het algemeen beschouwd als de eerste Engelse detectiveroman, zij het dat – zoals dat bij Wilkie Collins gebruikelijk is – er ook wel exotisch-mysterieuze elementen in verweven zijn.

Therefore the book is regarded by some not only as the precursor of the modern suspense novel, but also as an exponent of the mystery novel. Dorothy L.Sayers praised The Moonstone as “probably the very finest detective story ever written”. In “The Victorian Age in Literature,” G.K.Chesterton calls it “probably the best detective tale in the world.”
T.S.Eliot called it “the first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels in a genre invented by Collins and not by Poe”, although Edgar Allan Poe’s short story mysteries The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841), The Mystery of Marie Rogêt (1842) and The Purloined Letter (1845) were published before The Moonstone. Also, a number of critics suggest that Charles Felix’s (pseudonym for Charles Warren Adams) lesser known Notting Hill Mystery (1862–63) preceded The Moonstone by a number of years and first used techniques that came to define the genre.
The plot also shows some parallels with The Hermitage (1839), an earlier murder mystery story by English novelist Sarah Burney: for example, the return of a childhood companion, the sexual symbolism of defloration implied in the crime, and almost catatonic reactions of the heroine to it. But The Moonstone introduces a number of the elements that became classic attributes of the twentieth-century detective story in novel form, as opposed to Poe’s short story form. These include:
An English country house robbery
An “inside job”
Red herrings
A celebrated, skilled, but not professional investigator
A bungling local constabulary
Detective enquiries
A large number of false suspects
The “least likely suspect”
A reconstruction of the crime
A final twist in the plot
The Moonstone represents Collins’s only complete reprisal of the popular “multi-narration” method that he had previously utilised to great effect in The Woman in White.
One of the features that made The Moonstone such a success was the sensationalist depiction of opium addiction. Collins was writing from personal experience, unbeknownst to his readers. In his later years, Collins grew severely addicted to laudanum and, as a result, suffered from paranoid delusions, the most notable being his conviction that he was constantly accompanied by a doppelganger whom he dubbed “Ghost Wilkie”.
It was Collins’s last great success, coming at the end of an extraordinarily productive period which saw four successive novels become best-sellers. After The Moonstone, he wrote novels containing more overt social commentary which did not achieve the same audience. A heavily fictionalised account of Collins’ life while writing The Moonstone forms much of the plot of Dan Simmons’ 2009 novel Drood (with of course a reference to Dickens’ own attempt at a detective novel: Edwin Drood). [Wikipedia]
Daarna verschenen:
1869 Les fêtes galantes (Paul Verlaine)
Het jongerenverbond (Henrik Ibsen)
1870 An eye for an eye (Anthony Trollope)
1872 A Dog of Flanders (Louise De La Ramée alias Ouida)
1873 Keizer en Galileeër (Henrik Ibsen)
Middlemarch (George Eliot)
1874 La tentation de Saint Antoine (Gustave Flaubert)
1875 The way we live now (Anthony Trollope)
1876 De zachtmoedige (Fjodor Dostojevski)
1877 Anna Karenina (Lev Tolstoj)
Hérodias (Gustave Flaubert)
Steunpilaren van de maatschappij (Henrik Ibsen)
Les trois contes (Gustave Flaubert)
1878 The suicide club (Robert Louis Stevenson)
1879 Een poppenhuis (Henrik Ibsen)
Im fernen Westen (eerste Winnetou-boek van Karl May)
1880 Ben-Hur (Lewis Wallace)
Bouvard et Pécuchet (Gustave Flaubert)
Le roman expérimental (Emile Zola)
Nana (Emile Zola)
Washington square (Henry James)
1882 Een vijand van het volk (Henrik Ibsen)
Spoken (Henrik Ibsen)
1884 A rebours (Huysmans)
De wilde eend (Henrik Ibsen)
Sapho (Alphonse Daudet)
(Schetsen van) Jan Blokker (Flor Heuvelmans)
1885 Essai de psychologie contemporaine (Bourzet)
Germinal (Emile Zola)
King Solomon’s Mines (Rider Haggard)
1886 Rosmersholm (Henrik Ibsen)
The strange case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde (Robert Louis Stevenson)
1887 She (Rider Haggard)
Thuis (Anton Tsjechov)
1888 De vrouw van de zee (Henrik Ibsen)
Le culte du moi (Barrès)
1889 Eline Vere (Louis Couperus)
1890 Hedda Gabler (Henrik Ibsen)
1891 Lettres de femmes (Proust)
The picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde)
1892 Bouwmeester Solness (Henrik Ibsen)
Lady Windermere’s fan (Oscar Wilde)
1893 A woman of no importance (Oscar Wilde)
Het recht van de sterkste (Cyriel Buysse)
La paix du ménage (Guy de Maupassant)
Les origines de la France contemporaine (Hyppolite Taine)
Madame Sans-Gêne (Victorien Sardou)
Salomé (Oscar Wilde)
Widowers’ houses (George Bernard Shaw)
Winnetou II (“Old Shatterhand”, Karl May)
1894 Arms and the man (George Bernard Shaw)
Kleine Eyolf (Henrik Ibsen)
1895 An ideal husband (Oscar Wilde)
Guy Domville (Henry James)
Les chansons de Bilitis (Pierre Louÿs)
The importance of being Earnest (Oscar Wilde)
The island of Dr.Moreau (Herbert George Wells)
1896 John Gabriel Borkmann (Henrik Ibsen)
Récits de la belle humeur (A.Sylvestre)
The invisible man (Herbert George Wells)
Ubu-Roi (Alfred Jarry, 1873-1907)
War of the worlds (Herbert George Wells)
1897 Als wij doden ontwaken (Henrik Ibsen)
Cyrano de Bergerac (Edmond Rostand)
Les nourritures terrestres (André Gide)
The man of destiny (George Bernard Shaw)
1898 La femme et le pantin (Pierre Louÿs)
Wrakken (Emmanuel De Bom – de eerste Vlaamse stadsroman, namelijk over Antwerpen)
1899 De dame met het hondje (Anton Tsjechov)
Hartje (Anton Tsjechov)
Lenteleven (Stijn Streuvels)
1900 Candida (George Bernard Shaw)
Journal d’une femme de chambre (Octave Mirbeau)
Reigen (Arthur Schnitzler)
School-idyllen (Top Naeff)
Die Traumdeutung (Sigmund Freud)
Van de koele meren des doods (Frederik van Eeden)
1901 Caesar and Cleopatra (George Bernard Shaw)
Drie Zusters (Anton Tsjechov)
Greutmoeder Renske (Cyriel Buysse)
Grueten Broos (Cyriel Buysse)
Het verhaal van Peter Konijn (Beatrix Potter)
Les aventures du roi Pausole (Pierre Louÿs)
Op het kleine gehucht (Cyriel Buysse)
1902 Langs de wegen (Stijn Streuvels)
Mrs.Craddock (Somerset Maugham)
Mrs.Warren’s profession (George Bernard Shaw)
1903 Het gezin Van Paemel (Cyriel Buysse)
La paix chez soi (Courteline)
Man and Superman (George Bernard Shaw)
1904 De steunpilaren der ‘Ope van vrede’ (Cyriel Buysse)
Peter Pan (James M.Barrie)
The sea wolf (Jack London)
1905 Het land van Rubens (Conrad Busken Huet)
Professor Unrat (Heinrich Mann)
The philanderer (George Bernard Shaw)
You never can tell (George Bernard Shaw)
1906 De wandelende jood (August Vermeylen)
Les propos (Alain)
Niels Holgersson’s wonderbare reis (Selma Lagerlöf)
Poil de carotte (Renard)
1907 De zoon van Dik Trom (J.C.Kieviet)
Lente (Cyriel Buysse)
Neue Gedichte (Rainer Maria Rilke)
1908 L’oiseau bleu (Maurice Maeterlinck)
The wind in the willows (Kenneth Grahame)
1909 Het ivoren aapje (Herman Teirlinck – wordt als de eerste Vlaamse stadsroman, weliswaar over Brussel, beschouwd, maar kijk eens in 1898!)
Jongensdagen (Theo Thijssen)
La porte étroite (André Gide)
1910 Gitanjali (Rabindranath Tagore)
Jan zonder Vrees (Constant de Kinder)
La vagabonde (Colette)
1911 Die Hose (Carl Sternheim, 1878-1942)
Ethan Frome (Edith Wharton)
Ot en Sien (J.Ligthart & H.Scheepstra)
Psychologie der vrouwen (prof.G.Heymans)
The Lair of the White Worm (Bram Stoker)
1912 De nachtelijke aanranding (Cyriel Buysse)
Maria Chapdelaine (Louis Hémon)

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