Newsletter – Summer 1994

Jun 12, 2013 | News


Members who have not done so already should send their 1994 subscriptions to Louise Marchant at the above address.


On Saturday July 2nd 1994 (2.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m.) the Friends of Kensal Green Cemetary (FOKGC) are once again holding an open day.  Everyone is welcome to the various events planned by FOKGC and Louise Marchant has compiled the enclosed In Memory of Wilkie Collins, mainly from contemporary Newspaper reports.  The WCS will this year have a small stand to promote interest in both Collins and the Society.  We shall have a variety of material on display and distribute copies of In Memory as well as other items.


Rambles Around Marylebone seems to have been very well received  by everyone.  Now that we have had in all the bills for design and production the total costings have come out rather less than anticipated.  This means that additional copies (all signed by the author) will be available at £3.50 to members and £4 to non-members.


We shall attempt to put the ramble to the test on Sunday August 7th.  Anyone interested in trying the route should meet at 2.15 p.m. outside ‘The Volunteer’ pub which is at the very northern end of Baker Street at the Junction with Park Road.  This is opposite the gate to Regents Park and close to the starting point.  We shall depart at 2.30 p.m. prompt.


Richard Smith has continued his fascinating research into Margaret Carpenter and her portrait of old Mrs Collins.  He gives details on the enclosed sheet to which I have added a photcopy from Horace Pym’s privately printed book of 1891, A Tour Round My Bookshelves.  This also contains several other references to Wilkie’s works.


Wilkie Collins thrived on coincidences.  Faith Clarke, his great grand-daughter, has just told us of a minor one, relating to The Woman in White in Moscow.  Her husband, William Clarke, Collins’s biographer spent a week in the State Archives in Moscow earlier this year, with a young Russian interpreter Anya, for his new book The Lost Fortune of the Tsars (due out in July).  He casually asked her why her English was so good.  “I had one grandfather from Liverpool and my other grandfather, who died last year, published English classics”.  What kind, he asked.  “His last was The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins.  Have you heard of him?”  Faith now has a copy of the latest Russian edition.  It is one of half a million published in hardback in 1992.


Yorkshire journalist, Harry Mead, has been carrying out research into the probable location of The Moonstone.  His article will be published in autumn issue of The Yorkshire Journal and will also discuss the local legends associated with the Indian Maharajah who lived in the county at the time that Collins is known to have visited the area.  We hope to have copies to send out to members later in the year.


The Alan Sutton Pocket Classics Series now has available fifteen Collins titles, either published or being reprinted.  The two latest editions, The Black Robe and Poor Miss Finch have not been issued since the turn of the century and now have the benefit of a new introduction by William Clarke, author of The Secret Life of Wilkie Collins.

In the World’s Classics series, OUP have now brought out Mad Monkton and Other Stories which contains a mixture of tales from After DarkThe Queen of Hearts and Little Novels; and a combined volume at £8.99 which includes The Woman in WhiteThe Moonstone, and The Law and the Lady.  Catherine Peters is also editing Poor Miss Finch.

A new edition of The Evil Genius has just appeared in Canada, from The Broadview Press (P.O. Box 1243, Peterborough, Ontario, K9J 7H5).


Kirsten Mück of Stuttgart writes that Collins is undergoing a major revival in Germany as well as in England.   Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag have published a new translation of Die Frau in Weiss and there have been Television series of The Woman in WhiteThe Moonstone and Armadale.


Those visiting Golders Green in London, N.W.11 can now drop in to The No Name Cafe – but expect an American Diner with full modern sound effects rather than traditional English food!

Collins received two recent mentions in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.  The February 1994 issue published my brief letter about Wilkie’s gout and its treatment with opium and morphia, in response to A.M.B. Golding’s paper ‘Two Hundred Years of Drug Abuse’ (May 1993).  In the April 1994 issue, a full page obituary of R. N. Thompson, former Executive Director, described how “He looked perfectly in tune with the wood-panelled surroundings of his London gentleman’s club and his ‘image’ … was echoed in his reading habits (the Spectator, Wilkie Collins) and in his fondness for traditional English puddings.”

Wilkie, of course had a rather cynical opinion of doctors such as the following quote from The New Magdalen: “He is at the head of his profession…..- and he knows no more about it than I do.  The great physician has just gone away with two guineas in his pocket.  One guinea for advising me to keep her quiet; another guinea for telling me to trust to time…..”

Sam Bull (Flat 1, Cranfield Court, 21-22 Homer Street, London, W1H 1HE), also of FOKGC, is interested if anyone knows a real surname for actress sisters Rose and Carlotta Leclercq.  Carlotta appeared as Charles Fechter’s leading lady in No Thoroughfare and Black and White.

The Housman Society have asked me to give advance notice that they are planning a number of events in 1996 to celebrate the centenary of A. E. Housman’s ever popular A Shropshire Lad.  Further details from Jim Page, 80 New Road, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, B60 2LA (0527 874136).

The George Eliot Fellowship is holding a ‘Sunday in the Park’ on 17th July at University College, Inner Circle, Regents Park.  A talk by Professor Rosemary Ashton at 2.30 p.m. will follow a buffet lunch at 1.00 p.m.  Bookings and further details from 19 Fitzjohn’s Avenue, London, NW3 5JY.