The Novels of Wilkie Collins

Ref: C3528582

Wilkie Collins is probably best known as the writer of The Woman in White and The Moonstone. However he wrote many other wonderful novels and this course will study of range of these lesser known novels. We will consider these novels in their wider social context, look at the contemporary anxieties and issues that Collins incorporates in to these stories and consider his place as one of the leading sensation writers of the period.

Course aim

This course will explore a range of novels by the prolific nineteenth century writer Wilkie Collins.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No prior knowledge of the writer or his works is needed.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of this novelist within the sub-genre of sensation fiction.
  • Demonstrate and understanding of this writer and his work.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the themes and anxieties which Collins weaves in to his narratives.
  • Be conversant with formal aspects of fiction such as narrative structure, point of view, omniscient and unreliable narrator.
  • Formulate a response to the studied novels, other novels by this writer and wider sensation fiction.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know?

  • Students will need to have a copy of the appropriate text available to them on the appropriate week. The text can be in the form of hard copy or on an electronic device. Pens and paper for note taking would also be useful.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • The following novels will be studied: The Dead Secret; No Name; Armadale; Man and Wife; The Law and the Lady; Legacy of Cain. Obviously it is helpful if students can read them in advance of the relevant class.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full course outline

The Novels of Wilkie Collins Course Outline


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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