Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Basil” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  636 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Collins was an English writer who wrote, novels short stories, and plays. Collins was greatly influenced by his friend Charles Dickens. Basil courted and married Julia.. Mannion and Julia have been having a secret affair when Basil catches them in bed. He attacks Mannion and leaves him for dead. A cliff side show down occurs with devastating consequences.
Paperback, 400 pages
Published November 7th 2001 by Phébus (first published 1852)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Basil, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Basil

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,424)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
I am now about to relate the story of an error, innocent in its beginning, guilty in its progress, fatal in its results …

All hail serendipity! I did not know of the existence of Wilkie Collins’s novel Basil until a few days ago, when I finished reading William Godwin’s Caleb Williams, and saw Collins’s novel cited as analogous to Godwin’s in respect of its subject matter. That prompted me to follow it up, and I’m very glad I did.

The only works by Wilkie Collins I had read before are his great no
All great relationships begin with a little old-fashioned stalking!

The title character, Basil, is son of a man who treasures the family name above anything else. Basil sees dark beauty Margaret on a bus (actually an omnibus, but to modernize it for the comprehension of others we're going to stick with 'bus' here), realizes he must have her, stalks her a bit, and finds out she's the daughter of a linen-draper. That's like the bottom of the barrel according to Basil's father. He would never approv
"I am now about to relate the story of an error, innocent in its beginning, guilty in its progress, fatal in its results . . ."

Opening my fourth year course in ‘Madness and Sexuality in Victorian Literature’, the first book I encountered was Wilkie Collins’ Basil. Though better known for his classic works The Moonstone and The Woman in White, his 1852 novel Basil was in fact the breeding ground for his development of what came to be known as ‘the sensation novel’. Contemporary reviews were appal
Mar 08, 2013 Pamela rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Just about anyone...Anyone who likes a good read!
Hello. My name is Pam and I'm a Collins-holic. Books like this are the reason. Just when you think you've got it sussed and can sit back and relax....BAM! Collins hits you with another twist. And the topics this book deals with are about as non-trivial as you can get: The class system, women's rights (or lack of them), domestic violence/abuse, bribery, blackmail, revenge, and of course, love at first sight (or as we call it today--stalking).
One of the best books that I have ever read. I couldn't stop reading it. Everytime you thought that the story was winding down, something CRAZY would happen. I am so in love with the author, Wilkie Collins. He is seriously my ideal author. Read this
Muy bien escrito, con una historia intrigante, pero con un protagonista con tan poca sangre, que me acaba poniendo de los nervios.
A fascinating creation with very few characters and, for the major part of the book, only a very small canvas. The narrative is well paced and varied, pulling together memoir, journal and letters. The narrative gains in menace as it progresses, sitting comfortably on the shelf with Frankenstein and other gothic novels - although the reader may not suspect this to be the case for some chapters.
I liked this book. It was a little creepy, and I am sure in its time, it was a "thriller" and sort of shocking. The evil character in it drove me nuts-- he has lots of control over everyone....heh heh heh....It is a lesson about jumping into something, like "love" or infatuation, too soon and suffering the consequences...
This is Collins' first published novel, and it shows. The first half was paced too slowly like the average Victorian author, but the unpredictability and suspense of the second half show more of what Collins' later and better written novels are like. Read The Moonstone or The Woman in White before trying this one.
Basil is the younger son of an old, aristocratic English family. His father's family pride is the paramount consideration in his life. Basil falls in love at first sight with the exotic looking daughter of a successful draper and this premise sets the scene for an engaging story.

Unlike Woman in White and The Moonstone, both of which employ different narrators throughout the book, Basil is written from the perspective of one man. The novel also differs from Collin's more famous works in that the
D. Eric
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Helen Kitson
I'm a big fan of Wilkie Collins. Basil is Collins' second published novel, and might be disappointing if you've only read The Woman in White and/or The Moonstone, although the seeds of the sensation novel are already in place in Basil: what Dorothy Goldman in her introduction calls 'domestic crime', madness, dark secrets and the odd femme fatale.

Basil is the younger son of a father proud of his lineage. When Basil falls in love with Margaret Sherwin, the daughter of a lowly linen draper, he know
Our narrator, the Basil of the title, is the son of a rich gentleman who is proud of his family's ancient background and despises anyone of a lower social standing. When Basil meets Margaret Sherwin on a London omnibus he falls in love at first sight and becomes determined to marry her. Unfortunately Margaret is the daughter of a linen-draper, the class of person Basil's father disapproves of most of all, so he decides not to tell his family about her just yet.

Mr Sherwin agrees to Basil marrying
I didn't finish this book. Wilkie Collins' novels The Law and the Lady, Armadale, and The Woman in White are some of my favorite books, but I couldn't bring myself to read anymore of Basil. Now I understand why Dickens didn't want to publish it in Household Words. I disliked the main character and his gloomy self absorbed thoughts, the writing was very formulaic as far as the sister was "good" and pale and blonde and white and the woman he falls in love with is darker with dark hair and holds a ...more
This is my least favorite Wilkie Collins book so far. It was slow to get started. In the end, it was confusing but that may have been because I lost the desire for the book. I just trudged through to get to the end. Since I have enjoyed Collins books so much in the past, I had high hopes for this books. The characters were unlikeable and the situations were far-fetched even for a Collins book. Do not let this be your only Wilkie Collins books. "The Woman in White" and "Moonstone" are classics fo ...more
Basil is a young man who falls in love with the wrong woman. He comes from a family with a famous pedigree traced back through the centuries. Elizabeth Sherwin is the daughter of a tradesman. Basil makes a strange arrangement with Elizabeth's father in order to marry her. They can be married if Basil will let her leave him at the church and have no marriage relations with her for 1 year. He agrees in the hopes that he can get the nerve to tell his father about the marriage to a woman who is far ...more
Not bad for an early effort. I was never bored. Decidedly lacks the sophistication of Collins' later work, though, and the convenient disposal of the villain is just silly. Worth reading mainly as perspective for how far the author's literary talent would come.
Richard Ward
Granted, not as good as The Moonstone or The Woman In White, his two defining masterpieces, but still a glorious example of the English Victorian sensational novel. Starts as a love story but morphs into a revenge story, not one that glorifies revenge but instead exposes the purposeless havoc that revenge reeks as it consumes a person's life. Ends beautifully as a story of reconciliation and the healing power of a family's love. Also a novel about classism, snobbery, and materialism, though thes ...more
My Inner Shelf
Si l’histoire de Basil est certes moins tarabiscotée que celles des précédents romans de Wilkie Collins déjà traités sur ce blog, l’intérêt n’est pas moindre. Plus court, plus simple dans son intrigue, mais tout aussi délectable. On y retrouve tous les ingrédients nécessaires à une lecture échevelée, passionnée, et haletante ! Personnages toujours très approfondis, description des mœurs d’une époque, des différentes classes sociales, et j’en passe. L’histoire est donc un peu moins tordue, mais c ...more
Wilkie Collins is rapidly becoming one of my favorite authors. I think his works are perfect for people who are interested in reading classical literature, but are afraid to jump right in, as they are very easy to read and follow from the first page. This book was suspenseful, and at times graphically violent. (There's even one scene that is so creepy it made my skin crawl.) Is this Wilkie Collins' best work? No, I don't believe so. But not every book can be an author's best book. It's still ver ...more
Mom Wangsgard
I love Wilkie Collins' books and this was a very good one. It is very hard to find. One copy only in the Salt Lake Library system, none in the county system, and Barnes and Noble had no copies. I learned this when a page was not printed in the middle of the book. But I found it online and read the page there then pressed on with the book.

It is a story of a young man who falls in love and is so blinded by love that the reality of the situtation can't be seen, and tragedy follows. It is beautifull
Found in laundry-room book exchange, read to contrast with relatively fluffy fantasy series I'm lately prone to reading.

I wish I could call my senior-year English professor to talk about this one, not because I think it was particularly good, but because I think I'm missing the context that would help me appreciate it more. (Also, because I suspect said prof of minor depravities that would help him explain the protagonist, but that's beside the point.)

If you read, do read to the end. All the ex
Intriguing story of revenge, duplicity, betrayal, family loyalty, and forgiveness. I listened to this as a free audiobook from
This was one of those books that sent my emotions reeling ~ the kind where I ran my fingers through my hair over and again in frustration, screaming, "NO!!!!" in my mind, pacing with anxiety and watching helplessly as the character is buffeted by winds he cannot control, albeit a result of a few misplaced efforts. Read it to the end~
Very intriguing and moved quick enough but not too much! :)
Poor, dim-witted Basil. This guy is so dumb you wonder how he managed to not drown when it rained. On the other hand, the fate of the villain? Yeah, now that is some graphic violence.
It was another Wilkie page turner. The ending was a bit disappointing - I don't like journal entries and letters to be the last text of a book. With Basil, you get both.
OK for a free read.
Kept me gripped throughout, even though some of the characters' actions and motivations seemed rather unlikely - Mannion's in particular.
Marts  (Thinker)
Infatuation, a secret marriage, and a man's hatred all contribute to Basil's misfortunes... Can he overcome them?...
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 47 48 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Aurora Floyd
  • Desperate Remedies
  • The Duke's Children
  • The Odd Women
  • East Lynne
  • Sylvia's Lovers
  • The House by the Churchyard
  • The Bride of Lammermoor
  • The Blood of the Vampire
  • The Rose and the Ring
A close friend of Charles Dickens' from their meeting in March 1851 until Dickens' death in June 1870, William "Wilkie" Collins was one of the best known, best loved, and, for a time, best paid of Victorian fiction writers. But after his death, his reputation declined as Dickens' bloomed. Now, Collins is being given more critical and popular attention than he has received for fifty years. Most of ...more
More about Wilkie Collins...
The Woman in White The Moonstone No Name Armadale The Haunted Hotel

Share This Book