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Wilkie Collins
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Basil: a story of modern life

3.7  ·  Rating details ·  1,380 Ratings  ·  75 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.
Nook, 0 pages
Published by London : Richard Bentley, New Burlington Street (first published 1852)
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Issicratea
Dec 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, 1800-1900
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
...more
Karla
After a couple dull & disappointing tales by Wilkie, this melodramatic & racy little romp restored my faith in the old boy.

Even for a second novel, it displays a lot of the traits one expects from Collins in his later, more mature works. There's social commentary aplenty, a shady female, and sexual shenanigans.

The title character's a nice guy who makes all the wrong decisions involving all the wrong people. One could argue he's a bit of a dullard. And you'd be right. But he's a likable,
...more
El
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
...more
Laura
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.

Basil (1852) is the second novel written by British author Wilkie Collins, after Antonina.

3* The Woman in White
4* The Moonstone
4* Who Killed Zebedee?
4* The Dead Alive
4* Mrs. Zant and the Ghost
3* A Fair Penitent
4* The Frozen Deep
4* The Haunted Hotel
4* The Law and the Lady
4* No Name
3* My Lady's Money
3* Mad Monkton And Other Stories
4* Armadale
3* The Traveller's Story of a Terribly Strange Bed
3* Stories by English Authors; England
3* Mr. Lismore And The Wi
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Peter
Aug 08, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Basil is Wilkie Collins's second novel. In Basil we see the emergence of the style and techniques that would lead to the future success and strength of Collins's sensation novels. While Basil offers only staggered glimpses of a major Victorian novelist, it is still a novel well-worth reading. In fact, if you enjoy Collins as a writer Basil is a must read in order to see the genesis of his later work.

Tropes such as class conflict, characters' mysterious pasts, marital infidelity, ominous storms a
...more
Virginia
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Di tutti i piaceri che un uomo trova nella compagnia della donna che ama, quali possono uguagliare il piacere di leggere dallo stesso libro insieme a lei? Questa è, tra tutte, la sola occasione in cui puoi respirare con il suo respiro per ore, seguire ogni minimo palpito del suo petto, ogni più lieve gradazione dei suoi sospiri, come se il suo cuore battesse, la sua vita ardesse dentro la tua.
Katie
Oct 19, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"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
...more
Amy
Oct 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 book...now.
Kailey (BooksforMKs)
I do adore Wilkie Collins' writing, but this sad Gothic tale was seriously depressing from start to finish. In this story, the main character Basil sees a young woman in the street, and instantly falls in love with her. He meets her briefly, and learns that her name is Margaret. Later he approaches her father, and the two are married within a couple of weeks with the proviso that Margaret remain living with her family until her 18th birthday. So Basil is married in name only and can only visit M ...more
Penelope
After reading the amazing novel No name by Wilkie Collins, I decided that I wanted to read more books by him. I decided to read Basil because the synopsis was pretty attractive.

Basil only has 440 pages. At first I thought that I was going to have to spend at least two weeks to read this book, but surprisingly I read it in a week. I don’t like to compare books because when you read a book by an author that you’ve loved, you expect to do the same with the rest of his books. Basil was a really
...more
Miranda
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If Basil would've just chilled the fuck out and not demanded a secret marriage with the first girl he saw who made his dick hard, he wouldn't have had any problems (nor a story, I guess). Basil is so naive and entitled throughout the entire story that it was hard for me to have any sympathy for him. Some weird incestual undertones in his love for his sister also were uncomfortable, in addition to the way other female characters were characterized. The only redeeming thing about this book is Ralp ...more
Pamela
Mar 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  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).
India Stoker
Dec 07, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Muy bien escrito, con una historia intrigante, pero con un protagonista con tan poca sangre, que me acaba poniendo de los nervios.
SiSApis
Nov 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys 19th Century English lit and doesn't mind a bit of strained credulity
Shelves: fiction, classics
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dana Loo
Sep 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, classici
Un Collins insolito in questo romanzo che è uno dei primi che il grande scrittore vittoriano produsse. Narrato in prima persona e in forma di diario con una scrittura peraltro eccellente, è un romanzo di formazione che racconta le amare vicissitudini di un giovane uomo, forse fin troppo ingenuo e istintivo per il suo stesso bene, che s'innamora a prima vista di una bella ragazza di estrazione sociale inferiore alla sua. Il racconto, forse un po' lento all'inizio, diventa sempre più avvincente ma ...more
Chris
Jul 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Julie
Apr 25, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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...
Doreen Petersen
Dec 19, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
It was just okay which is surprising since I like Wilkie Collins books.
Camelia
Secondogenito di una ricca e importante famiglia inglese, Basil, dopo gli studi universitari, si dedica alla sua vera passione, la scrittura, e conduce una vita serena e appagante accanto all'orgoglioso padre e all'amorevole sorella Clara.
Un bel giorno, però, su un omnibus, lo sguardo del giovane protagonista incrocia quello di un'affascinante ragazza, e scocca il colpo di fulmine. Purtroppo per lui, Basil non immagina che Margaret Sherwin, questo il nome della fanciulla, è figlia di un commerci
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Franky
They say that sometimes fools fall in love. Well, this is certainly true, especially taking Wilkie Colllins’ second novel Basil into account.

I had a really hard time rating this one, being that I’m a Wilkie Collins fan. I wavered between 3 and 4 stars, but ultimately stuck with three because I think, while the writing itself is spot-on superb (as always is with Wilkie Collins), the entire plot structure and story itself was somewhat lacking and perplexing. And, much of this is due in part to ou
...more
Johanna Lilas
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Basil est un jeune homme issu de l'aristocratie anglaise. Comme tout gentleman de la bonne société du 19 ème siècle, il doit faire un bon mariage avec une femme de son rang. Suite à un coup de foudre et sur un "coup de tête", il se marie secrètement avec une roturière fille de marchand, dénommée Margaret. En réalité, Basil est manipulé par la jeune femme et son entourage.

Le narrateur de l'histoire c'est Basil qui nous livre son expérience malheureuse par écrit. Le roman se termine par quelques
...more
Herman Gigglethorpe
Basil isn't as good as Wilkie Collins's 1860s novels. It also has annoying lead characters, especially Basil himself. However, Collins has a gift for melodrama that makes simple acts such as tearing a page out of a book exciting.

Basil is a spoony young gentleman of vaguely non-titled aristocratic background who meets a young lady named Margaret Sherwin on an "omnibus" one day. He's instantly infatuated with her, and makes an agreement with her father to have a secret marriage. The marriage can't
...more
Annette
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
What distresses me as a reader, Collins writes stories that are so close to reality, that for me, the dealings of family to family, father to son, touches a angst or feeling of uneasy. Basil is a good read since in a novel, the torturous behaviors in a family, dishonesty, cruelty of emotions and body, a behavior set by upper class status is reason to read Collins. He is not afraid of writing on a certain subject, though the novel takes one through several characters the decision to get to know t ...more
Penelope
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wilkie-collins
I rated it four stars but not a favourite book. If I hadn't read other Wilkie Collins I think I might not have got passed page 70. Very slow start. Basil annoyed me from the start. A very stupid young man . Difficult to have sympathy for him really.He could be forgiven for having love at first sight but oh....the ridiculous way he pursued his love was plain daft!! He was like a bull to the slaughter!! Good read eventually though.
Alex
Dec 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a very, very interesting read! Not on the scale of his longer works but very intriguing psychological study! Interesting to see what Collins cannot actually say in the text so reader has to fill in blanks!
Kimberly
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic, thriller, romance
Poor Basil! A chance encounter changes his whole life, and not for the better. If only he stopped to think about what he was doing, or got some advice from family or friends, he might have avoided his sufferings. But, alas, he was young and wanted what he wanted. Wilkie Collins did an awesome job in describing what this young man went through. Amazing that this was only his second novel. :) I definitely recommend this author to one and all. :)
Luana
Sep 11, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3,5

"Mi accingo a raccontare la storia di un errore, innocente all'inizio, colpevole nella sua evoluzione, fatale nei risultati, [...]"

In altre parole...Wilkie Collins e il tema dell'adulterio.

Wilkie Collins è ormai diventato, almeno per quello mi riguarda, una garanzia di qualità. Anche se siamo abbastanza lontani dalla grandezza di "The Woman in White", "Basil" non delude: è sempre un piacere leggere le trame messe in piedi dal buon Wilkie e, anche in questo caso, bastano poche pagine per esser
...more
Helen
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
...more
Zoe Mize
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was certainly fascinating to read as an example of sexuality in Victorian literature, but on its own it read like a soap opera (which is to be expected from a sensationalist novel, but still).
D. Eric
Dec 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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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
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“The mountain-path of Action is no longer a path for me; my future hope pauses with my present happiness in the shadowed valley of Repose.” 2 likes
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