COLLINS, William Wilkie (1824-1889). No Name. London: Sampson Low, 1862. 3 volumes, 8° (197 x 123mm). (Occasional marginal soiling.) Uncut in original scarlet cloth, spines gilt (inner hinges split). Volume I with tipped-in autograph letter, one page, 8°, signed 'Wilkie Collins,' dated 90 Gloucester Place, Portman Square W., London, 16 April 1883, to Alfred T. Waite, thanking him for his kindness in sending the '"Herald" -- and in thus reminding me of a very pleasant interview with your contributor and his friend.' Not in The Letters of Wilkie Collins, ed. W. Baker and W.M. Clarke, vol. II 1866-1889, 1999. Provenance: John E. Sandbach (ownership stamps on free endpapers) -- purchased from James F. Drake, New York, 1 April 1939, $35.
FIRST EDITION IN BOOK FORM. Wilkie Collins began to write this novel in August of 1861, his imagination kindled by the plight of Lizzie, daughter of his mistress, Caroline Graves. Despite working mornings and afternoons in his study, he found the novel 'a grinding task at which he would often stick for hours without an idea.' Caroline and Dickens would typically come in to see his 'diminutive figure staring in high-shouldered desperation out of the window.' When Dickens suggested he enliven the minor characters with whimsicality and humour, Collins did so, so brilliantly that circulation of All the Year Round promptly rose after serialisation began on 15 March, 1862. As he strove to complete the novel, Collins had to fight against gout. His physician, Henry Beard, was unable to cure him but took page after page of the novel down at his dictation. In N.P. Davis's view the 'comic exuberance' of the characters 'probably outdid anything Dickens could encompass at this time of his life' (The Life of Wilkie Collins, Urbana: 1956, p. 233). Parrish p. 45.
W. COLLINS. No Name: A Drama in Four Acts. London: published by the author, 1870. 8° (178 x 109mm). Printed on rectos only. (Title thumb-soiled, page edges slightly browned.) Original blue grained cloth, title blocked in gilt on upper cover (slightly soiled), morocco-backed brown cloth case. Provenance: 'author's copy' (inscription in Collins's hand on title; his scoring out of 4 lines on p. 8). Exhibited: Grolier Club (1950s exhibition label loosely inserted). THE AUTHOR'S COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION IN PLAY FORM, dramatized by Bayle Bernard. Parrish p. 49. (4)