Skip Navigation

Home / Scholars Day

Scholars Day: April 7, 2010

Wilkie Collins's Cliffhanger and Its Modern Adaptations in Media

Victorian novelist Wilkie Collins was among the first writers to perfect the art of the cliffhanger. In 1868 his novel The Moonstone was released in separate parts in the magazine Household Words, allowing audiences to follow his suspenseful thriller with anticipatory enthusiasm as literacy and affinity for sensation novels spread among the middle class. In the age of Dickens’s social problem novels, Collins’ ability to provide entertainment value to the masses was a breath of fresh air. And while his social critique is still relevant to an industrial society, it lacks the condemning tone of his contemporaries’ works, using humor and a twisting plot line to carry the story forward. Since then, the book has been called the “first and greatest of English detective novels” and set the standard for later detective fiction, as well as the adaptation of the serial narrative in 20th century film and television.

Presenter: Bethany Young (Undergraduate Student)
Topic: English
Location: 33 Hartwell
Time: 10:45 am (Session II)