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In Basil's secret and unconsummated marriage to Margaret Sherwin, the linen-draper's sexually precocious daughter, and through the consequent shocks and horrors of betrayal, insanity, and death, Collins reveals the bustling, commercial London of the first half of the nineteenth century wreaking its vengeance on a still-powerful aristocratic world. But although Basil himself does not recognize them, the story forces other conflicts on the reader's attention - between men's and women's sexuality.
Contemporary reviewers were shocked by Collins's explicit treatment of adultery, and even today the passionate and lurid atmosphere he creates has power to disturb the modern reader.
This edition includes: introduction; textual note; bibliography chronology; explanatory notes.
Edited with an introduction and notes by Dorothy Goldman.