Saturday, August 9, 2008

invincible determination

Charles Dickens to W. Wilkie Collins

No. 26, Wellington Street, Strand, London, W. C.,
Saturday, Twentieth September, 1862.

My dear Wilkie,----I have gone through the Second Volume [No Name] at a sitting, and I find it wonderfully fine. It goes on with an ever-rising power and force in it that fills me with admiration. It is as far before and beyond The Woman in White as that was beyond the wretched common level of fiction-writing. There are some touches in the Captain which no one but a born (and cultivated) writer could get near--could draw within hail of. And the originality of Mrs. Wragge, without compromise of her probability, involves a really great achievement. But they are all admirable; Mr. Noel Vanstone and the housekeeper, both in their way as meritorious as the rest; Magdalen wrought out with truth, energy, sentiment, and passion, of the very first water.

I cannot tell you with what a strange dash of pride as well as pleasure I read the great results of your hard work. Because, as you know, I was certain from the Basil days that you were the Writer who would come ahead of all the Field--being the only one who combined invention and power, both humourous and pathetic, with that invincible determination to work, and that profound conviction that nothing of worth is to be done without work, of which triflers and feigners have no conception.

I send the books back, by South Eastern Railway to-day. . . .

-from the Letters of Charles Dickens to Wilkie Collins edited by Laurence Hutton (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1891) p. 112-13.

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