Armadale is a novel by Wilkie Collins, first published in 1864–66. It is the third of his four ‘great novels’ of the 1860s: after The Woman in White (1859–60) and No Name (1862), and before The Moonstone (1868).
In the German spa town of Wildbad, the ‘Scotchman’ Mr. Neal is asked to transcribe the deathbed confession of Allan Armadale. His story concerns his murder of the man he had disinherited (also called Allan Armadale), who had subsequently married the woman he was betrothed to under false pretensions. Under Allan’s instructions, the confession is left to be opened by his son once he comes of age.
In the same year that it finished its serial publication, Collins wrote a dramatic version of Armadale in order to protect his rights to later stage the novel. BBC Radio 4 broadcast a three-part adaptation by Robin Brooks of the novel between Sunday 7 and Sunday 21 June 2009.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
William Wilkie Collins (8 January 1824 – 23 September 1889) was an English novelist, playwright, and short story writer. His best-known works are The Woman in White (1859), No Name (1862), Armadale (1866) and The Moonstone (1868). The last is considered the first modern English detective novel. Born to the family of painter William Collins in London, he lived with them in Italy and France as a child, learning French and Italian. He worked as a clerk for a tea merchant. After his first novel, Antonina, appeared in 1850, he met Charles Dickens, who became a close friend, mentor and collaborator. Some of Collins’s works were first published in Dickens’s journals All the Year Round and Household Words and they collaborated on drama and fiction. Collins published his best known work in the 1860s, achieving financial stability and an international reputation. However, he began suffering from gout. From taking opium for the pain, he developed an addiction. In the 1870s and 1880s the quality of his writing declined along with his health. Collins was critical of the institution of marriage and never married; he split his time between Caroline Graves, except for a two-year separation, and his common-law wife Martha Rudd, with whom he had three children.