Men of the Time

Men of the Time - with a shorter section at the end 'Women of the Time - was a collection of biographies of living people. It is not clear who wrote this early edition. But in 1862 it was taken over by Edward Walford and re-titled Men and Women of the Time. This 926 page edition was published by David Bogue, a publisher and bookseller of 86 Fleet Street, but the author is unknown. It is the earliest published biography of Wilkie Collins and contains numerous errors.

David Bogue was a publisher and bookseller of 86 Fleet Street. It is not clear whether he also wrote or edited this massive work of 926 pages. A later edition of 1862 was edited by Edward Walford (1823-1897). He wrote to Wilkie in 1861 asking him to correct his entry. The reply was acerbic

"I regret that it is quite impossible for me to correct a production which is so essentially incorrigible as the biographical notice that accompanies your letter. I will mention the main errors, as a matter of personal courtesy towards yourself and will leave it to you to decide whether the Memoir ought in common justice to be rewritten or not." (To Walford 17 April 1861 The Public Face I 230)

Wilkie pointed out the main errors which were corrected for the 1862 edition.


COLLINS, WILKIE, Biographer and Novelist, the elder son of the late William Collins, R.A., the well-known painter of tableaux de genre, was born in London in 1825. His mother was a daughter of the late Mr. Geddes the painter, and is sister to Mrs. Carpenter, the female portrait-painter of our time. Wilkie Collins was educated at a private school, and is chiefly known to the public by an admirable biography of his father, and a novel entitled "Antonina." He is also the author of a novel called "Basil," and a volume of prose sketches bearing the title of "Rambles beyond Railways." He is a member of the Guild of Literature and Art, and took a prominent part in the amateur performances which were gotten up for its benefit. Mr. Wilkie Collins is a good judge and critic of art. His last work does not support the reputation which attended the publication of "Antonina," still less that which he achieved in the excellent memoir of his father, which proceeded from his pen in 1848. He is, however, not dependent on literature for support, and can consequently afford, if it so likes him, to make hazardous experiments on the public taste.

From Men of the Time. Biographical sketches of eminent living characters Published by David Bogue, Fleet Street, London 1856, p162.

Collins responded to this faulty biography in a letter to the new editor in 1861.

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