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English Literature   >   Collins: The Moonstone


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Collins: The Moonstone

In this course, Dr Christopher Pittard (University of Portsmouth) explores Wilkie Collins' 1868 novel The Moonstone. The course begins with a general introduction to the novel and its status as one of the earliest detective novels in the English language, before moving on to consider the presentation of the diamond in the novel, which is both unfathomable and mesmerising to those that gaze into its depths. In the third module, we explore the themes of sexuality and desire in the novel – why is Miss Verinder so upset that someone has come into her room at night and 'stolen her jewel'? what does it mean for Rosanna Spearman and Limping Lucy to 'live like sisters' in London? – before moving on in the fourth module to consider the presentation of colonialism in the novel. In this module, we think in particular about the several historical events that may have influence Collins in his writing of the novel, as well as the presentation of the several 'colonial' characters in the novel, including Mrs Clack and Godfrey Ablewhite. In the fifth, we think about the narrative structure of the text – both in terms of its original publication in weekly instalments as well as the use of multiple narrators – before moving on in the sixth module to think about the multiple endings to the novel – from Betteredge's confidant sense of closure ("Ladies and gentlemen, I make my bow, and shut up the story"), to Mr Murthwaite's rather more tentative conclusion ("What will be the next adventures of the Moonstone? Who can tell?").


In this module, we provide a general introduction to the Moonstone and the series of lectures that follows, focusing in particular on the novel's status as one of the earliest detective novels in the English language, as well as the way in which it combines the seemingly distinct realms of empire and high politics with sexuality, desire and the unconscious mind.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Pittard, C. (2018, August 15). Collins: The Moonstone - Introduction [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Pittard, C. "Collins: The Moonstone – Introduction." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,


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Dr Christopher Pittard

Portsmouth University