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Wilkie Collins on Music and Musicians

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2020


On 21 November 1853, Charles Dickens wrote to his wife from Florence, complaining about his friend and travelling-companion, fellow novelist Wilkie Collins:

On music too, he is very learned, and sometimes almost drives me into a frenzy by humming and whistling whole overtures -with not one movement correctly remembered from the beginning to the end. I was obliged to ask him, the day before yesterday, to leave off whistling the overture to William Tell. ‘For by Heaven,’ said I, ‘there's something the matter with your ear — it must be the cotton which plays the Devil with the commonest tune.’

Research Article
Copyright © Royal Musical Association, 1999

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