“Recreations for leisure hours”: Popular Entertainment in Collins’s Hide and Seek

Flora de Giovanni


Collins’s Hide and Seek (1854), is a valuable contribution to the Victorian debate on popular entertainment, punctuated as it is by references to the circus, the music hall and the painting exhibition. Leisure appears to be a crucial issue for the author: himself a great entertainer and the father-to-be of the sensation novel, he aimed to gain access to the booming reading market of the 1850s-60s without giving up his literary ambitions. The detailed analysis of amusement he carries out in Hide and Seek is a significant step in the accomplishment of his objective, paving the way to the rise of sensation fiction, which, he seems to imply, was the recreation, both amusing and instructing, the Victorian cross-class audience was in need of.


Reading audience; commercialization of leisure; popular entertainment; sensation novel; Victorian England; Wilkie Collins

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