Beyond Sensation

Mary Elizabeth Braddon in Context

Edited by Marlene Tromp, Pamela K. Gilbert, and Aeron Haynie

Subjects: Women's Studies
Paperback : 9780791444207, 302 pages, December 1999
Hardcover : 9780791444191, 302 pages, December 1999

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Table of contents

List of Figures and Tables

James R. Kincaid


Marlene Tromp, Pamela K. Gilbert, and Aeron Haynie

I. Lady Audley's Secret

1. Enclosure Acts: Framing Women's Bodies in Braddon's Lady Audley's Secret
Elizabeth Langland

2. Braddon's Commentaries on the Trials and Legal Secrets of Audley Court
Gail Turley Houston

3. Rebellious Sepoys and Bigamous Wives: The Indian Mutiny and Marriage Law Reform in Lady Audley's Secret
Lillian Nayder

4. Marketing Sensation: Lady Audley's Secret and Consumer Culture
Katherine Montwieler

5. "An Idle Handle That Was Never Turned, and a Lazy Rope So Rotten": The Decay of the Country Estate in Lady Audley's Secret
Aeron Haynie

II. Aurora Floyd

6. The Espaliered Girl: Pruning the Docile Body in Aurora Floyd
Jeni Curtis

7. The Dangerous Woman: M. E. Braddon's Sensational (En)gendering of Domestic Law
Marlene Tromp

III. Braddon in the Literary Marketplace

8. Mary Elizabeth Braddon in Australia: Queen of the Colonies
Toni Johnson-Woods

9. "Our Author": Braddon in the Provincial Weeklies
Jennifer Carnell and Graham Law

10. Misalliance: M. E. Braddon's Writing for the Stage
Heidi J. Holder

IV. Genre and Culture

11. Braddon and Victorian Realism: Joshua Haggard's Daughter
Pamela K. Gilbert

12. Fiction Becomes Her: Representations of Female Character in Mary Braddon's The Doctor's Wife
Tabitha Sparks

13. "Go and Marry Your Doctor" : Fetishism and "Redundance" at the Fin de Siècle and the Vampires of ''Good Lady Ducayne"
Lauren M. E. Goodlad

14. Spectral Politics: M. E. Braddon and the Spirits of Social Reform
Eve M. Lynch

15. Electra-fying the Female Sleuth: Detecting the Father in Eleanor's Victory and Thou Art the Man
Heidi H. Johnson

Lyn Pykett

Select Bibliography



This is the first book to address the entire career of this key Victorian author.


Mary Elizabeth Braddon, journal editor and bestselling author of more than eighty novels during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, was a key figure in the Victorian literary scene. This volume brings together new essays from a variety of perspectives that illuminate both the richness of Braddon's oeuvre and the variety of critical approaches to it.

Best known as the author of Lady Audley's Secret and Aurora Floyd, Braddon also wrote penny dreadfuls, realist novels, plays, short stories, reviews, and articles. The contributors move beyond her two most famous works and reflect a range of current issues and approaches, including gender, genre, imperialism, colonial reception, commodity culture, and publishing history.

Contributors include Jennifer Carnell, Jeni Curtis, Pamela K. Gilbert, Lauren Goodlad, Aeron Haynie, Heidi Holder, Gail Turley Houston, Heidi H. Johnson, Toni Johnson-Woods, James R. Kincaid, Elizabeth Langland, Eve Lynch, Graham Law, Katherine Montweiler, Lillian Nayder, Lyn Pykett, and Tabitha Sparks, and Marlene Tromp.

Marlene Tromp is Assistant Professor of English at Denison College. Pamela K. Gilbert is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Florida, and the author of Disease, Desire and the Body in Victorian Women's Popular Novels. Aeron Haynie is Assistant Professor and Chair of the English Department at Western Montana College.


"By allowing us to share in their discoveries, these scholars and their energetic essays introduce us to the dynamic world of Braddon, the author of over eighty other works, and the intersections of such issues as literacy, sensationalism, popularity, feminism, market economy, and history very much alive in her work." — English Literature in Transition

"The greatest strength of this book is its important work in filling an unfortunate gap in existing scholarship on Victorian sensation fiction. The essays examine Braddon's work in a variety of useful contexts, including the contemporary reception of her work, her contribution to Victorian serial and periodical work, and her relation to social, historical, and economic trends of the period. There is no other book quite like this one in providing in-depth critical coverage of Braddon alone." — Tamar Heller, author of Dead Secrets: Wilkie Collins and the Female Gothic

"The writers cover a wide range of topics that will appeal to any reader interested in Victorian culture and in the history of the novel and the short story. Braddon is an extremely important figure for many reasons, as this volume dramatically shows: she succeeded as a writer, an editor, a playwright, a self-promoter, a bestselling author, and a member of the literary establishment." — Teresa Mangum, author of Married, Middlebrow, and Militant: Sarah Grand and the New Woman Novel