By Saverio Tomaiuolo
This booklet is dedicated to Mary Elizabeth Braddon's complicated dating with the 3 major Victorian literary genres: the Gothic, the Detective and the Realist novel. utilizing Braddon's bestselling sensation fiction girl Audley's mystery as a paradigmatic novel and as a 'haunting' textual presence throughout her literary profession, this examine presents a fertile serious examining of a variety of Braddon's novels and brief stories.
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Additional resources for In Lady Audley's Shadow: Mary Elizabeth Braddon and Victorian Literary Genres (Edinburgh Critical Studies in Victorian Literature)
Bloom, The Anxiety of Influence, p. 30. 15. Although Aurora Floyd (1863) seems on the surface very different from the ‘bigamy novel’ that preceded it (Aurora is not a plotting femme fatale but only a spoiled girl, and there is no reference to madness in the story), even in this case Lady Audley’s Secret can be adopted as a filter for Braddon’s opinions, for instance, on Victorian marriage. In Natalie Schroeder and Ronald A. Schroeder’s view, ‘Aurora’s extraordinary measure of deserting her husband reverses the conventional pattern of spousal abandonment that Braddon established in Lady Audley’s Secret.
10. For the definition of ‘Female Gothic’ see Moers, Literary Women. 11. ‘Audley Court used to be a convent, and in fact the first human presence in this desolate place overgrown with moss, reminiscent of the ruined mansions dear to the authors of Gothic tales, is that of the quiet nuns who have walked there hand in hand. These women, surrounded by ancient walls, are the first female icon in the text, the first of a series of versions of femininity that is offered, and their presence suggests the possibility that in spite of apparent differences, Lady Audley’s Secret may still be struggling with the legacy of the Gothic tradition’ (Briganti, ‘Gothic Maidens and Sensation Women’, pp.
In her book Unstable Bodies, Jill L. Matus asserts that ‘[while] it is remarkable how closely the confinement of Lady Audley parallels accounts of the occasion on which Lady Rosina Lytton was committed, there is no evidence from Braddon’s correspondence with Bulwer Lytton that she based her representation of incarceration on circulated accounts of Lady Rosina’s confinement’ (p. 201). However, it seems highly improbable that Braddon would ever have ‘dared’ to refer explicitly to Lytton’s familiar matters in her letters as ‘devoted disciple’.