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'Ouida,' the pseudonym of Louise Ramé (1839-1908), was one of the most productive, widely-circulated and adapted of Victorian popular novelists, with a readership that ranged from Vernon Lee, Oscar Wilde and Ruskin to the nameless newspaper readers and subscribers to lending libraries. Examining the range and variety of Ouida’s literary output, which includes journalism as well as fiction, reveals her to be both a literary seismometer, sensitive to the enormous shifts in taste and publication practices of the second half of the nineteenth century, and a fierce protector of her independent vision. This collection offers a radically new view of Ouida, helping us thereby to rethink our perceptions of popular women writers in general, theatrical adaptation of their fiction, and their engagements with imperialism, nationalism and cosmopolitanism. The volume's usefulness to scholars is enhanced by new bibliographies of Ouida's fiction and journalism as well as of British stage adaptations of her work.
"This companion to Victorian popular fiction includes more than 300 cross-referenced entries on works written for the British mass market. Entries introduce readers to long-overlooked authors who were widely read in their time, with suggestions for further reading and emerging resources for the study of popular fiction"--
Scholarly understanding of the Victorian literary field has changed dramatically in the past thirty years, due in large part to the extensive recovery of sensation fiction and a corresponding recognition of that genre’s importance in the literary debates, trends, and wider cultural practices of the period. Yet until very recently, work on sensationalism has focused on a narrow range of authors and works, with Wilkie Collins, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, and Ellen Wood retaining the preponderance of critical attention. This collection examines the fiction of ten women sensation writers who were immensely popular in the Victorian period but remain critically neglected today – writers such as Annie Edwardes, M.C. Houstoun, Annie French, Dora Russell and others. The Victorian sensation novel was categorically associated with women by Victorian reviewers and this collection extends our current understanding of this sub-genre by showing that female sensation writers were often sophisticated in their textual strategies, employing a range of metafictional techniques and narrative innovations. By moving beyond the novelists who have come to represent the genre, this book presents a fuller, more nuanced, understanding of the spectrum of writing that constructed the concept of ‘sensationalism’ for Victorian readers and critics. The book was originally published as a special issue of Women’s Writing.
Popular fiction in mid-Victorian Britain was regarded as both feminine and diseased. Critical articles of the time on fiction and on the body and disease offer convincing evidence that reading was metaphorically allied with eating, contagion and sex. Anxious critics traced the infection of the imperial, healthy body of masculine elite culture by 'diseased' popular fiction, especially novels by women. This book discusses works by three novelists - M. E. Braddon, Rhoda Broughton, and 'Ouida' - within this historical context. In each case, the comparison of an early, 'sensation' novel against a later work shows how generic categorization worked in the context of social concerns to contain anxiety and limit interpretive possibilities. Within the texts themselves, references to contemporary critical and medical literatures resist or exploit mid-Victorian concepts of health, nationality, class and the body.
"This first full-length study of the works of best-selling Victorian novelist Ouida (pen name for Marie Louise Rame) examines the evolution of social, political, and gender issues in Ouida's fiction from her "high society" romances of the 1860s to her satirical exposes of contemporary society in the 1880s and 1890s." "This study places Ouida in the context of nineteenth-century debates over gender by exploring the contradictions between the vehement critiques of marriage in her fiction and the equally vehement anti-feminist sentiments of her journalism. Examining Ouida's revision of gender stereotypes such as the domestic angel, the adventuress, and the dandy, Schroeder and Holt establish Ouida as a significant predecessor of the 1890s New Woman."--BOOK JACKET.

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