'Other Sensations'

in Critical Survey
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  • 1 University of Salford

Written in 2005 – at which point research into sensation fiction was seen to have reached a ‘crossroads’ – the sentiments expressed by Andrew Maunder resonated widely with those working within the field. Thanks, in part, to the work of Maunder himself, we have made considerable progress in effecting this ‘shift’, not simply in our thinking, but also in the subject of thought. I have in mind here his six volume collection, Varieties of Women’s Sensation Fiction: 1855–1890 (2004) which, together with the scholarly editions published by Broadview Press, Valancourt Books, and, most recently, Victorian Secrets, has served to broaden substantially the field of study and alert us to the breadth and diversity of the genre as a whole. For many of us, myself included, Maunder’s collection represented the first opportunity to read the novels of such ‘forgotten’ sensationalists as Florence Marryat, Felicia Skene, Mary Cecil Hay, and Dora Russell. The fruit of such recovery work has been evident in a number of recent publications, such as Kimberley Harrison and Richard Fantina’s Victorian Sensations: Essays on a Scandalous Genre (2006), as well as a range of journal articles, most obviously those published by Women’s Writing, that move us beyond sensationalism’s most famous triptych of texts.


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