WEFOUNDLady Audley's Secret (Oxford World's Classics)


Working with intense thought and devious intent, Lady Audley works through the possible contingencies and manages to list herself as having died, having first found a woman who resembles her in age and appearance. Once that woman dies, she posts an ad in "The Times" of the death of one Helen Talboys, as she was once known. She leaves her son with her father, a drunken old man who only wants to know from where his next bottle will come. She makes the mistake of holding on to a couple of keepsakes that make her the target of extortion through her maid and eventually her maid's husband. In order to keep her secret, she must give them money time and again.

Browse all BookRags Study Guides. Copyrights Lady Audley's Secret from BookRags . (c)2018 BookRags, Inc. All rights reserved. Follow Us on Facebook About BookRags | Customer Service | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy      Copyright 2018 by BookRags, Inc. FOLLOW BOOKRAGS:

Together with Wilkie Collins, Mary Elizabeth Braddon dominated the market for what came to be known as "the novel of sensation" during the 1860s. Designed to unsettle, the genre caused moral alarm among critics. Not only did it revel in the dubious subject matter of murder, bigamy, illegitimacy and madness, it seemed to pathologise the very act of reading itself, since its narrative method - which fore shadows that of modern detective fiction - turned readers into addicts, titillating them with a series of withheld secrets and startling revelations.

Rereading Braddon's Lady Audley's Secret gave me an odd twinge of sympathy with the kill-joys of the Victorian age - not so much with their moral outrage, but with their recognition that these novels do make you read them in a peculiar way. I'd had the same experience with Collins's The Woman in White a few years ago. In both cases, I was almost affronted to find that I remembered almost none of the detail of their complex plots. It's as if these narratives compel you to devour them at such lightning speed that they only go into your short-term memory - which means they can be just as exciting the second time.

Braddon published Lady Audley's Secret when she was only 27, astonishing considering the virtuoso technique it displays. Even more amazing was the discovery of her own life story. As one of her many contemporary critics put it, "it has, we presume, been [her] lot to see a phase of life open to few ladies". This woman - whose novels outraged and fascinated Victorian readers, whose hard-bitten professionalism earned her a fortune from her prolific writing, and who ended up a respectable grande dame of popular fiction - led a life as transgressive as those of many sensation heroines.

Lady Audley’s Secret (1862) was one of the most widely read novels in the Victorian period. The novel exemplifies “sensation fiction” in featuring a beautiful criminal heroine, an amateur detective, blackmail, arson, violence, and plenty of suspenseful action. To its contemporary readers, it also offered the thrill of uncovering blackmail and criminal violence within the homes of the upper class. The novel makes trenchant critiques of Victorian gender roles and social stereotypes, and it creates significant sympathy for the heroine, despite her criminal acts, as she suffers from the injustices of the “marriage market” and rebels against them.

This Broadview edition includes a critical introduction and a broad selection of primary source material, including reproductions of the twenty-two woodcut illustrations from the London Journal serialization of the novel, extracts from two Victorian dramatizations of the work, satirical commentaries, and contemporary reviews.

“This impressive, scholarly new edition brings together a wealth of supplementary material, much of which is almost unobtainable elsewhere. Several fascinating appendices include contemporary parodies of the novel, extracts from stage versions, contemporary criticism and well-chosen extracts from Braddon’s other work. Natalie Houston’s scholarly introduction provides useful insights into Braddon’s life and work. This edition will be invaluable to anyone studying or teaching the novel, or just reading it for enjoyment.” — Chris Willis, Birkbeck College

Working with intense thought and devious intent, Lady Audley works through the possible contingencies and manages to list herself as having died, having first found a woman who resembles her in age and appearance. Once that woman dies, she posts an ad in "The Times" of the death of one Helen Talboys, as she was once known. She leaves her son with her father, a drunken old man who only wants to know from where his next bottle will come. She makes the mistake of holding on to a couple of keepsakes that make her the target of extortion through her maid and eventually her maid's husband. In order to keep her secret, she must give them money time and again.

Browse all BookRags Study Guides. Copyrights Lady Audley's Secret from BookRags . (c)2018 BookRags, Inc. All rights reserved. Follow Us on Facebook About BookRags | Customer Service | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy      Copyright 2018 by BookRags, Inc. FOLLOW BOOKRAGS:

Together with Wilkie Collins, Mary Elizabeth Braddon dominated the market for what came to be known as "the novel of sensation" during the 1860s. Designed to unsettle, the genre caused moral alarm among critics. Not only did it revel in the dubious subject matter of murder, bigamy, illegitimacy and madness, it seemed to pathologise the very act of reading itself, since its narrative method - which fore shadows that of modern detective fiction - turned readers into addicts, titillating them with a series of withheld secrets and startling revelations.

Rereading Braddon's Lady Audley's Secret gave me an odd twinge of sympathy with the kill-joys of the Victorian age - not so much with their moral outrage, but with their recognition that these novels do make you read them in a peculiar way. I'd had the same experience with Collins's The Woman in White a few years ago. In both cases, I was almost affronted to find that I remembered almost none of the detail of their complex plots. It's as if these narratives compel you to devour them at such lightning speed that they only go into your short-term memory - which means they can be just as exciting the second time.

Braddon published Lady Audley's Secret when she was only 27, astonishing considering the virtuoso technique it displays. Even more amazing was the discovery of her own life story. As one of her many contemporary critics put it, "it has, we presume, been [her] lot to see a phase of life open to few ladies". This woman - whose novels outraged and fascinated Victorian readers, whose hard-bitten professionalism earned her a fortune from her prolific writing, and who ended up a respectable grande dame of popular fiction - led a life as transgressive as those of many sensation heroines.

Working with intense thought and devious intent, Lady Audley works through the possible contingencies and manages to list herself as having died, having first found a woman who resembles her in age and appearance. Once that woman dies, she posts an ad in "The Times" of the death of one Helen Talboys, as she was once known. She leaves her son with her father, a drunken old man who only wants to know from where his next bottle will come. She makes the mistake of holding on to a couple of keepsakes that make her the target of extortion through her maid and eventually her maid's husband. In order to keep her secret, she must give them money time and again.

Browse all BookRags Study Guides. Copyrights Lady Audley's Secret from BookRags . (c)2018 BookRags, Inc. All rights reserved. Follow Us on Facebook About BookRags | Customer Service | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy      Copyright 2018 by BookRags, Inc. FOLLOW BOOKRAGS:


51PdWPdharL