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  • Mark Mossman (a1)

Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone is a novel constructed through the repeated representation of the abnormal body. Reading The Moonstone in critical terms has traditionally required a primary engagement with form. The work has been defined as a foundational narrative in the genre of crime and detection and at the same time read as a narrative located within the context of the immensely popular group of sensation novels that dominate the Victorian literary marketplace through the middle and the second half of the nineteenth century. T. S. Eliot is one of the first readers to define one end of this paradigm, reading the novel as an original text in the genre of detective fiction, and famously saying that The Moonstone is “the first, the longest and the best of modern English detective novels” (xii). On the other end of the paradigm, the novel's formal workings are again often cited as a larger example, and even triumph, of Victorian sensation fiction – melodramatic narratives built, according to Winifred Hughes and the more recent Derridean readings by Patrick Brantlinger and others, around a discursive cross-fertilization of romanticism, gothicism, and realism.

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Sundeep Bisla . “The Return of the Author: Privacy, Publication, the Mystery Novel, and The Moonstone.” BoundaryII 29 (Spring 2002): 177222.

Maria H. Frawley Invalidism and Identity in Nineteenth-Century Britain. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2004.

Rosemarie Garland-Thomson . “Byron and the New Disability Studies: A Response.” European Romantic Review 12 (2001): 321–27.

Simi Linton . Claiming Disability: Knowledge and Identity. New York: New York UP, 1998.

Lewis Roberts . “The ‘Shivering Sands’ of Reality: Narration and Knowledge in Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone.” Victorian Review: The Journal of the Victorian Studies Association 23 (Winter 1997): 168–83.

Sharon L. Snyder , and David T. Mitchell . Cultural Locations of Disability. Chicago: The U of Chicago P, 2006.

Martha Stoddard Holmes . Fictions of Affliction: Physical Disability in Victorian Culture. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 2004.

David Wright . Mental Disability in Victorian England: the Earlswood Asylum, 1847–1901. Oxford: Clarendon, 2001.

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Victorian Literature and Culture
  • ISSN: 1060-1503
  • EISSN: 1470-1553
  • URL: /core/journals/victorian-literature-and-culture
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