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Sensation Fiction

  • Marlene Tromp
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Notes

1. These studies note sensation's broader impact in the field and increasing respectability as an object of study (Beller) and consider our ongoing fascination with sensation (Knight). Beller, Anne-Marie, “‘The Fashions of The Current Season’: Recent Critical Work on Victorian Sensation Fiction,” Victorian Literature and Culture 45, no. 2 (2017): 461–73; Knight, Mark, “Figuring Out the Fascination: Recent Trends in Criticism on Victorian Sensation And Crime Fiction,” Victorian Literature and Culture 37, no. 1 (2009): 323–33.

2. In the epigraph to her important Companion to Sensation Fiction (Maldon: Blackwell, 2011), Pamela K. Gilbert quotes Anthony Trollope's assessment that novels cannot be divided into two schools, sensational and realistic. She remains off this terrain in her introduction however (Trollope, Anthony, “On English Prose Fiction as a Rational Amusement,” in Four Lectures by Trollope, ed. Parrish, M. L. [London: Constable, 1938]). “Realism and Sensation Fiction” by Daniel Brown, for example, makes the case that the differences between the two genres can be “difficult to discern,” but notes that, while the subject matter may be the same (crime, infidelity, murder), the approach distinguishes the genres. The latter move, of course, structurally reasserts the binarism he earlier critiqued. Daniel Brown, “Realism and Sensation Fiction,” in A Companion to Sensation Fiction, 105.

3. Nemesvari, Richard, Thomas Hardy, Sensationalism, and the Melodramatic Mode (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).

4. Steinlight, Emily, “Why Novels Are Redundant: Sensation Fiction and the Overpopulation of Literature,” ELH 79, no. 2 (2012): 501–35, 504. She cleverly reads against the frame of W. R. Greg's notion of redundancy and argues that “criticism itself relies on the conception of an overcrowded literary field in need of regulation.” See also Tromp, Marlene, The Private Rod: Marital Violence, Sensation, and the Law in Victorian Britain (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2000).

5. Brantlinger, Patrick, “What Is ‘Sensational’ About the ‘Sensation Novel’?Nineteenth-Century Fiction 37, no. 1 (1982): 128, 2.

6. Elizabeth Kolbert, “The Thomas Nomination; Most in National Survey Say Judge Is the More Believable,” The New York Times, October 15, 1991.

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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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