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Wilkie Collins and other sensation novelists: walking the moral hospital

Wilkie Collins and other sensation novelists: walking the moral hospital

Rance, Nicholas

Recent critical interest in the sensation novel, which dominated the literary market in England in the 1860s, has been primarily preoccupied with images of women and issues of gender in the fiction. These are also concerns here, but "Walking the Moral Hospital" adopts a fresh approach by relating the vogue in the 1860s for sensation fiction to a specific phase of a crisis of faith in the bourgeois ideology of self-help.;There is a spectacular contrast between the "depth of effect and shock of incident" in the fiction, which the contemporary novelist and critic, Margaret Oliphant, thought an appropriate literary response to "an age which has turned to be one of events", and the propriety of the domestic saga, the preceding vogue in fiction, which had flourished in the late 1840s and 1850s and been displaced by the sensation novel. The demise of sensation fiction after a mere decade, and in Collins' case, perhaps paradoxically, the impulse to have missions to which Swinburne attributed his "perdition" as a novelist, are then associated with a returned sense in the 1870s of the durability of the status quo, and the temporary revival of a moralism which had seemed in a terminal condition in the 1860s

Published Macmillan, 1991
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Available: Newton Park

  • Newton Park – One available in Main Collection 823.8 COL/R

    Barcode Shelfmark Loan type Status
    00061318 Main Collection 823.8 COL/R Standard Available


ISBN: 0333537459, 9780333537459
Subject: 19Th Century; Collins, Wilkie; Le Fanu, Sheridan; Melodrama; Criticism; English Novels