A Companion to Sensation Fiction (Blackwell Companions to by PDF

This accomplished assortment deals a whole advent to 1 of the most well-liked literary different types of the Victorian interval, its key authors and works, its significant topics, and its lasting legacy.

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But for the most part scholarship on Newgate novels has rightly stressed how the genre, like the tradition of eighteenth-century criminal narratives that it draws on, foregrounds criminal protagonists’ attempts to escape from a “carceral” fate dictated by their socio-economic circumstances far more than it naturalizes (as sensation novels do) the pervasiveness and inevitable potency of institutions for detecting crimes once they have been committed. Gender Directly connected with the types of plots characteristic of sensation and Newgate novels is the issue of gender.

Even when they praised them for presenting an accurate picture of “the well-padded, curled, painted, and perfumed body of fashion,” there was a satiric note to the praise (Casey 2009: 255). This satiric note was extended in a number of parodies of the genre, the most noteworthy of which are those by Carlyle, Dickens, and Thackeray. Ironically, these parodies have survived better than their originals. “The Dandiacal Body” in Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus (1833–4) attacks fashionable novels in general and Bulwer’s Pelham in particular.

The Newgate novel ended as a viable fashion in 1846, when Bulwer-Lytton’s Lucretia, or the Children of Night, based on the contemporary forger, fraud, and wife-poisoner Thomas Griffith Wainewright (1794–1847), prompted a year-long critical assault not only on Bulwer-Lytton’s novel but also on previous works in its “school” that led Bulwer-Lytton as well as Ainsworth and Dickens to abandon the project of writing novels centered on criminal protagonists (Hollingsworth 1963: 191–202). Like sensation novels, Newgate novels were condemned primarily for popularizing and glamorizing criminal and other indecorous behavior (Hollingsworth 1963: 14– 15).

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