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'Sensation Novels' From Selected Works of Margaret Oliphant, Part I

'Sensation Novels' From Selected Works of Margaret Oliphant, Part I

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Published by: Pickering and Chatto on Jun 14, 2011
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– 245 –
‘SENSATION NOVELS’
‘Ssatio Novls’,
 Blackwood’s Magazine
, 91 (May 1862), pp. 564–84.
Tis rviw o ssatio ovls was o o th frst, alog with H. L. Masl’s‘Ssatio Novls’ i th
 Quarterly Review
(vol. 113, April 1863) ad W. FrasrRa’s ‘Ssatio Novlists: Miss Braddo’ i th
 North British Review
(vol. 43,Sptmbr 1865) to
 
idtiy this sub-gr o popular fctio. MOWOs choico txts is sigifcat. Sh bgis with Wilki Collis’s
Te Woman in White
,srializd i Dicks’s wkly
 All the Year Round 
rom 26 Novmbr 1859 to 25August 1860 ad publishd i thr volums i August 1860. Sh th turs toDicks’s
Great Expectations
, which ollowd it i th sam wkly, bgiig o 1 Dcmbr 1860, ad compltd o 3 August 1861, publishd i thr vol-ums latr that yar. Sh alluds to, but th dismisss Ell Wood’s
 East Lynne
, which was srializd i th
 New Monthly
 
 Magazine
btw Jauary 1860 ad Ju 1861 ad which sh trms ‘a clvr ovl’ but o ‘which som iscrutablbrath o popular likig has blow ito momtary clbrity’ (p. 251). Sh com- plts hr rviw with a discussio o what sh admits is a littl-kow ovl,
Owen: a Waif  
, by Frdrick William Robiso, a writr bst kow or a sriso ovls about rligio. Robiso’s ovl was publishd by Hurst & Blacktt, who wr also o o MOWOs publishrs, which may b th raso it cam tohr atttio. Robiso was ot a passig whim. Sh would rviw his
Church and Chapel 
i hr xt articl o fctio i August 1863 (s pp. 330–4). Tthird o th triumvirat o major ssatio ovls, alog with
Te Woman inWhite
ad
 East Lynne
, Mary Elizabth Braddo’s
 Lady Audley’s Secret 
was pub-lishd latr i 1862, possibly too lat or MOWO’s rviw.MOWO immdiatly idtifd th origiality o Collis’s ovl, which wasto bcom th ackowldgd prototyp ssatio ovl, ad which had cratda critical storm ar th frst istalmt appard i Novmbr 1859. Ad shsizd upo th trm ‘ssatio’, likig it to physical xprics o ‘rvs’,‘trrors’ ad ‘thrills’. Sh distiguishs Collis’s mploymt o ‘th commomchaism o li’ which h th uss to ‘thrill[s] us ito wodr, trror ad
429 Oliphant I Volume 1.indb 245
429 Oliphant I Volume 1.indb 245
3/17/2011 4:57:24 PM
3/17/2011 4:57:24 PM
 
246
Te Selected Works of Margaret Oliphant, Volume 1
brathlss itrst’ (p. 249) i cotrast to writrs who rly o th supratural,atasy or violt crim to brig about th sam ct.Sh is lss surootd i hr tratmt o 
Great Expectations
. Sh idti-fs th ssatioal lmts i th plot, but rgards th ovl ovrall as ‘bl,atigud ad colourlss’ (p. 258). T fgur o Miss Havisham ad th itr-ruptd wddig is th ocus o hr dissatisactio – ‘acy ru mad’ (p. 259).T coctios btw Miss Havisham, Pip ad Estlla ar a ailur. But th‘darkr sid o th story’, th story o Magwitch ad Pip’s rdmptio, ad alsoth portrait o Jo Gargry, ar worthy o thir author.MOWO was lavish i hr us o quotatio i this articl. Tos rom
TeWoman in
 
White
ad
Great Expectations
hav b trucatd i this ditio,bcaus o spac. Chaptr rrcs or th omittd matrial ar providd. Mosto th xtsiv quotatios rom
Owen: a Waif  
hav b rtaid or th bfto radrs who ar ot amiliar with th ovl.Sctios o this articl hav b rpritd i P. Collis (d.),
 Dickens: theCritical Heritage
(1971; Lodo: Routldg ad Kga Paul, 1986), pp. 451–4,i N. Pag (d.),
Wilkie Collins: Te Critical 
 
 Heritage
(Lodo: Routldg adKga Paul, 1974), pp.111–16, ad i S. Rga (d.),
Te Nineteenth-Century Novel: A Critical Reader 
(Lodo: Routldg, 2001), pp. 39–44. 
429 Oliphant I Volume 1.indb 246
429 Oliphant I Volume 1.indb 246
3/17/2011 4:57:24 PM
3/17/2011 4:57:24 PM
 
– 247 –
SENSATION NOVELS.
en yars ago th world i gral had com to a sigular crisis i its xistc.T ag was lost i sl-admiratio. W had do so may thigs that obodycould hav xpctd a ctury bor – w wr o th way to do so may mor,i commo rport was to b trustd. W wr about iauguratig th rig o uivrsal pac i a world too dply coctd by liks o uivrsal itrstvr to commit th olly o war agai – w had ivtd vrythig that wasmost ulikly, ad had othig bor us but to go o prctig our ivtios,ad, scurig all th powrs o atur i harss, to do all mar o pacabl work or us lik th giats i th childr’s story. What a wodrul dirc it yars! Istad o likig pacul hads, ad vowig to study war o mor, w hav turd Idustry away rom hr vautd work o puttig a girdl roudth world, ad st hr to org thudrbolts i volcaic di ad passio. I thatmomtous itrval grat wars hav bgu ad dd,
1
ad fghtig has comito ashio throughout th palpitatig arth. W who oc did, ad mad, addclard ourslvs mastrs o all thigs, hav rlapsd ito th atural siz o humaity bor th grat vts which hav giv a w charactr to th ag.Tough w rtur with charactristic obstiacy ad itratio to th grad dis- play o walth ad skill which i 1851 was a Fstival o Pac,
2
w rpat thclbratio with vry dirt thoughts. It is a chagd world i which w arow stadig. I o distat soud o gus chos across sas ad cotitsupo our ars as w wadr udr th South Ksigto doms,
3
th lack o thamiliar soud will b rathr disappoitig tha satisactory. Tat distat roarhas com to orm a thrillig accompaimt to th sa li w lad at hom.O th othr sid o th Atlatic,
4
a rac
blasée
ad lost i uivrsal
ennui
hasbthought itsl o th gradst xpdit or procurig a w ssatio; adalbit w ollow at a humbl distac, w too bgi to l th d o a supplyo w shocks ad wodrs. Tos ll Mrrimacs ad Moitors,
5
stalig orth with a crtai dvilish ivulrability ad composur upo th huma ships adm to b mad fr ad carag o, ar xcitmt too high pitchd or comort;but it is oly atural that art ad litratur should, i a ag which has turdto b o o vts, attmpt a kidrd dpth o ct ad shock o icidt. I
429 Oliphant I Volume 1.indb 247
429 Oliphant I Volume 1.indb 247
3/17/2011 4:57:24 PM
3/17/2011 4:57:24 PM

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