AffiliationUniversity of Chester
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AbstractVictorian sensation novels, with their compulsive plots of crime, transgression and mystery, were bestsellers. Deborah Wynne analyses the fascinating relationships between sensation novels and the magazines in which they were serialized. Drawing upon the work of Wilkie Collins, Mary Braddon, Charles Dickens, Ellen Wood, and Charles Reade, and such popular family journals as All The Year Round, The Cornhill, and Once a Week, Wynne highlights how novels and magazines worked together to engage in the major cultural and social debates of the period.
CitationWynne, D. (2001). The Sensation Novel and the Victorian Family Magazine. Basingstoke, United Kingdom: Palgrave Macmillan.
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Women and Personal Property in the Victorian NovelWynne, Deborah; University of Chester (Ashgate, 2010-11-28)How key changes to the married women’s property laws contributed to new ways of viewing women in society are revealed in Deborah Wynne’s study of literary representations of women and portable property during the period 1850 to 1900. While critical explorations of Victorian women’s connections to the material world have tended to focus on their relationships to commodity culture, Wynne argues that modern paradigms of consumerism cannot be applied across the board to the Victorian period. Until the passing of the 1882 Married Women’s Property Act, many women lacked full property rights; evidence suggests that, for women, objects often functioned not as disposable consumer products but as cherished personal property. Focusing particularly on representations of women and material culture in Charles Dickens, George Eliot and Henry James, Wynne shows how novelists engaged with the vexed question of women’s relationships to property. Suggesting that many of the apparently insignificant items that ‘clutter’ the Victorian realist novel take on new meaning when viewed through the lens of women’s access to material culture and the vagaries of property law, her study opens up new possibilities for interpreting female characters in Victorian fiction and reveals the complex work of ‘thing culture’ in literary texts.
Critical Responses to SensationWynne, Deborah; University of Chester (Blackwell, 2011-07-01)This chapter discusses the reception of the 1860s sensation novel in the Victorian period, and charts the critical responses to the genre throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
The runaway train: The railways and social anxiety in Victorian BritainSiddle, Yvonne; Price, Valerie (University of Chester, 2013)This essay examines whether the concerns and anxieties expressed over the railways in nineteenth-century Britain are in reality an expression of the wider concerns of the time. The Chester to Holyhead line, including the branch line from Llandudno to Blaenau, was taken as the basis for the essay as it encapsulates many of the points under consideration. Chapter one explores the physical problems of the railway looking at the apprehension over the speed of the locomotives and lack of control over expansion of the network as it destroyed housing and seized land. Social expansion was a source of concern epitomised by the rise of the new ‘middle class’. Wealth was generated rather than inherited allowing the permeation of class boundaries. Technology became more complex and less comprehensible to the people using it. The apparently unstoppable nature of the railway was causing anxiety across society. Chapter two examines the cultural impact of the railway, including the mobility of much larger proportions of the population and the incursion of mass numbers of people into areas previously considered the territory of the upper classes. The introduction of ‘Railway’ time across the country was also studied as well as the effect on language, culture and the economy in Wales. Chapter three looks at literature, with particular reference to Wordsworth, Dickens, Braddon, Gissing and Trollope and how the railways influenced their writing. Examination was made of the expansion of printing and the availability of cheaper literature and the effects this had on the structure of the reading public. Religious symbolism was explored and the use of the train as metaphor for modernity.