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In Lady Audley's Shadow

Mary Elizabeth Braddon and Victorian Literary Genres

Saverio Tomaiuolo

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This book is devoted to Mary Elizabeth Braddon's complex relationship with the three main Victorian literary genres: the Gothic, the Detective and the Realist novel. Using Braddon's bestselling sensation fiction Lady Audley's Secret as a paradigmatic novel and as a 'haunting' textual presence across her literary career, this study provides a fertile critical reading of a wide range of Braddon's novels and short stories.

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Introduction: The Lady Audley Paradigm
1. Gothic Mutations
2. Darwinian Detections
3. Victorian Realisms

About the Author

Saverio Tomaiuolo is Lecturer in English Literature and Language at Cassino University, Italy. He has published a monograph on Tennyson's narrative poems (Tennyson e il senso del narrare) and a book on translation theory (Ricreare in lingua), as well as articles and essays on Postmodernism (Robert M. Pirsig, Antonia Byatt), Victorian Literature (G. M. Hopkins, Mrs Wood, Charles Dickens, Henry James, R. L. Stevenson, Wilkie Collins), and Translation Studies.


Tomaiuolo's research is thorough and extensive. The reader is provided with a fascinating insight into the society in which Mary Elizabeth Braddon lived and wrote … the constituent parts add up to an incredibly comprehensive and engaging study, not just of Braddon but of Victorian culture and literature as a whole.

- Fran Tomlin, University of Edinburgh, The Gothic Imagination
In this ground-breaking study Saverio Tomaiuolo offers a highly perceptive and wide-ranging guide to the 'slippery' genre of Victorian Sensation Fiction, as exemplified by its most (in)famous practitioner, Mary Elizabeth Braddon. In Lady Audley's Shadow skilfully traces both the literary origins of sensation in Gothic literature and its brilliantly creative emplotment of the new technologies of the period.
- Roger Ebbatson, Lancaster University
This suggestive book vividly reminds its readers of the cross-fertilization among forms of literature and the importance of culture in creating an "entangled bank" of ideas and types of fiction.
- Ann C. Colley, SUNY Distinguished Professor, SUNY College at Buffalo

Tomaiuolo’s book has much to offer anyone interested in the career of an engaging novelist, who never did quite escape from under the shadow of Lady Audley’s Secret. The result of wide reading, and some detective work of its own, it sends the reader back to Braddon with appetite renewed.

- Nicholas Daly, University College Dublin, Victoriographies Vol. 2, No. 2
In a relatively short book Tomaiuolo manages to cover a wide number of texts and an astonishing amount of contextual information.
- Helena Ifill, University of Sheffield, Victorian Popular Fiction Association Newsletter

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