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Sensation Drama, 1860–1880

An Anthology

Edited by Joanna Hofer-Robinson, Beth Palmer

Hardback (Forthcoming)

Features previously unpublished material alongside famous plays

This pioneering edition provides access to some of the most popular plays of the nineteenth century. Characterised by exhilarating plots, large-scale special effects and often transgressive characterisation, these dramas are still exciting for modern readers. This anthology lays the foundation for further scholarly work on sensation drama and focuses public attention on to this influential and immensely popular genre. It features five plays from writers including Dion Boucicault and Mary Elizabeth Braddon. These are supported by a substantial critical apparatus, which adds further value to the anthology by providing rich details on performance history and textual variants. The critical introduction situates the genre in its cultural context and argues for the significance of sensation drama to shifting theatrical cultures and practices.

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List of Illustrations
List of Archives
Glossary of Irish Words, as Anglicised in The Colleen Bawn

Never Too Late to Mend, by C. H. Hazlewood (1859)

The Colleen Bawn, by Dion Boucicault (1860)

Under the Gaslight, by Augustin Daly (1867)

Miss Chester, by Florence Marryat and Charles Young (1872)

The Missing Witness, by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (1874)


About the Author

Joanna Hofer-Robinson (née Robinson) is a lecturer in nineteenth-century literature at University College Cork. Joanna completed her doctorate at King’s College London, where she held an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award, and then moved to University College Dublin to take up a postdoctoral fellowship funded by the Irish Research Council. With research interests in nineteenth-century literature and theatre, Joanna is Project Lead for a practice-led research project (Dickensian Drama), which has staged two rarely-performed plays.

Dr Beth Palmer is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Surrey. She is the author of Women's Authorship and Editorship in Victorian Culture: Sensational Strategies (Oxford University Press, 2011) and a co-editor, with Adelene Buckland, of a volume entitled A Return to the Common Reader: Print Culture and the Novel, 1850-1900 (Ashgate, 2011). She is currently editing a special issue of the Journal of Neo-Victorian Studies with Dr Benjamin Poore at York University


This welcome book consists of a carefully edited and annotated selection of sensation dramas performed in the 1860s and 1870s, plus an informative and insightful introduction to the genre. It is an invaluable resource for students and scholars of Victorian culture, theatre and literature.

- Jim Davis, University of Warwick

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