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Reviews to consider transgressing the boundary between them," she calls for a reconsideration of how ideas about bodies and their abilities inform approaches to the analysis ofVictorian literature (31). She also describes the achievements ofher own text. Pointing to new arenas for study, contributing to the development ofnew methodologies and redirecting the critical gaze towards bodies and identities that have received inadequate critical attention, both Martha Stoddard Holmes and Maria Frawley make contributions to the fields ofliterary criticism, disability studies and nineteenth-century studies, not least among them their focus on and reappraisal ofthe historical and cultural valuation ofhuman bodies. Vanessa Warne University ofManitoba DDDDDDDDDDDD Andrew Maunder and Grace Moore, eds. Victorian Crime, Madness, and Sensation. (Aldershot, Hampshire, UK: Ashgate, 2004), xii + 259 pp. Over the last few decades, critics have been devoting more attention to the previously overlooked sensation writing ofthe nineteenth century. Somewhat surprising, then, is how the scholarly work in this field has been rather limited in its scope. Critics have focused mainly on the most popular or prolific sensation writers, the sensation novels ofthe 1860s, and the foregrounded theme ofthe female criminal in these novels. However, a new collection ofessays, Victorian Crime, Madness, andSensation edited by Andrew Maunder and Grace Moore, shows sensation writing to be a much wider field with more literary value and social influence than previously thought. This collection explores how sensation writing tapped into historically specific anxieties in ways that, until now, were not immediately obvious. Victorian Crime, Madness, andSensation is part of a substantial series of texts on the nineteenth century published by Ashgate. This series aims to embrace a "broad scope in chronology, approach and range ofconcern, and ... to recognize and cut innovatively across such parameters as those suggested by the designations 'Romantic' and 'Victorian'" (vii). This collection certainly fulfills that aim, as its essays focus on the writers and 96volume 32 number 2 Reviews readers throughout the Victorian period who were increasingly interested in domestic crime and social deviance, an interest that was exemplified by the emergence ofthe popular sensation novel in the 1860s. The significance of this broad approach is made clear in the introduction to the essays: "By surveying a diverse range ofcrimes, criminals, detectives, modes ofdetection and reportage, we chart the development ofcrime writing as a genre and the growing dialogue between fact and fiction throughout Victoria's reign" (1). Both canonical and liminal texts are represented in this collection, such as Ellen Wood's East Lynne, M. E. Braddon's LadyAudleys Secret, Margaret Oliphants SaUm Chapel, Charlotte Yonge's The Trial, James Thomson's The City ofDreadfulDelight, AnthonyTrollope's The Way We Live Now, R. L. Stevenson's The Strange Case ofDr. fekyllandMr. Hyde, Wilkie Collins' BlindLove, and Bram Stoker's Dracula. The essays examine not simply the most salacious crimes, such as murder, but a wide variety oftransgressions, such as child abduction, bigamy, stalking, infanticide, poisoning, sex crimes and crimes against property. Furthermore, the essays are interdisciplinary in that they move beyond literary fiction to explore Victorian journalism, the penny blood serial, urban trade and industrial consumption, the evolutionary debates, science and technology, sexual deviance, the growth ofa police force, criminal psychology and sensational court trials. There are 15 essays in total, arranged in chronological order to offer a comprehensive survey ofsensational events in fact and fiction throughout Victoria's reign. John Plunkett opens the collection with an innovative essay, titled "Regicide and Reginamania: G. W. M. Reynolds and The Mysteries ofLondon." In this chapter, Plunkett traces the sensation engendered by Victoria's enthronement, the political value in making Victoria's image available to her subjects and the trope ofan individual and collective madness that was used to describe subjects who became the most fervent "consumers] ofher image" (18). Plunkett explains that these stalkers, who came to be known as "The Queen's Lovers," were "taken up as a trope to demonstrate the collective ardour surrounding Victoria. Those who were literally insane became symptomatic ofa more general condition of madness through excessive loyalty" (18). The media-constructed sensation around Victoria and one stalker's obsession with her are given an interesting political twist in G. W. M. Reynolds' series TheMysteries ofLondon. Plunkett argues that...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1923-3280
Print ISSN
0848-1512
Pages
pp. 96-99
Launched on MUSE
2015-10-07
Open Access
No
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