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Issue Details: First known date: 2016... 2016 Imperial Affairs : The British Empire and the Romantic Novel, 1890–1939
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

The British romantic novel became a distinct and bestselling genre during the mid-nineteenth century, when Charlotte M. Yonge’s The Heir of Redclyffe (1853) inspired other authors to write thrilling love stories published in triple-decker volumes that were sold at W.H. Smith railway bookstalls or circulated through 'Charles Mudie’s Select Library (Anderson 1974, p. 25). Women writers during this time, such as Yonge, Rhoda Broughton and Mary Elizabeth Braddon, popularised stories that featured the trials and tribulations of British heroes and heroines who fall in love, overcome various obstacles to their relationship, marry or are tragically parted by death (Anderson 1974). Most of their novels are set in Britain or, for more exotic fare, the Continent. However, from the 1890s onwards, they were joined by women writers from Britain’s colonies and dominions. This period was the zenith of British imperial power and, unsurprisingly, women writers used the colonies as exotic backdrops for their love stories. Romantic novels from the 1890s to the Second World War spread imperial fantasies of women who travelled to the colonies, hunted, worked as governesses, nurses and secretaries, managed households, ran viable plantations, fended off attacks by ‘the natives’, fell in love, married and made a place for themselves in the empire. Dreams of love and empire building bloomed in what I am calling women’s imperial romantic novels: love stories set in India, the white settler colonies and dominions, and Saharan and sub-Saharan Africa in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.' (Publication summary)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon New Directions in Popular Fiction : Genre, Distribution, Reproduction Ken Gelder (editor), London : Palgrave Macmillan , 2016 11559068 2016 anthology criticism

    'This book brings together new contributions in Popular Fiction Studies, giving us a vivid sense of new directions in analysis and focus. It looks into the histories of popular genres such as the amatory novel, imperial romance, the western, Australian detective fiction, Whitechapel Gothic novels, the British spy thriller, Japanese mysteries, the 'new weird', fantasy, girl hero action novels and Quebecois science fiction. It also examines the production, reproduction and distribution of popular fiction as it carves out space for itself in transnational marketplaces and across different media entertainment systems; and it discusses the careers of popular authors and the various investments in popular fiction by readers and fans. This book will be indispensable for anyone with a serious interest in this prolific but highly distinctive literary field.' (Publication summary)

    London : Palgrave Macmillan , 2016
    pg. 87-110
Last amended 8 Aug 2017 15:42:18
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