The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.
Bradstock responds to previous critics who argued that Cambridge yielded to convention and limited her thought. Bradstock argues that Cambridge entertained quite unconventional attitudes in regards to sexual morality and theology and expressed them in her prose and poetry. Although revision of poems from Unspoken Thoughts made The Hand in the Dark less radical, Cambridge revisited many of her early themes in later fiction.
Sheridan challenges negative evaluations of Human Toll that measure the success of the novel against the well-made realist novel. Sheridan argues that the novel is not disguised autobiography, but employs the narrative devices of late nineteenth century women's fiction while subverting certain elements of that genre. Human Toll destabilizes the conventions of the heroic women's novel, producing a narrative that operates in a Gothic/tragic mode.