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Mary Elizabeth Braddon entry: Overview screen.
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Overview
Writing
Life
Writing and Life
Timeline
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Mary Elizabeth Braddon made her name, scandalously, in the early 1860s as a founder of the intricately plotted sensation novel, and was particularly known for her transgressive heroines. Although still most strongly associated with this and the related genres of gothic, mystery and detective stories, she also contributed significantly during her 56-year career to the psychological and realist novels, in addition to writing several dramas (some of them produced) and publishing in her youth one long poem in a collection with shorter ones. Dedicated to writing for the new and expanding mass reading public (including fiction for the penny press), and associated from the outset with novel advertising and publishing practices, she issued her work serially, edited Belgravia magazine from 1866 to 1876 (as well as a Christmas annual), and survived the demise of the triple-decker novel.
Her oeuvre encompasses eighty novels, as well as several volumes in other genres, and a considerable quantity of short fiction, some of it still uncollected. The range of her topics, her experimenting over decades of prolific literary production during a period of rapid change in the market, and the moral complexity of her fiction make it a rich mine for literary and cultural analysis.
Milestones
4 October 1835 MEB was born in London at 2 Frith Street, Soho, the youngest of three children. Bibliographic Citation link.
6 July 1861 The first instalment of MEB's hugely popular novel Lady Audley's Secret appeared in Robin Goodfellow; when this weekly sixpenny failed thirteen weeks later, she dropped Lady Audley for Aurora Floyd. Bibliographic Citation link.  scholarly note link.
January-December 1862 MEB's sensation novel Lady Audley's Secret was serialised again, this time to its conclusion, in Ward and Lock's Sixpenny Magazine; it appeared in volume form in October 1862. Bibliographic Citation link.
1 October 1862 Mary Elizabeth Braddon's sensation novel Lady Audley's Secret was released in volume form. Bibliographic Citation link.  scholarly note link.
18 September 1895 MEB and her publisher (Simpkin, Marshall) locked horns with Mudie's Circulating Library on the issue of her final triple-decker, Sons of Fire; she had three unpublished one-volume novels in hand to meet the new era in publishing. Bibliographic Citation link.
4 February 1915 MEB died at her home in Richmond, Surrey; she had been declining for several months, apparently from the gradual collapse of blood vessels in her brain. Bibliographic Citation link.
By 5 October 1916 MEB's last, part-autobiographical, novel, Mary, was published posthumously with her name. Bibliographic Citation link.
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