Mary Elizabeth Braddon

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Standard Name: Braddon, Mary Elizabeth
Birth Name: Mary Elizabeth Braddon
Pseudonym: Mary Seyton
Pseudonym: Babington White
Pseudonym: Lady Caroline Lascelles
Pseudonym: Aunt Belinda
Pseudonym: The author of Lady Audley's Secret
Self-constructed Name: M. E. Braddon
Married Name: Mary Elizabeth Maxwell
Used Form: Miss M. E. Braddon
MEB 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.
Painting of Mary Elizabeth Braddon by William Powell Frith, exhibited 1865. She stands beside a desk with writing materials and stacks of books, looking at the viewer, in a long dark dress. The wall behind her and the desk chair are red. Her red-brown hair is coiled over her ears, and her clasped hands hold a handkerchief. National Portrait Gallery.
"Mary Elizabeth Braddon" Retrieved from https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/5d/Mary_Elizabeth_Maxwell_%28n%C3%A9e_Braddon%29_by_William_Powell_Frith.. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication license. This work is in the public domain.

Connections

Connections Sort descending Author name Excerpt
death Jean Middlemass
Her obituary in the Times noted her accomplishments as a writer and suggested that her output as a novelist exceeded that of Mary Elizabeth Braddon .
“Obituary: Miss Jean Middlemass”. Times, p. 15e.
15
Education Henry Handel Richardson
The child Ethel Richardson was a great reader. She identified with male fictional characters, and cherished three books which her father gave her almost on his death-bed: The Pilgrim's Progress by Bunyan , Robinson Crusoe...
Education Katharine Tynan
Owing to what KT calls an extraordinary wave of Puritanism throughout the Irish Catholic Church,
Tynan, Katharine. Twenty-Five Years: Reminiscences. Smith, Elder, 1913.
45
her reading was censored: her mother forbade her to read Mary Elizabeth Braddon 's Aurora Floyd (1863). She thought...
Education Stella Gibbons
SG learned to read fairly late, but then read voraciously. The glowing Eastern landscapes and brilliant figures
Oliver, Reggie. Out of the Woodshed: A Portrait of Stella Gibbons. Bloomsbury, 1998.
20
of Disraeli 's Alroy and Thomas Moore 's Lalla Rookh made a particular impression. She also developed...
Friends, Associates Ellen Wood
Probably as early as 1862, the publisher Richard Bentley asked EW for her critical opinion of the work of Mary Elizabeth Braddon . She replied with a balanced, judicious, and respectful assessment.
Sussex, Lucy. “Mrs Henry Wood and her Memorials”. Women’s Writing, No. 2, pp. 157 - 68.
159
Friends, Associates Rhoda Broughton
The sisters were in general popular in Oxford society, but Rhoda, although at first she dined regularly at the table of scholar Benjamin Jowett ,
“The Times Digital Archive 1785-2007”. Thompson Gale: The Times Digital Archive.
(29 November 1940): 5
, was then ostracized in some...
Friends, Associates Rhoda Broughton
RB 's vitality, sincerity, and pungent wit gained her the friendship of some of the most notable people of her day.
Stephen, Sir Leslie, and Sidney Lee, editors. The Dictionary of National Biography. Smith, Elder, 1908.
Her wide circle of friends and acquaintances included Henry James (the two became extremely...
Friends, Associates Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, first Baron Lytton
His friends included Benjamin Disraeli , Charles Dickens , John Forster , and Thomas Babington Macaulay . Later in life he conducted a long, mentoring friendship by letter with Mary Elizabeth Braddon . He also...
Intertextuality and Influence Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, first Baron Lytton
This was among his most controversial novels; W. Fraser Rae later praised it in his attack on Mary Elizabeth Braddon 's sensation fiction, and George Sala cited it as a laudable antecedent in her defence.
Rae, W. Fraser. “Sensation Novelists: Miss Braddon”. North British Review, pp. 180 -4.
202
Matthew, Henry Colin Gray, Brian Harrison, and Lawrence Goldman, editors. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
Wolff, Robert Lee. Sensational Victorian. Garland, 1979.
206
Intertextuality and Influence Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, first Baron Lytton
Bulwer-Lytton in his later years mentored the young Mary Elizabeth Braddon , offering her advice on her writings, often with reference to his own. Their literary friendship lasted until his death. Charles Reade was also...
Intertextuality and Influence Anna Atkins
Though AA 's preface concedes the the talent, the ingenuity, the very clever writing of sensation-authors,
Atkins, Anna. A Page from the Peerage. T. Cautley Newby, 1863.
i
it also hints that they are in it for the money, and expresses outrage at what it sees...
Intertextuality and Influence Mary Anne Barker
MAB 's discussion of schools leads her into an account of a visit made by the Norwegian missionary, Bishop Schreuder , to a later Zulu chief, Cetshwayo , taken from a blue-book or government report...
Intertextuality and Influence Charlotte Mary Brame
Published with an epigraph from Anne Hunter about the emotional cost of keeping a painful secret, Lady Damer's Secret presumably drew inspiration for its title from Mary Elizabeth Braddon 's Lady Audley's Secret, although...
Intertextuality and Influence Elizabeth Taylor
Several shorter stories are gems. Two of them explore respectively the experiences of birth and of death, from the viewpoint of those on the fringes of the central event. Many stories are hard on women...
Intertextuality and Influence Flora Thompson
From her account it is clear how she respects, even loves, the people she describes, but also how she is not one of them, but is marked off by tiny gradations of knowledge and privilege...

Timeline

1532-early 1552
These years saw the gradual appearance of the work of scurrilous, obscene, and philosophicalsatire generally known in English as Gargantua and Pantagruel, by François Rabelais (1483?-?9 April 1553).
1826
American-born black actor Ira Aldridge debuted in London as Othello at the Royalty Theatre .
1842
A bill to legalize marriage between a man and his deceased wife's sister was introduced in the House of Commons . It did not pass.
1843
John Maxwell founded his own publishing house in London.
1 October-15 December 1856
Gustave Flaubert serially published his first novel, Madame Bovary, in the Revue de Paris.
1858
Brothers William and Edward Tinsley formed a partnership as the Tinsley Brothers , publishers, at 18 Catherine Street, Strand, London.
18 November 1861
The English production of Dion Boucicault 's The Octoroon, or Life in Louisiana opened at the Adelphi Theatre , London.
April 1863
Henry Mansel in the Quarterly Review attacked sensation novels as preaching to the nerves and as indications of a wide-spread corruption, of which they are in part both the effect and the cause; called into...
Later 1866
Robert Williams Buchanan published an essay on Immorality in Authorship in the Fortnightly Review, and, under the pseudonym of Caliban in the Spectator, attacked Swinburne in a poem called The Session of the Poets.
1867
Metta Victoria Fuller Victor (a successful American writer and publisher, as was her husband, Orville James Victor ) serialised under the pseudonym Seeley Regester her novelThe Dead Letter.
American National Biography.
under Orville James Victor
Nickerson, Catherine Ross, and Metta Victoria Fuller Victor. “Introduction”. The Dead Letter; and, The Figure Eight, Duke University Press, 2003, pp. 1 - 10.
1-2
1868
Tractarian F. E. Paget published his satiricsensation novelLucretia; or, the Heroine of the Nineteenth Century.
1875
Charles Reade dedicated his novelThe Wandering Heir to Mary Elizabeth Braddonas a slight mark of respect for her private virtues and public talents.
Wolff, Robert Lee. Sensational Victorian. Garland, 1979.
250
1876
John Maxwell sold Belgravia to Chatto and Windus , ending Mary Elizabeth Braddon 's association with the monthly.
Late 1884
Publisher Henry Vizetelly produced the first English translations of Émile Zola : the novels Nana and L'Assommoir.
27 June 1894
Mudie's Circulating Library and bookseller W. H. Smith together announced they would not pay more than four shillings a volume for novels; this forced publishers to abandon triple-decker format, and quickly led to its replacement...