In the course of a forty-year career that began in the final decade of the nineteenth century, the pseudonymous
published nearly two dozen novels, three collections of short stories, and several plays, and saw some of her works adapted for film. Her work, controversial in her day for its treatment of transgressive sexualities and emphasis on physical passion as well as extravagant romance, repeatedly challenges social mores, and gender and sexual conformity. She confronts conventional attitudes towards such matters as race, imperialism, animal rights, and medicine, although not always in a fashion that accords comfortably with twenty-first-century tastes. The moral ambiguity and discomfort provoked by her works—perhaps particularly her representations of race, her simultaneous reliance on and reversal of conventions, and her tendency to cap apparently utopian stories with unsettling conclusions—may explain the extent to which this once immensely popular novelist remains largely unknown.