Victoria Cross

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In the course of a forty-year career that began in the final decade of the nineteenth century, the pseudonymous Victoria Cross 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.

Milestones

1 October 1868
VC was born Annie Sophie Cory at Rawalpindi, Punjab, India (now in Pakistan).
“Dictionary of Literary Biography online”. Gale Databases: Literature Resource Center-LRC.
197
1894
VC began her literary career by sending manuscripts of the novel The Refiner's Fire and short story Different Views to publisher John Lane .
Mitchell, Charlotte. Victoria Cross, 1868-1952: A Bibliography. Victorian Fiction Research Unit, School of English, Media Studies and Art History, The University of Queensland, 2002.
16
By 27 April 1901
VC 's Anna Lombard appeared in print, to become the best-selling treatment of transgressive female sexuality and reputedly the most widely-read novel of its day.
Athenæum. J. Lection.
3835 (27 April 1901): 526
Cunningham, Gail, and Victoria Cross. “Introduction”. Anna Lombard, edited by Gail Cunningham and Gail Cunningham, Continuum, 2006, p. vii - xxv.
vii
By 24 April 1937
VC 's final novel, Jim, features a writer protagonist whose pursuit of a beautiful woman ends only when he discovers that she is a Harpy: he dies gazing at her beautiful face as she feasts (literally) on his heart.
“Dictionary of Literary Biography online”. Gale Databases: Literature Resource Center-LRC.
197
TLS Centenary Archive Centenary Archive [1902-2012].
1838 (24 April 1937): 306
2 August 1952
VC died at a nursing home, the Clinica Capitanio, in Milan.
Matthew, Henry Colin Gray, Brian Harrison, and Lawrence Goldman, editors. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Biography

A Sketch from (Early) Life

1 October 1868
VC was born Annie Sophie Cory at Rawalpindi, Punjab, India (now in Pakistan).
“Dictionary of Literary Biography online”. Gale Databases: Literature Resource Center-LRC.
197