Victorian Popular Fictions 1.1 5

“What tangled story was this?” Frederick Greenwood as Author-Editor of Margaret Denzil’s History in Cornhill Magazine

Catherine Delafield

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Margaret Denzil’s History has been categorized and largely dismissed by studies of the period as a bigamy novel. Its value to the study of serialization within a magazine is threefold. Firstly the author Frederick Greenwood was himself editor of the magazine and composed the serial, a sensation novel, in place of a contracted novel that was delayed. Secondly this contingent piece unfolded within the established pattern of the magazine but was also influenced by magazine editing events and priorities. Finally the serial appeared in volume form with significant changes that debate the nature of sensation and of serialization within a magazine. This paper briefly introduces the serialization of sensation fiction and then discusses the contingencies dictating the serial’s first appearance, identifying the surrounding context of the magazine and the role of Greenwood as author-editor. It then looks at how the serial was embedded within Cornhill Magazine and how layout and paratextual features affected the progress of the text. It finally demonstrates how the text of the volume edition detached from its magazine context differed from that of the serial. Despite the expediency of the serial’s production, both enforced and discretionary changes were made by its author-editor, and these changes reflect Greenwood’s manipulation of the sensation novel’s narrative authority and textual boundaries.

Key Words

Serialisation in Victorian periodicals; sensation fiction; Cornhill Magazine; magazine publishing; popular fiction in magazines; serial novel in volume form

Date of acceptance: 4 June 2019

Date of Publication: 30 June 2019

Peer Reviewed

Recommended Citation: Delafield, Catherine. 2019. “‘What tangled story was this?’ Frederick Greenwood as Author-Editor of Margaret Denzil’s History in Cornhill Magazine.” Victorian Popular Fictions. 1.1: 100-14.

ISSN: 2632-4253 (online)



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