Challenging the Divisions between Mary Elizabeth Braddon and Sarah Grand: Conceptions of Authorship in The Beth Book (1897) and The Infidel (1900)
In The Beth Book (1879) and The Infidel (1900), Mary Elizabeth Braddon and Sarah Grand employed fictional writers to question professional authorship, confront contemporary social discourses, and participate in the literary fashion which pervaded fin-de-siècle fiction. As this article demonstrates, looking in depth at the resonances between The Beth Book and The Infidel sheds new light on the complex interrelation between these famous authors, their novels, and across the wider Victorian literary marketplace. The unlikely pairing disrupts the divisions that can still interrupt Victorian literary studies and hamper the critical work done in isolation on Braddon and Grand. The Beth Book and The Infidel, and their fictional authors Beth Maclure and Antonia Thorburn, are a conscious choice to enter the conversations pervading and shaping the social and literary spheres. Through their careers, Braddon and Grand may speak to their readerships in markedly differing styles and time frames but their fictional depictions of the decisions, barriers, and opportunities faced by women writers, including the New Woman, provide a fresh perspective from which to examine these influential women writers’ place in the social and literary spheres.
Mary Elizabeth Braddon; Sarah Grand; New Woman; fictional authors; professional authorship; literary marketplace; The Beth Book; The Infidel.
Date of Acceptance: 27 June 2022
Date of Publication: 4 July 2022
Double Blind Peer Reviewed
McKenzie, Helen. 2022. “Challenging the Divisions between Mary Elizabeth Braddon and Sarah Grand: Conceptions of Authorship in The Beth Book (1897) and The Infidel (1900).” Victorian Popular Fictions 4.1: 94-110. ISSN: 2632-4253 (online) DOI: https://doi.org/10.46911/PQEN7887
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