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Extra info for A Companion to Sensation Fiction (Blackwell Companions to Literature and Culture)
The first concerns “a swaggering male protagonist whose experiences lead him to greater self-awareness and maturity,” while the second follows a large cast of interdependent characters with an “emphasis on family and community relationships” (Kendra 2004: 26–7), typically recording the introduction of an innocent female protagonist into high society (O’Cinneide 2008: 48). The gendering of these types is at once supported and undermined by the most famous of the dandy novels, Cecil, or Adventures of a Coxcomb and Cecil, A Peer, both published anonymously by Gore in 1841.
The fact that critics of both genres attacked them for violating realism underscores the embattled hegemony of novelistic realism within both periods, as critics and the culture they spoke for sought to hold a line against the melodrama, the Gothic, and other allegedly anti-realist popular genres. The critical clamor against both genres for betraying realism also underscores their shared use of criminality as an occasion to interrogate class structure and ideology, since critics of both genres found them scandalously inaccurate to the realities of Victorian class.
And of suppressing the one that proved inconvenient, by “painless extinction” or by more forcible methods. (qtd. in Radford 2009: 81) W. Fraser Rae, in his 1865 essay on Braddon, further emphasizes that writers of sensation novels manipulate realist conventions “for the sake of effect,” and thus offer representations that are “grossly untrue to nature”: Into uncontaminated minds they will instill false views of human conduct. . A novel is a picture of life, and as such ought to be faithful.
A Companion to Sensation Fiction (Blackwell Companions to Literature and Culture)