Victorian and Edwardian Paperback Editions of Mary Elizabeth Braddon Novels
By
Jennifer Carnell

Some of Braddon's earliest works in the early 1860s were published as 'French style' paperbacks. All of the ones I have seen have been rebound and it is possible none survive in their original plain wrappers. In Germany, Baron Tauchnitz published most of the Braddon's novels in Tauchnitz edition paperbacks for the continental market. In Britain, the Maxwells, unusually, published Cut by the County (1886) as a paperback. During the Victorian period, Braddon's novels usually appeared in cheap editions in yellowbacks and not as paperbacks. But by 1900 the yellowback format was almost obsolete and a number of Braddon's novels were produced as cheap paperbacks. Many of these paperbacks were abridged, and Braddon's diaries show that some of the abridgements were carried out by Braddon herself. The publishers of the late Victorian and Edwardian paperbacks were George Newnes, Edmund Downey & Co., Pearson, Hurst and Blackett, the Daily Mail and Hutchinson.

Paperback edition of The Trail of the Serpent, illustrated by H.M. Brock, published in Newnes' Sixpenny Novels series.
The Newnes editions were published by George Newnes Ltd. in Southampton Street, Strand, London.

Sixpenny edition of Braddon's Run to Earth published by George Newnes in 1902.
It was printed by the London Colour Printing Co., Exmoor Street, North Kensington in London.

The Newnes sixpenny paperback edition of Braddon's novel Fenton's Quest, published by George Newnes in 1902.
Newnes also published sixpenny paperback editions of Hostages to Fortune in 1903 and Phantom Fortune and One Life, One Love.

Title page of the sixpenny paperback edition of Braddon's Phantom Fortune, published by George Newnes Limited in 1903. Illustrated by Hal Hurst.

Title page of the Newnes edition of Braddon's novel One Life, One Love, again illustrated by Hal Hurst.

His Darling Sin published as a colourful sixpenny paperback by C. Arthur Pearson Ltd. of 18 Henrietta Street, London.
Pearson's Sixpenny Novels included: 'volumes by nearly all the best known and present day writers. They are printed in clear type and thread sewn, with an attractive picture.'
By the time Pearson published this paperback, there were 200 titles in Pearson's 6d novels series and they included the following Braddon novels:
His Darling Sin, No.68 Just As I Am, No. 78. Dead Men's Shoes, No. 86 The Golden Calf and No. 101 The Day Will Come.

 

Sixpenny paperback edition published by Edmund Downey of Braddon's novel The Captain of the Vulture.
It was published in Downey's Sixpenny Library of Fiction. Downey had already published Lady Audley's Secret, Henry Dunbar, Eleanor's Victory, Aurora Floyd, John Marchmont's Legacy, Only a Clod, The Doctor's Wife and Sir Jasper's Tenant in the series.

Braddon's novel Henry Dunbar published as a sixpenny paperback by Downey & Co. Ltd. of York Street, Covent Garden, London.
This edition was 'specially revised by the author'.

Only a Clod published as a sixpenny paperback by Downey.
This copy as an ownership signature, of someone called Bunbury, dated 1900 on the front cover.
An advert for Braddon's novels lists London Pride as recently available as a hardback reprint - suggesting this paperback was published in the late 1890s.

Downey also produced compilation hardbacks containing three of the paperback editions.
This blue cloth hardback contains Eleanor's Victory, Aurora Floyd and Lady Audley's Secret.

Braddon's novel Beyond These Voices published as one of Hutchinson's Sixpenny Copyright Novels by Hutchinson & Co. of Paternoster Row, London.
The front cover has a quotation from the Daily Graphic: 'Miss Braddon contrives to write with undiminished freshness and vigour, and to weave the web of a plot with a sure and steady hand. None of her readers who go to it for a spirited and engrossing story will be disappointed.'
In the Hutchinson series of sixpenny paperbacks Beyond These Voices was no. 394
no. 236 was Our Adversary
no. 369 was The Green Curtain.
Hutchinson described the series as 'A series of copyright novels by the leading Authors, clearly and well printed.'

His Darling Sin published by the Amalgamated Press Limited as no. 73 in the Daily Mail's Sixpenny Novels series. It was illustrated by Hal Hurst.
No. 12. in the series was Braddon's novel The Conflict.

Hurst and Blackett published in their sixpenny paperback novels series Braddon's The White House,
Printed at the Chapel River Press, Kingston, Surrey.

Bibliography and Recommended Reading:
Jennifer Carnell, The Literary Lives of Mary Elizabeth Braddon (Sensation Press, 2000).

Robert Lee Wolff, Sensational Victorian: The Life and Fiction of Mary Elizabeth Braddon (New York: Garland, 1979).

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