AN OPEN VERDICT (1878)
BY
MARY ELIZABETH BRADDON
The Publication History of the Novel
By
Jennifer Carnell

Yellowback edition published by John and Robert Maxwell in 1878.
The novel was published as a three decker in the same year.

Reprint published by John & Robert Maxwell in 1878.

Frontis illustration to a one volume reprint by John & Robert Maxwell, circa 1886.
' "She clasped the railings, and commanded brain and body to be still." ' page 310
Henry French, del.
E. Evans, sc.

Reprint published by Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co., circa 1895.

'An Open Verdict,' Athenaeum, 23 February 1878.

'[…] There may, doubtless, be persons who have read Miss Braddon's novels twice, though it is a little hard to conceive their mental condition and requirements. But the people who read them once are in a state of mind quite easy to conceive. They want to pass certain hours not unpleasantly, and they apply to Miss Braddon to help them do so. She gives them for this purpose work the goodness of which, in reference to that furnished by other novel providers of the same class, is undoubted. The plots are not marvels of ingenuity, but they keep the attention fixed; the characters are not triumphs of analysis, but they pass muster fairly; the style is not a miracle of art, but it is very fair work-day English. But Miss Braddon does more for her clients than this; she actually takes the trouble to keep up with the ways of the day, so that there is a flavour of moderness pleasant to her not very critical audience […Cyril's bad conduct] The murder-scandal is due to a young lady who, it is hardly necessary to say, has auburn hair, and with it all the vices […] Her flirtations are improper, but not of a supreme impropriety; she is a good deal sinned against as well as sinning, and one finishes the book with the idea that, if she had not had auburn hair - which is doubtless fatal - there would have been several redeeming points about her.' (Please note that transcripts were originally made as research notes by Jennifer Carnell and that anyone wanting to quote them in their own work is advised to consult the original for complete accuracy.)

The Literary Lives of Mary Elizabeth Braddon by Jennifer Carnell (Biography)

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