MARY ELIZABETH BRADDON AND CIRCULATING LIBRARIES
Mary Elizabeth Braddon's writing career stretched from the peak of circulating library success to its near demise when most libraries stopped buying three volume novels. Braddon was one of the few novelists to see that the circulating library model would be fatally damaged by their switching to single volume editions.
Braddon titles advertised in a leaflet from W.H. Smith's Subscription Library at 186 Strand, London in 1873.
The release of Braddon's novels were eagerly anticipated by subscribers
to circulating libraries.
In 1882 Williams's Library at 5 Claremont in Hastings, advertised the newest arrivals at the library.
The new novels included Braddon's Mount Royal, Faustine by Rita, For Cash Only by James Payn, Castle Warlock by George Macdonald and The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain.
By 1903 Mudie's Library still stocked a large selection of Braddon's novels, from Lady Audley's Secret to The Infidel.
Bibliography and Recommended Reading:
Jennifer Carnell, The Literary Lives of Mary Elizabeth Braddon (Sensation Press, 2000). (The text above is adapted from a section in the biography.)
Robert Lee Wolff, Sensational Victorian: The Life and Fiction of Mary Elizabeth Braddon (New York: Garland, 1979).
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