THE OCTOROON; OR, THE LILY OF LOUISIANA
MARY ELIZABETH BRADDON
Edited and with an introduction by Jennifer Carnell
The Octoroon (1861-1862) is a lurid tale of race, slavery and crime. It was the second anonymous novel written by Braddon for a rare lower class magazine, and was published to coincide with the first British performance of Dion Boucicault's drama of miscegenation in the Southern states of America.
Educated in Britain, Cora only learns the truth about her mother's slave
origins, and her own legal position as an Octoroon, when she returns to her
father's plantation in Louisiana. Reviving issues raised by Harriet Beecher
Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, Braddon also utilised contemporary theatre
and her own experience as an actress to create a novel which has much in common
with melodramas of the period.
The fact that Braddon wrote The Octoroon has often been remarked upon, many erroneously believing it to be based on Boucicault's play, but few have read her lower class fiction as few copies survive. The Octoroon is virtually unobtainable to the modern reader, as it has never been published in book form in Britain and the American edition omitted one chapter. This unabridged edition has been reprinted from the original serialisation.
The Octoroon will be of interest to the student and critic of Victorian literature and theatre, and to those interested in anti-slavery novels and the development of popular fiction.
The Octoroon was limited to
just 280 copies.
Hardback with an introduction, text of 211pp. and 18 illustrations reproduced from the original serialisation.
Jennifer Carnell received her Ph.D for her research on M.E. Braddon. She has edited editions of several novels by Braddon for the Sensation Press, including The Black Band and The Octoroon and is a contributor to the book Beyond Sensation (State University of New York Press) and the author of a novel. She recently published a biography of her Victorian ancestor James Townsend Saward, Criminal Barrister: The True Story of Jim the Penman.
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