THOU ART THE MAN (1894)
BY
MARY ELIZABETH BRADDON
Images Showing the Publication History of the Novel
By
Jennifer Carnell

Yellowback edition published by Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co., circa 1895.
The novel was first published in three volumes.

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

'Thou Art the Man,' Saturday Review, 24 November 1894.

'The reader acquainted with Miss Braddon's previous works who guesses, after a perusal of the first chapter of Thou Art the Man, that 'Sybil, Countess of Penrith,' has contracted a bigamous marriage may be excused, but he will be wrong although it will be some time before he is allowed to discover it. Not because the purpose of the author requires any concealment of the real state of things. None is attempted; but the introduction to Lady Penrith once effected and a mysterious occurrence recorded, we are taken back to the early love affairs of her mother and herself, and the family history is related with much detail. In fact, we are at once brought face to face with an error in construction almost incredible in a writer of Miss Braddon's experience, as the opening incident belongs of right to the latter half of the second volume. The novel is by way of illustrating a trite doctrine of heredity, though there is no novelty in the transmission of epilepsy. It forms an excuse for the kind of crime without which the author would, indeed, be a changeling. It is not disease alone which is hereditary here, for we find that Sibyl, Countess of Penrith inherits from her mother a tendency to hopeless affection [ …] When Miss Braddon has once tasted blood she must go on, and another murder is committed […] Sybil is incomparably the best drawn character in the book […] The most tiresome part of the work, and an entirely unnecessary one, is that tritest of dodges, the 'diary' of Coralie Urquhart […] Her speculations on the probable death of her father will take a good deal of beating for cold-blooded calculation, yet the author is clearly bidding for the reader's sympathy. Altogether, Miss Braddon's new manner is not strikingly successful. Her old love of sensation remains, and her attempt at an analytical method is wanting in strength, consistency, and insight.'

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

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