March 2016

Now available: Mary Elizabeth Braddon and the Victorian Theatre by Jennifer Carnell.

10 February 2016

Coming Soon - Mary Elizabeth Braddon and the Victorian Theatre by Jennifer Carnell. After ten years of research, it's been a little frustrating that publication was slowed by all the fiddly extras like preparing the index. It is now being printed.

The paperback edition of Victorian Sensations: Essays on a Scandalous Genre has been published by Ohio State University Press. The collection was edited by Kimberly Harrison and the late Richard Fantina.

The book contains essays by Ellen Miller Casey, Richard Nemesvari, Catherine J. Golden, Albert C. Sears, Diana C. Archibald, Dianna Vitanza, Devin P. Zuber, Tamar Heller, Galia Ofek, Andrew Mangham, Richard Fantina, Nancy Welter, Lindsey Faber, Jennifer A. Swartz, Andrew Maunder, Lillian Nayder, Tamara S. Wagner, Kimberly Harrison, Vicki Corkran Willey and Monica M. Young-Zook.

Description: 'Wildly popular with Victorian readers, sensation fiction was condemned by most critics for scandalous content and formal features that deviated from respectable Victorian realism. Victorian Sensations is the first collection to examine sensation fiction as a whole, showing it to push genre boundaries and resist easy classification. Comprehensive in scope, this collection includes twenty original essays employing various critical approaches to cover a range of topics that will interest many readers. In addition to well-known novels such as The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins and Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, this volume addresses other works by Collins and Braddon as well as those of Sheridan Le Fanu, Rhoda Broughton, Charles Reade, Ellen (Mrs. Henry) Wood, and perhaps surprisingly, Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy.

Sensation literature, once considered one-dimensionally as a vehicle for contrived, plot-driven stories of mystery and intrigue, is shown here as a multi-faceted formal and ideological hybrid. Essays are organized thematically into three sections: issues of genre; sensational representations of gender and sexuality; and the texts’ complex readings of diverse social and cultural phenomena such as class, race, and empire. The introduction reviews critical reception of sensation fiction to situate these new essays within a larger scholarly context.

Victorian Sensations aims to further previous efforts to recognize sensation fiction as an integral part of Victorian literature and not as the subgenre that it has too long been considered. The collection’s broad scope indicates the breadth and complexity of the genre itself.'

6 August 2015

Coming soon in October 2015: Mary Elizabeth Braddon and the Victorian Theatre: A Biographical Guide to Actors and Managers (title provisional). In progress since the publication of The Literary Lives of Mary Elizabeth Braddon and the culmination of years of research. Mary Elizabeth Braddon charts Braddon's acting career, revealing new performances and shows she carried on acting for longer than I previously believed. It follows the lives of over 540 actors, managers and other theatrical performers who worked with Braddon in the 1850s and 1860s and contains numerous illustrations. Her fellow actors included the son of the forger Jim the Penman, an actor who travelled to Persia and become the Shah's exposives expert, an actress whose father claimed to be the lost French Dauphin, actors who found wealth and fame and others who ended their days in the workhouse. It continues with an exploration of the careers of their children.

20 March 2015

Recent pages added to the Mary Elizabeth Braddon Pages include Braddon and newspaper serialisation (including a rare Victorian tintype advertising her work), her Cornish family home, early paperback editions of Braddon's novels and an update to Edward Braddon.

4 February 2015

Today is the 100th anniversary of the death of Mary Elizabeth Braddon. To mark the day, as well as the Braddon Keepsake (see below), a number of pages have been added to the Mary Elizabeth Braddon Pages, including Lichfield House, an account of Braddon's funeral in Richmond and a page about John Maxwell. More will be added through the year,

7 JANUARY 2015

The Mary Elizabeth Braddon Keepsake: 2015 Anniversary Edition
Paperback published to mark 180 years since Braddon's birth on 4 October 1835 and 100 years since her death on 4 February 1915.
six short stories by Braddon, including a story discovered after the publication of The Literary Lives of Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Braddon's first ever published story, and a further two short stories never before published in book form. 103 pages with an early portrait of Braddon on the front cover.
A schoolboy finds himself claimed by a ghostly goblin.
A long-lost will threatens the future of a book collector and his daughter.
A stuffy gentleman becomes jealous of his fiancee's previous love.
An anarchist bomb plot terrifies a cathedral.
A mother is determined her daughter will never have an unhappy marriage like her own.
A barrister plans revenge upon his unfaithful wife.

Mary Elizabeth Braddon in Richmond - the previously unpublished paper given by Jennifer Carnell at Richmond Museum; an Edwardian essay about Braddon by Edmund Downey; an interview with Braddon; and four articles published after her death.
Limited to 100 centenary copies signed and numbered by Jennifer Carnell.
The previous 2005 Braddon Keepsake is now rare.


In 2015 there will be a Braddon Keepsake, a major Mary Elizabeth Braddon publication and numerous pages will be added and restored from earlier years.

The Obscure Origins, Wonderful Life, and Shock Death of The Railway Library in British Fiction
Seminar by John Spiers on 10 December 2013

A seminar by Sensation Press friend Professor John Spiers will be held at Senate House at 6pm on Tuesday 10 December 2013. All are very welcome.
Senate House, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

'The December 2013 seminar in the book-collecting series organised jointly by the Institute of English Studies (London University) and the Rare Book Society will be given by Professor John Spiers, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute and a Visiting Professor at the University of Glamorgan. He is also a distinguished publisher, having founded the Harvester Press in 1969. Beyond all that, he is a very serious book-collector, especially of Victorian books.

He is the editor of Gissing and the City : Cultural Crisis and the Making of Books in Late Victorian England 2006; Serious about Series : American 'Cheap' Libraries, British 'Railway' Libraries and some Literary Series of the 1890's 2007 and The Culture of the Publisher's Series : Authors, Publishers and the Shaping of Taste 2011 - and these titles reflect the theme of the seminar - The Obscure Origins, Wonderful Life, and Shock Death of The Railway Library in British Fiction.

The seminars are aimed at a broad audience including book-collectors, book-dealers, historians of all kinds, librarians, indeed at anyone with an interest in collecting any sort of text from the sixth-former to the retired professor. The atmosphere will be informal, as will the presentations. They are held in the University of London's Senate House and run from 6.00 to 7.30 pm on the second Tuesday of each month.'

6 December 2012

A new book about Braddon by Sensation Press friend Anne-Marie Beller has been published by McFarland and is warmly recommended.
Mary Elizabeth Braddon: A Companion to the Mystery Fiction
'This companion to Braddon's mystery fiction is the definitive reference on this provocative but overlooked writer'.
Anne-Marie Beller, a lecturer at Loughborough University, has published articles on Wilkie Collins, Amelia B. Edwards and Mrs. Henry Wood. She is on the editorial board of the Wilkie Collins Journal.

15 October 2012

New Perspectives on Mary Elizabeth Braddon
Edited by Jessica Cox
A new collection of essays about Braddon has just been published by Rudopi. The essays were originally presented at the Braddon conference at the University of Swansea organised by Jessica Cox.
Introduction by Jessica Cox
Blurring Boundaries: The Fiction of M.E. Braddon by Jessica Cox
To the Mad-House Born: The Ethics of Exteriority in Lady Audley's Secret by Tabitha Sparks
Imperial Attitudes in Lady Audley's Secret by Nancy Knowles and Katherine Hall
"To Go Boldly Where No Woman Has Gone Before": Alicia Audley and the New Woman by Michelle Lin
Homelessness in the Home: Invention, Instability and Insanity in the Domestic Spaces of M.E. Braddon and L.M. Alcott by Grace Wetzel
"Drink it Up Dear; It Will Do You Good": Crime, Toxicology, and The Trail of the Serpent by Andrew Mangham
Sensational Bildung? Infantilization and Female Maturation in Braddon's 1860s Novels by Anne-Marie Beller
To "Serve God and Mammon": Braddon and Literary Transgression by Juliette Atkinson
The French Connection: Gender, Morals and National Culture in Braddon's Novels by Joanne Knowles
Re-Plotting Inheritance: The Triangulation of Legacies and Affinities in The Fatal Three by Tamara S. Wagner
"If I Read Her Right": Textual Secrets in Thou Art the Man by Laurence Talairach-Vielmas
Sensationalism on Trial: Courtroom Drama and the Image of Respectability in His Darling Sin by Kate Mattacks
"The Stage! Oh, Flora, the Very Idea Frightens Me!": Representations of Professional Theatre in Rupert Godwin and A Lost Eden by Carla E. Coleman
Notes on Contributors

15 July 2012


Victorian Rebel: The Many Faces of Mary Braddon
16-22 July 2012
To be held at Augustine House, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury
The International Centre for Victorian Women Writers at Canterbury Christ Church University is led by Dr. Carolyn Oulton and Professor Adrienne Gavin.
'Alongside the exhibition will be a free open lecture by visiting research fellow and Braddon Archive expert, Gabrielle Malcolm, at 5.30pm on Monday 16 July'.

26 NOVEMBER 2011

Series 6 of The Dickens Magazine is now complete. Editor Alan S. Watts, Publishing Editor George Gorniak and it is published by Grayswood Press.
Issue 1: David Copperfield by David Parker, Dickens at 37 by George Gorniak, The Young David Copperfield by Tony Williams, Clara Copperfield by Thelma Grove, Phiz Illustrations by Philip V. Allingham, Born with a Caul by Alan Dilnot, The Bottling Factory by Philip V. Allingham, Nature Versus Nurture by Joanne Eysell, The Seaside: Work and Leisure by Anita Fernandez-Young, The Great Yarmouth Boat-House Controversy, The Fighting Temeraire by Lucinda Dickens Hawksley and Dickens and Tennyson by Leonée Ormond.

Issue 2: David Copperfield by David Parker, Wilkins Micawber by Philip Allingham, Miss Betsey Trotwood by Thelma Grove, Barkis by Alan S. Watts, Phiz Illustrations by Philip V. Allingham, "I falll into Captivity": Dickens's Rhetoric of Love, Portrait of a Novelist by Alan Dilnot, Doctor's Commons by Philip Allingham, Dickens's Writing for Children by Andrea Holm Allingham, Humphrey House by Donald Hawes and Nikolai Gogol by George Gorniak.
Issue 3: David Copperfield by David Parker, Uriah Heep by Tony Williams, Mr. Omer by Alan S. Watts, Rosa Dartle by Thelma Grove, Miss Mowcher by Philip V. Allingham, Phiz Illustrations by Philip V. Allingham, Uriah Heep: Villain of the Piece by Gareth Cordery, Dickens, Phiz and "The Fallen Woman" by Philip V. Allingham, Sir Thomas Noon Talfourd by Philip V. Allingham, George Müller by George Gorniak, Dickens and Canada by Philip V. Allingham and Augustus Dickens: Part One 1827-1856 by Lucinda Dickens Hawksley.
Issue 4: David Copperfield by David Parker, The Adult David Copperfield by Tony Williams, Mr. Dick by Alan S. Watts, James Steerforth: David's Secret Hero by Gareth Cordery, The Role of Music by Alan Dilnot, Phiz Illustrations by Philip V. Allingham, Assorted Characters Down Under by Alan Dilnot, Copperfield on Screen, Stage and Book by David Smith, Philip V. Allingham and Donald Hawes, James Townsend Saward by Jennifer Carnell, Augustus Dickens: Part Two 1856-1866 by Lucinda Dickens Hawksley, The Future of Dickens by Michael Hollington and Copperfield, Dickens and Myself by Alan S. Watts. Each article is illustrated.
It costs £28 for the four issues.

April 2011

A new book has just been published by The Sensation Press.

James Townsend Saward, Criminal Barrister: The True Story of Jim the Penman by Jennifer Carnell is a biography of the Victorian barrister and forger who was described as a 'real-life' Professor Moriarty.

James Townsend Saward, Criminal Barrister

A new sales sections has been added to The Sensation Press webiste:

Victorian Theatre Posters and Playbills

March 2011

A book co-authored by a Sensation Press customer that may be of interest to others is William Newman A Victorian Cartoonist in London and New York by Jane E. Brown and Richard Samuel West.
It is published by Periodyssey Press.

A set of 17 Braddon novels in leather bindings

14 July 2010

Special offer: the remaining copies of the limited edition Lady Audley's Secret Play by George Roberts are now free with a purchase of The White Phantom

1 July 2010

Forthcoming Publications for 2010 and 2011 to be announced.

Adverts from the Victorian Advertising pages feature in two new television programmes for BBC2: Ben Fogle's Escape in Time and Victorian Pharmacy.

26 January 2009

Professor Sally Ledger, who was my PhD supervisor, has died. She was such a wonderful person, and I could not have
asked for a better or more understanding tutor. The Birkbeck College English Department has an obituary page:

She had recently joined the English Department at Royal Holloway as Hildred Carlisle Professor in English
and was Director of the Centre for Victorian Studies:

Obituary in The Guardian by Tom Healy:

20 December 2008

Two more plays:

Aurora Floyd by William Suter, click here.

Lady Audley's Secret by William Suter, click here.

20 November 2007

A new Sensation Press title is published today.
A limited edition (100 copies) of the 1863 play Lady Audley's Secret by George Roberts. For more details click here.

16 September 2007

A message from Simon Cooke for those interested in Sheridan Le Fanu:

The Journal of Le Fanu Studies, a new on-line publication has recently been launched by Gary Crawford. The Journal is a refereed periodical that publishes essays on all aspects of Le Fanu's life, writings and times, including modern interpretations in film and television and on the radio.

Contributors should get in touch with Gary Crawford, e-mail: or visit the website.


Moulding the Female Body in Victorian Fairy Tales and Sensation Novels by Laurence Talairach-Vielmas has recently been published by Ashgate. In it she writes about Braddon's Lady Audley's Secret, Rhoda Broughton's Not Wisely But Too Well, Armadale and The Law and the Lady by Wilkie Collins, and other works.

Yevgeny Feldman's translation of Lady Audley's Secret was published in Russia in April.

I haven't had a chance to see it, but Sensation Press reader B recommends From Sensation to Society: Representations of Marriage in the Fiction of Mary Elizabeth Bradden, 1862-1866 by Natalie Schroeder and Ronald A. Schroeder. It is published by the University of Delaware.

M and B tell me there is a new 5 hour audio book edition of Lady Audley's Secret, read by Juliet Stephenson. It is produced by CSA and priced at £15.99.

26 June 2007

The antiquarian & secondhand copies of Braddon novels for sale can now be found here.

28 March 2007

The latest edition of the Dickens Magazine, Series 4, Issue No. 3, has an article about Braddon. The magazine is edited by Alan Watts.
and has interesting articles on Dickens and other authors. It costs £28 to subscribe to a series of four issues.

9 March 2007

Yevgeny Feldman, a poet from Siberia, has told me his Russian translation of Lady Audley's Secret will soon be published by Geleos in Moscow.

6 January 2007

The next Sensation Press book to be published will be Mary, Braddon's last novel. Mary was published in 1916, the year after her death and the Sensation Press edition will include a number of interesting extras in addition to the text. Date of publication to be announced, but more can be read about the contents here:

2 May 2006

After two decades of work, Kurt Ganzl has completed his biography of Emily Soldene - EMILY SOLDENE: In Search of a Singer. It's in two volumes, lavishly illustrated, and published in New Zealand in a limited edition of 500 sets by Steele Roberts. Further details can be found

25 March 2006

Due to computer problems, I've been delayed adding this; Jessica Cox now has a website and a conference booking form. Forms should be returned to her by 31 March.

6 February 2006

The deadline for conference abstracts has been extended to 22 February.
To express an interest in this event, ask to be placed on the mailing list,
or to submit a 150-200 word abstract, email Jessica at:

25 January 2006

A reminder from Jessica Cox that the deadline for abstracts for the Braddon Symposium is the 31 January.

25 December 2005

Merry Christmas! To see a Christmas card sent by Mary Braddon from Lichfield House in 1913 click:

The David Pae page has recently been updated.

14 December 2005

Jessica Cox is planning a one day Braddon conference to be held at the University of Wales, Swansea in April. Jessica would like to hear from anyone interested in presenting a paper. Full details below.


To be held at
University of Wales Swansea
22 April 2006

This one-day conference seeks to draw together scholars working on all aspects of Mary Elizabeth Braddon's life and fiction.

Possible topics for 20 minute papers might include:

· Braddon and the literary marketplace
· Braddon and the theatre
· Braddon's twentieth century fiction
· Adaptations of Braddon's novels
· Braddon and the sensation school
· Representations of gender in Braddon's work
· Braddon's literary influences
· Braddon's influence on other writers
· Autobiographical elements of Braddon's fiction
· Braddon's writing as social commentary
· Braddon's significance/legacy as a Victorian woman writer

Abstract deadline: 31 January 2006

To express an interest in this event, ask to be placed on the mailing list, or to submit a 150-200 word abstract, email:

13 December 2005

I should have mentioned that I sent the Braddon books in memory of Chris Willis to Richmond Museum in September. The bookplate which has been pasted in each can be seen here.

1 November 2005

Michael Flowers now has a terrific new website on Charlotte Riddell (Mrs. J.H. Riddell)

16 August 2005

I would like to recommend the recent four volume publication of Wilkie Collins's letters: The Public Face of Wilkie Collins: The Collected Letters (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2005) edited by William Baker, Andrew Gasson, Graham Law, and Paul Lewis.

21 June 2005

The Sensation Press edition of Braddon's The White Phantom is complete. The publication date is 30 June.

21 February 2005

The books I gave Richmond Museum in memory of Chris Willis can be seen here.
(Update: as Richmond Museum never bothered to acknowledge their arrival I don't think they were remotely interested)

7 January 2005

There are to be two more performances of the play Secrets and Rumours: The Unconventional Life of M. E. Braddon by Doug Pinchin and Richard Morris. The venue is The Mill Studio at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, Surrey. The dates are Friday 18 February & Saturday 19 February. You can find further details and booking information here.

29 November 2004

Matthew Sweet has written an obituary of Chris Willis for today's issue of The Independent:

17 November 2004

It is with great sadness that I inform those who have not read the news elsewhere, that Chris Willis died last week. Chris was a wonderful person and a friend to me, as well as my biggest cheerleader when I founded The Sensation Press. Her interests were wide and eclectic, but among them included the life and work of Mary Elizabeth Braddon. Her Braddon website, and the Braddon discussion list she founded, did much to promote Braddon and to bring those interested in Braddon together. She organised two Braddon conferences, one in 2000 - Mary Elizabeth Braddon and the Culture of Sensation - and The Sensational Miss Braddon in 2004. She edited and wrote the introduction for The Fatal Marriage for The Sensation Press and last year edited The Trail of The Serpent for Random House. My thoughts go out to her partner and family.

6 September 2004

There are to be two more performances of the play Secrets and Rumours: The Unconventional Life of M. E. Braddon by Doug Pinchin and Richard Morris. The venue is the National Trust property Ham House, near Richmond, Surrey. The dates are Sunday 19 September & Sunday 26 September. You can find further details and booking information here. It should be an excellent night's entertainment.

23 June 2004

Over the past few months there have been additions to the book sections and to the Braddon pages. The Recommended Websites page has been updated. The website will be frequently updated in future.

12 January 2004

The Sensational Miss Braddon: A 19th Century Author with a 21st Century Life, an exhibition at the Museum of Richmond in Surrey, opens on Wednesday 14 January. It will continue until 24 April. The full press release and the address of the Museum can be viewed here:

Secrets and Rumours: The Unconventional Life of M. E. Braddon, a new play starring Sabina Franklyn by Doug Pinchin and Richard Morris, will be performed at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond on Sunday 25 January 2004. There will be a matinee and evening performance. The flier and further details can be found here: secretsrumours The programme for the production can he viewed here:

15 December 2003

The Sensation Press website has been updated considerably.

The ever industrious Chris Willis is organising a Braddon conference to coincide with the end of the Braddon events (an exhibition of Braddon's life and work and a play by Doug Pinchin) in Richmond. The conference is to be held on 30 March 2004, and details can be found here:

11 August 2003

An article about Braddon by Lucasta Miller, 'Sweet Sensation,' appeared in the Guardian review section two days ago. It's a fun read. Thanks to Jessica on the Braddon list for the heads up. A link to the article can be found below.,12084,1014704,00.html

22 July 2003

1. The Antiquarian and Secondhand book section have been added to.

2. A small number of slightly faulty copies of Sensation Press titles at reduced prices can be found here.

3. The Mary Elizabeth Braddon pages have been added to, and there will be further updates over the next couple of weeks.

3 April 2003

1. The main news is the creation of this site. After a few months of saying it would be ready soon, it is finally on the web! It will be updated and added to frequently, so keep checking for new information and new pages.

2. An extract of a review of The Literary Lives of Mary Elizabeth Braddon in the journal Victorian Periodicals Review by Prof. Benjamin F. Fisher can be read on the site Victorian Database Online Critic's Choice:



1. An edition of The Trail of the Serpent by Mary Elizabeth Braddon has just been published by Random House (UK price £8.92), with an introduction by Sarah Waters (author of Tipping the Velvet) and edited with notes by Chris Willis. Chris has done an excellent job. It is available at all good bookshops in America and the United Kingdom and can be found in the UK at Amazon:

2. An very interesting little publication by Helen R. Smith, New Light on Sweeney Todd,Thomas Peckett Prest,James Malcolm Rymer and Elizabeth Caroline Grey, will be of use to those interested in penny dreadfuls and penny bloods. Priced £7.50, it can be found at AmazonUK:


Written and maintained by Jennifer Carnell.

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