Unfortunately, blogging has taken a back seat recently, what with finishing chapter one of my thesis and giving my inaugural conference paper. I’m not sure which was more stressful, but hopefully it can only get easier from hereon in. However, my book buying remains undiminished, and I have a few acquisitions to share with you. An impromptu visit to Old Spitalfields Market (on the way home from the wonderful Women’s Library) resulted in a pristine copy of Steven Marcus’ The Other Victorians for just £3. I’ve had my beady eye on this tome for a while, as it’s going to be useful in my penultimate chapter. I haven’t included the informative subtitle, as I don’t want to attract the Wrong Sort to my blog. Suffice it to say, the work discusses the seamier side of nineteenth-century literature.
George Moore’s A Drama in Muslin is also a tad racy, in so far as it counts amongst its characters a very cross lesbian. This was the third of Moore’s novels to be banned by the circulating libraries, but it’s actually fairly tame in comparison with his other work. I’m currently working on a critical edition of Moore’s A Mummer’s Wife, which is a rather frank portryal of a bored housewife who ends up an alcoholic prostitute.
Mathilda Betham-Edwards: Novelist, Travel Writer and Francophile is a slim biography of an eminent Victorian, who is one of the writers included in Notable Women Authors of the Day, a series of interviews by Helen C. Black. I am in the midst of writing updated profiles on all 30 of them for a new Victorian Secrets edition of the book.
Finally, I have a lovely new Broadview edition of Rhoda Broughton’s Cometh Up as a Flower, edited by Pamela K. Gilbert. For anyone unfamiliar with the novel, it’s an engaging story of a heroine torn between duty to her family and her own passion – not an unusual plot in itself, but told with Broughton’s lively, witty and sometimes acerbic voice. Excitingly, I’m mentioned in the footnotes, having helped identify the novel read by Nell towards the end. I also have a footnote in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and am hopeful of sneaking into an actual paragraph at some point.