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“THE DISEASE, WHICH HAD HITHERTO BEEN NAMELESS”: M. E. BRADDON'S CHALLENGE TO MEDICAL AUTHORITY IN BIRDS OF PREY AND CHARLOTTE'S INHERITANCE

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 February 2010

Nicki Buscemi*
Affiliation:
University of Iowa

Extract

Mary Elizabeth Braddon launched her editorship of Belgravia magazine by painting a picture for her readers of a murderous medical practitioner. At the outset of Birds of Prey (1867), the serial novel which kicked off the magazine's publication, Braddon introduces us to a surgeon-dentist named Philip Sheldon. The narrator ironically explains, “Of course he was eminently respectable . . . A householder with such a door-step and such muslin curtains could not be other than the most correct of mankind” (7; bk. 1, ch. 1). Sensation novels of the 1860s have long been critically recognized as vehicles for revealing the disparity between respectable façades and seedy interior truths, and Braddon's underexamined work Birds of Prey and its sequel Charlotte's Inheritance (1868) are no exception: by the close of the second novel, the seemingly upright Sheldon has been revealed as a liar, a cheat, and a killer.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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References

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“THE DISEASE, WHICH HAD HITHERTO BEEN NAMELESS”: M. E. BRADDON'S CHALLENGE TO MEDICAL AUTHORITY IN BIRDS OF PREY AND CHARLOTTE'S INHERITANCE
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“THE DISEASE, WHICH HAD HITHERTO BEEN NAMELESS”: M. E. BRADDON'S CHALLENGE TO MEDICAL AUTHORITY IN BIRDS OF PREY AND CHARLOTTE'S INHERITANCE
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“THE DISEASE, WHICH HAD HITHERTO BEEN NAMELESS”: M. E. BRADDON'S CHALLENGE TO MEDICAL AUTHORITY IN BIRDS OF PREY AND CHARLOTTE'S INHERITANCE
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