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Dramatic Disappearances: Mary Elizabeth Braddon and the Staging of Theatrical Character

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 October 2008

Ruth Burridge Lindemann
University of Illinois


Finding themselves with more money and more time in which to spend it, the middle classes began in the 1860s to renegotiate their relationship to the arts, and to theater in particular. Recording and rendering visible this process of cultural change are the popular sensation novels of Mary Elizabeth Braddon, author of Lady Audley's Secret, and the numerous dramatic adaptations of her work. Braddon shares with Charles Dickens and Sir Walter Scott the distinction of being one of the novelists whose work was most frequently adapted for the stage. Unlike Dickens, however, she often responded favorably to the efforts of her adapters. This congenial relationship resulted, no doubt, from the three years she spent performing on the provincial stage in the late 1850s. Her continuing interest in the theater and theater people is reflected in their frequent appearance in her novels.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1997

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