Victorian Sensationalism in Post-Civil War America: The American Reception of Sensational British Women Authors, 1865-1899

2014-09-07T10:45:37Z (GMT) by Stephanie Kay
<p>This thesis presents research on the topic of the American reception of sensational fiction by British women writers after the Civil War. The first chapter provides a background of postbellum American society and literature, showing that elite postbellum authors were critical of American culture, demonstrating an appreciation for British culture instead. In addition, the first chapter explores how piracy played a role in American publishing and was a point of contention between prominent periodicals, the leaders of American high culture. The second chapter discusses the popularity of sensational fiction in American society as well as the position of female authors in American literary culture. It is argued that sensationalism and realism were portrayed as gendered opposites, leading to the exclusion of American women authors from high literature. In the third chapter, the rise and fall of sensational British women writers in the United States is analyzed. They are shown to have been successful in postbellum American society, notwithstanding the censorship of their work by elite American institutions. However, with the introduction of the Copyright Act of 1891, they lost their position in American culture.</p>