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Cometh Up as a Flower 

Cometh Up as a Flower

Written by: Rhoda Broughton
Edited by: Pamela K. Gilbert

Series: Broadview Editions

Publication Date: February 28, 2010
416pp • Paperback / PDF / ePub
ISBN: 9781551118055 / 155111805X

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An important sensation novel, Cometh Up as a Flower made Rhoda Broughton's reputation and fortune while also attracting harsh criticism. Nell LeStrange, the heroine, is torn between duty to her family and her own passion. What angered critics of the time was the heroine's frank discussion of her sexual attraction to her lover, and her dispassionate evaluation of loveless marriage as a form of self-sale. Broughton's lively, colloquial narrative voice, witty observations of contemporary manners, and sympathetic portrayal of the lives and feelings of young women, though no longer shocking, are as engaging now as they were to her readers of 1867.

This Broadview Edition includes an extensive selection of appendices on the novel's reception (including a parody of Broughton), Victorian discourses on health and medicine, and contemporary attitudes towards women, marriage, and sexuality.


"This excellent and affordable edition of Broughton's racy bestseller, with Pamela Gilbert's informative and accessible introduction, detailed explanatory notes, and extremely useful contextual material, is a valuable addition to the Broadview list of works by women writers of the nineteenth century." - Lyn Pykett, Aberystwyth University

"Students and general readers will revel in Broughton's compulsively readable novel, with its unusually frank discussions of the sexual politics of the marriage market and female erotic desires. Its vivid style and compelling subjects make Cometh Up as a Flower ideal for a modern syllabus. I was impressed by the exceptionally careful footnotes, the introduction that explains this novel's attitudes towards sexual, class, and racial issues, and the appendices about sensation fiction, Victorian medicine, and women's sexuality. This is an excellent edition of an exciting text." - Talia Schaffer, City University of New York

"Subtitled (like Jane Eyre) 'An Autobiography' and startlingly frank about women's erotic desire and claims for independence when it was published in 1867, Rhoda Broughton's Cometh Up as a Flower has been undeservedly ignored ever since. Broadview's textually responsible new edition, with footnotes to explain the narrator's sometimes-racy slang, will absorb readers and provide a welcome resource for scholars." - Sally Mitchell, Temple University

Pamela K. Gilbert is Albert Brick Professor of English at the University of Florida.

Academics please note that this is a title classified as having a restricted allocation of complimentary copies. While the availability of bound complimentary copies is restricted to desk copies only, electronic complimentary copies are readily available for those professors wishing to consider this title for possible course adoption. Should you choose to adopt the book after viewing an electronic copy we will be happy to provide a bound desk copy.

Table of Contents: [Back to Top]



Rhoda Broughton: A Brief Chronology

A Note on the Text

Cometh Up as a Flower

Appendix A: The Publication of the Novel

  1. Serialization in Dublin University Magazine
  2. Epilogue to the Serial Version of the Novel
  3. Correspondence from the Bentley Archives

Appendix B: Contemporary Reviews of the Novel

Appendix C: Contemporary Reviews of Sensation Fiction

Appendix D: Punch Magazine's Parody of the Author

  1. Extract from "Prefatory Correspondence" (18 March 1876)
  2. Extract from Gone Wrong (1876)

Appendix E: Attitudes Toward Women and Marriage in Victorian Society

  1. Sarah Ellis, The Daughters of England (1842)
  2. Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792)
  3. The Modern Marriage Market (1898)

Appendix F: Discourses on Health in Victorian Medicine

  1. Henry Ancell, A Treatise on Tuberculosis, the Constitutional Origin of Consumption and Scrofula (1852)
  2. Sir James Clark, A Treatise on Pulmonary Consumption (1837)
  3. T.H. Yeoman, M.D., Consumption of the Lungs, or Decline (1848)
  4. Anon., The Causes and Prevention of Consumption (1835)
  5. Rowland East, The Two Dangerous Diseases of England, Consumption and Apoplexy (1842)
  6. Thomas Trotter, M.D., A View of the Nervous Temperament (n.d.)

Appendix G: Attitudes Toward Women and Sexuality

  1. William Acton, The Functions and Disorders of the Reproductive Organs (1857)
  2. Elizabeth Blackwell, "On the Abuses of Sex," Essays in Medical Sociology (1902)
  3. Anon., "Fine Arts: Royal Academy," Athenaeum (10 May 1856)
  4. Eliza Lynn Linton, "The Girl of the Period," Saturday Review (14 March 1868)

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Cometh Up as a Flower

2010 • 416pp • Paperback • 9781551118055 / 155111805X

Instructors – Planning your syllabi? Consider this book for course use.

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Broadview Press acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund, and also acknowledges the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation. Freehand Books, an imprint of Broadview, acknowledges the support of the Canadian Council of the Arts.