Cometh Up As A Flower
  • Publication Date: March 1, 2010
  • ISBN: 9781551118055 / 155111805X
  • 416 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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Cometh Up As A Flower

  • Publication Date: March 1, 2010
  • ISBN: 9781551118055 / 155111805X
  • 416 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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 tricked by her calculating sister into leaving her poor lover and marrying a wealthy man she does not love. 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

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 (1866–67)
  2. Epilogue to the Serial Version of the Novel (1867)
  3. Correspondence from the Bentley Archives (1866)

Appendix B: Contemporary Reviews of the Novel

  1. The London Review (16 March 1867)
  2. Athenaeum (20 April 1867)
  3. The Times (6 June 1867)
  4. The Spectator (19 October 1867)

Appendix C: Contemporary Reviews of Sensation Fiction

  1. “Sensation Novels,” Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine (May 1862)
  2. “Sensation Novels,” Medical Critic and Psychological Journal (1863)
  3. “Sensation Novels,” Quarterly Review (1863)
  4. “Novels,” Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine (September 1867)

Appendix D: Punch Magazine’s Parody of the Author

  1. From “Prefatory Correspondence” (18 March 1876)
  2. From Gone Wrong (1876)

Appendix E: Attitudes Toward Women and Marriage in Victorian Society

  1. From Sarah Stickney Ellis, The Daughters of England (1845)
  2. From Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792)
  3. From Marie Corelli, The Modern Marriage Market (1898)
  4. From Flora Annie Steel, The Modern Marriage Market (1898)
  5. From Susan, Countess of Malmesbury, The Modern Marriage Market (1898)

Appendix F: Discourses on Health in Victorian Medicine

  1. From Henry Ancell, A Treatise on Tuberculosis, the Constitutional Origin of Consumption and Scrofula
  2. From Sir James Clark, A Treatise on Pulmonary Consumption (1837)
  3. From T.H. Yeoman, M.D., Consumption of the Lungs, or Decline (1848)
  4. From Anon., The Causes and Prevention of Consumption (1835)
  5. From Rowland East, The Two Dangerous Diseases of England, Consumption and Apoplexy (1842)
  6. From Thomas Trotter, M.D., A View of the Nervous Temperament [1812]

Appendix G: Attitudes Toward Women and Sexuality

  1. From William Acton, The Functions and Disorders of the Reproductive Organs (1875)
  2. From Elizabeth Blackwell, “On the Abuses of Sex,” Essays in Medical Sociology (1902)
  3. From Eliza Lynn Linton, “The Girl of the Period,” Saturday Review (14 March 1868)

Select Bibliography

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