Lady Audley’s Secret
  • Publication Date: August 19, 2003
  • ISBN: 9781551113579 / 1551113570
  • 510 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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Lady Audley’s Secret

  • Publication Date: August 19, 2003
  • ISBN: 9781551113579 / 1551113570
  • 510 pages; 5½" x 8½"

Lady Audley’s Secret (1862) was one of the most widely read novels in the Victorian period. The novel exemplifies “sensation fiction” in featuring a beautiful criminal heroine, an amateur detective, blackmail, arson, violence, and plenty of suspenseful action. To its contemporary readers, it also offered the thrill of uncovering blackmail and criminal violence within the homes of the upper class. The novel makes trenchant critiques of Victorian gender roles and social stereotypes, and it creates significant sympathy for the heroine, despite her criminal acts, as she suffers from the injustices of the “marriage market” and rebels against them.

This Broadview edition includes a critical introduction and a broad selection of primary source material, including reproductions of the twenty-two woodcut illustrations from the London Journal serialization of the novel, extracts from two Victorian dramatizations of the work, satirical commentaries, and contemporary reviews.


“This impressive, scholarly new edition brings together a wealth of supplementary material, much of which is almost unobtainable elsewhere. Several fascinating appendices include contemporary parodies of the novel, extracts from stage versions, contemporary criticism and well-chosen extracts from Braddon’s other work. Natalie Houston’s scholarly introduction provides useful insights into Braddon’s life and work. This edition will be invaluable to anyone studying or teaching the novel, or just reading it for enjoyment.” — Chris Willis, Birkbeck College

“This intelligent edition offers a wonderful introduction not just to Lady Audley’s Secret, but to the whole publishing phenomenon of sensation fiction. By emphasizing questions of alterable identity, the new Victorian culture of information, and the relationship of fiction to other media, Natalie Houston compellingly brings home the connection of this novel with many important issues today.” — Kate Flint, Rutgers University

Mary Elizabeth Braddon: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text

Lady Audley’s Secret

Appendix A: The Serialization of Lady Audley’s Secret

  1. The Serial Texts of Lady Audley’s Secret
  2. The Illustrations from The London Journal

Appendix B: Dramatizations

  1. George Roberts, Lady Audley’s Secret. A Drama in Two Acts (1863)
  2. William E. Suter, Lady Audley’s Secret. A Drama in Two Acts (1871)

Appendix C: Satires

  1. “Rhymes for the Very Young,” Punch (11 April 1863)
  2. Thomas Hood,“Maurora Maudley; or Bigamy and Buttons,” Beeton’s Christmas Annual (1864)
  3. “Sensation! A Satire,” Dublin University Magazine (January 1864)

Appendix D: Reviews

  1. [Eneas Sweetland Dallas,] The Times, 18 November 1862
  2. The Spectator, 1791 (1862)
  3. “Our Female Sensation Novelists,” Christian Remembrancer 46 (1863)
  4. “Our Survey of Literature and Science,” Cornhill Magazine 7( January 1863)
  5. [H.L. Mansel,] “Sensation Novels,” Quarterly Review 113 (April 1863)

Appendix E: The New Criminal Heroine

  1. Eliza Lynn Linton, “Little Women,” Saturday Review 25 (April 1868)
  2. E.S. Dallas, The Gay Science (1866)

Appendix F: Mary Elizabeth Braddon and Penny Fiction

  1. Lady Caroline Lascelles (pseud.), The Black Band; or, The Mysteries of Midnight (1861)
  2. Mary Elizabeth Braddon, The Doctor’s Wife (1864)

Select Bibliography

Natalie M. Houston is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Houston.