Queen Eleanor and Fair Rosamond
A Broadview Anthology of British Literature Edition
  • Publication Date: October 30, 2018
  • ISBN: 9781554814275 / 1554814278
  • 120 pages; 5½" x 8½"
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Queen Eleanor and Fair Rosamond

A Broadview Anthology of British Literature Edition

  • Publication Date: October 30, 2018
  • ISBN: 9781554814275 / 1554814278
  • 120 pages; 5½" x 8½"

Margaret Oliphant was widely recognized at the time of her death as one of the great Victorian writers of fiction—and, after a long period of eclipse, her fiction has in the twenty-first century begun to be again considered alongside that of such writers as Elizabeth Gaskell, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Anthony Trollope, and Thomas Hardy. Yet many of Oliphant’s works remain unavailable—including many of the works of short fiction that arguably constitute her most accessible and most accomplished body of work.

In introducing the collection in which the novella Queen Oliphant and Fair Rosamond first appeared in book form, J.M. Barrie argued that Oliphant’s stories represent “some of her finest work—indeed nearly all of her deepest imaginings have appeared … in this form.” He went on to suggest that, in Queen Eleanor and Fair Rosamond Oliphant “gives us … as terrible and grim a picture of a man tired of fifty years of respectability as was ever written.” At least as important is the picture she gives us of the wife of that man. It is the wife, indeed, who is at the center of Queen Eleanor and Fair Rosamond, which recounts the story of Mr. and Mrs. Lycett-Landon—“two middle-aged people in the fullness of life and prosperity”—and of what becomes of their marriage when Mr. Lycett-Landon (of the Liverpool office of cotton-brokers Lycett, Landon, Fareham & Co.) becomes uncommunicative while on an extended business trip to the company’s London office.

In addition to an illuminating introduction, this edition includes a variety of background materials that help to set this important and engaging work of short fiction in its literary and historical context.

APPENDICES

The Legend of Fair Rosamond

  • from “Fair Rosamond,” Thomas Percy, Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (1765)
  • from Mary Russell Mitford, Dramatic Scenes, Sonnets, and Other Poems (1827)
  • from Pierce Egan, Fair Rosamond, An Historical Romance (1844)

Bigamy Laws

  • Section 22, Offences against the Person Act (1828)
  • Section 57, Offences against the Person Act (1861)

Bigamy in Sensation Novels

  • from Wilkie Collins, The Two Destinies (1876)
  • from Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Phantom Fortune (1883)

Contemporary Reactions to Queen Eleanor and Fair Rosamond

  • from “Magazines for January,” “Magazines for February,” The Sunday Times (1886)
  • from “Cornhill Magazine (January, February, March),” The London Quarterly and Holborn Review (1886)
  • from “Recent Short Stories,” The Spectator (1898)

J.M. Barrie on Oliphant and on “Queen Eleanor and Fair Rosamond”

  • J.M. Barrie, Introductory Note to The Widow’s Tale and Other Stories (1898)

Victorian London and Liverpool

  • from Isabella Beeton, The Book of Household Management (1861)
  • from George and Weedon Grossmith, Diary of a Nobody (1888-9)
  • from Black’s Guide to Liverpool and Birkenhead (1871)
  • Images of Liverpool

Pam Perkins, a Professor in the English Department at the University of Manitoba, has published widely on eighteenth and nineteenth century fiction; she has previously edited two volumes in the Broadview Editions series (Robert Bage’s Hermsprong and Elizabeth Hamilton’s Letters of a Hindoo Rajah).