Marie Corelli: Modernism, Morality, and Metaphysics

1st Edition

Carol Margaret Davison, Elaine M. Hartnell

November 13, 2019 Forthcoming
Reference - 152 Pages
ISBN 9780367405267 - CAT# 333747
Series: Historical Women's Writing

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This collection reappraises and retheorizes Marie Corelli’s diverse fictional writings and locates them in their contemporary literary and social context.

Marie Corelli [1855-1924] was a fabulously popular novelist in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Yet, in her day, critics railed against her taste for sentimentality, melodrama, supernatural worlds, and overt didacticism. Many critics are still ambivalent about her writing. However, in their reappraisal, the contributors to this volume largely circumvent the earlier critics and engage afresh with Corelli’s writing strategies; genre choices; representations of social issues; and ideas about science, metaphysics, and morality. Moving beyond the now outdated project of "recovery", the volume also discusses Corelli’s literary market place, analysing both her publishing successes and her decline in popularity. An important theme throughout is Corelli’s troubled relationship with an emerging literary Modernism and an ever-widening gulf between high and popular culture. The contributors interrogate the critical templates, assumptions, and biases of a literary establishment (past and present) centred on Modernist tropes and structures. As a result, the Corelli they unearth is not a defective Modernist but an innovative and original writer who eschewed the dictates of a movement with which she had no empathy.

This book was originally published as a special issue of Women’s Writing.

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