The Sensation Novel Overviews - Essay


(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

Temple Bar (essay date 1870)

SOURCE: "Our Novels," in Temple Bar, Vol. XXIX, No. CXV, April, 1870, pp. 410-24.

[In the following essay, the author discusses conventions and themes of the sensation novel from a nineteenth-century perspective.]

The Sensational School

In attempting to treat the second branch of our subject—the School of Sensational Novels—we are confronted on the very threshold with a challenge, if not, indeed, with a difficulty. What is a sensational novel? And by what principle of discrimination do we affix to any existing class of romance this special and scarcely complimentary title? (There...

(The entire section is 23948 words.)