This is the first full-length study of the popular Victorian writer Catherine Crowe (1790-1872). Crowe is increasingly being recognised as an important and influential figure in the literary and Spiritualist circles of the nineteenth century. This monograph offers a reassessment of her major works, arguing that her writing is prescient. Best known today for her collection of "real" ghost tales The Night Side of Nature: or of Ghosts and Ghost Seers, Crowe also wrote five popular novels as well as numerous short stories and essays. Innovative and sometimes original in their use of genre, her works cover the Newgate genre, help to initiate detective fiction, include elements of the social problem novels of the 1840s, and point the way to the sensation novels of the 1860s. Politically radical in many ways Crowe was vocal about women’s oppression by men, social inequality, poverty, slavery, and animal rights. This volume aims to restore an author who was "[o]nce as famous as Dickens or Thackeray" (Wilson 1986, v) to her proper place in the scholarly discussion of Victorian literature.
Table of Contents
Part One: From Newgate to Sensation
Chapter One: The Newgate Novel, Crime, and Detection in Catherine Crowe’s Early Fiction
Chapter Two: Forays into Sensation
Part Two: Realism and Politics
Chapter Three: Class, Poverty, and Realism
Chapter Four: Radical Social Politics
Part Three: Gender
Chapter Five: Women’s Position and Women’s Rights
Chapter Six: Crowe’s Men
Part Four: Supernature and the Gothic
Chapter Seven: Ghosts of the Old and New School
Chapter Eight: The Gothic Short Stories
Ruth Heholt is senior lecturer in English at Falmouth University, UK.