Richard Marsh, popular fiction and literary culture, 1890–1915

Rereading the fin de siècle

Edited by Victoria Margree, Daniel Orrells and Minna Vuohelainen

Richard Marsh, popular fiction and literary culture, 1890–1915


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-2434-0
  • Pages: 248
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £75.00
  • Published Date: March 2018
  • BIC Category: Literature, LITERARY CRITICISM / Mystery & Detective, LITERARY CRITICISM / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Literature & literary studies / Literature: history & criticism, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: c 1800 to c 1900
  • Series: Interventions: Rethinking the Nineteenth Century


Richard Marsh was one of the most popular and prolific authors of the late-Victorian and Edwardian periods. His bestselling The Beetle: A Mystery (1897) outsold Bram Stoker's Dracula. A prolific author within a range of genres including Gothic, crime, humour and romance, Marsh produced stories about shape-shifting monsters, morally dubious heroes, lip-reading female detectives and objects that come to life. However, while Marsh's work appealed to a public greedy for sensationalist fiction, both the cultural elite of the day and twentieth-century literary critics looked askance at his popular middlebrow fiction. In the wake of the recent rediscovery of Marsh's fiction, this essay collection builds on burgeoning scholarly interest in the author. Marsh emerges here as a fascinating writer who helped shape the genres of popular fiction and whose stories offer surprising responses to issues of criminality, gender and empire in this period of cultural transition.


Victoria Margree is Principal Lecturer in the Humanities at the University of Brighton

Daniel Orrells is Reader in Ancient Literature and Its Reception at King's College London

Minna Vuohelainen is Lecturer in English at City, University of London


1 Introduction - Victoria Margree, Daniel Orrells and Minna Vuohelainen
Part I: Richard Marsh and topical discourses of crime
2 Tall tales and true: Richard Marsh and late-Victorian journalism - Nick Freeman
3 Mrs Musgrave's stain of madness: Marsh and the female offender - Johan Höglund
4 'The most dangerous thing in England'? Detection, deviance and disability in Richard Marsh's Judith Lee stories - Minna Vuohelainen
Part II: Richard Marsh, masculinity and money
5 Speculative society, risk and the crime thriller: The Datchet Diamonds - Victoria Margree
6 'The crowd would have it that I was a hero': populism, New Humour and the male clerk in Marsh's Sam Briggs adventures - Mackenzie Bartlett
Part III: Richard Marsh and the imperial Gothic
7 'In that Egyptian den': situating The Beetle within the fin-de-siècle fiction of Gothic Egypt - Ailise Bulfin
8 Automata, plot machinery and the imperial Gothic in Richard Marsh's The Goddess - Neil Hultgren
Part IV: Richard Marsh and object relations
9 'Something was going from me - the capacity, as it were, to be myself': 'transformational objects' and the Gothic fiction of Richard Marsh - Graeme Pedlingham
10 Decadent aesthetics and Richard Marsh's The Mystery of Philip Bennion's Death - Daniel Orrells
11 'Something on which you may exercise your ingenuity': diamonds and curious collectables in the fin-de-siècle fiction of Richard Marsh - Jessica Allsop

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