The Sensation Mania and the Victorian Psychological Underworld
Prof. Taher Badinjki
This paper reconsiders the emergence and growth of the sensation mania of the 1860s that broke from the accepted social norms and tried to unearth aspects of criminality and passion beneath the respectable surface. It addresses some important questions concerning the members of this group, the popularity it achieved, the factors that helped its emergence, what the ensuing moral panic reveals about the society in which the novels were set, the impact of this phenomenon on later novels and novelists, and the emergence of the neo-sensational novel in contemporary literature. Moreover, the paper tries to probe the link between these novels and the Victorian psychological underworld and the political unconscious of their age. This is done on four interrelated levels: The gender roles, the legal aspect of the family, the social class and relations between classes and finally. A fourth and last level deals with „property? and its effect on the family.
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