Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Karen L. Cajka

Committee Members

Judith B. Slagle, William Styron Harris Jr.


Why do we read what we read? Janice Radway examines works that were not popular in an author's time period, but now are affecting the construction of the canon. In her own words, Radway seeks to "establish [popular literature] as something other than a watered-down version of a more authentic high culture [and] to present the middlebrow positively as a culture with its own particular substance and intellectual coherence" (208). Mary Elizabeth Braddon's novels were considered "middlebrow" and were very popular in Victorian England. Along with this facet, her heroines were considered controversial because they were not portrayed as what would be labeled a "proper female" in Victorian society. The popularity of her novels, her heroines, along with facets of her personal life, keep her from being recognized as one of the foremost authors in the Victorian period.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access


Copyright by the authors.