- Edited by Anne Humpherys, Lehman College, City University of New York, USA, and Louis James, University of Kent, UK
- Series : The Nineteenth Century Series
G.W.M. Reynolds (1814-1879) had a major impact on the mid-Victorian era that until now has been largely unacknowledged. A prolific novelist whose work had a massive circulation, and an influential journalist and editor, he was a man of contradictions in both his life and writing: a middle-class figure who devoted his life to working class issues but seldom missed a chance to profit from the exploitation of current issues; the founder of the radical newspaper Reynolds Weekly, as well as a bestselling author of historical romances, gothic and sensation novels, oriental tales, and domestic fiction; a perennial bankrupt who nevertheless ended his life prosperously.
A figure of such diversity requires a collaborative study. Bringing together a distinguished group of scholars, this volume does justice to the full range of Reynolds's achievement and influence. With proper emphasis on new work in the field, the contributors take on Reynolds's involvement with Chartism, serial publication, the mass market periodical, commodity culture, and the introduction of French literature into British consciousness, to name just a few of the topics covered. The Mysteries of London, the century's most widely read serial, receives the extensive treatment this long-running urban gothic work deserves. Adding to the volume's usefulness are comprehensive bibliographies of Reynolds's own writings and secondary criticism relevant to the study of this central figure in mid-nineteenth-century Britain.
Contents: Introduction, Anne Humpherys and Louis James; Part I Beginnings: France: G.W.M. Reynolds and the modern literature of France, Sara James; The French connection: G.W.M. Reynolds and the outlaw Robert Macaire, Rohan McWilliam. Part II Politics and the Periodical Press: Reynolds's Miscellany, 1846–1849: advertising networks and politics, Andrew King; G.W.M. Reynolds, Reynolds's Newspaper and popular politics, Michael H. Shirley; From journalism and fiction into politics, Michael Diamond; 'Some little or contemptible war upon her hands': Reynolds's Newspaper and empire, Anthony Taylor. Part III The Urban Mysteries: An introduction to G.W.M. Reynolds's 'encyclopedia of tales', Anne Humpherys; Lost in translation: the relationship between Eugène Sue's Les Mystères de Paris and G.W.M.Reynolds's The Mysteries of London, Berry Chevasco; The wrongs and crimes of the poor: the urban underworld of The Mysteries of London in context, Stephen James Carver; Reynolds's Mysteries and popular culture, Juliet John. Part IV Popular Culture: Time, politics and the symbolic imagination in Reynolds's social melodrama, Louis James; Reynolds's 'memoirs' series and 'the literature of the kitchen', Graham Law; The virtue of illegitimacy: inheritance and belonging in The Dark Woman and Mary Price, Ellen Bayuk Rosenman; The mysteries of reading: text and illustration in the fiction of G.W.M. Reynolds, Brian Maidment. Part V Afterlife: G.W.M. Reynolds: rewritten in 19th-century Bengal, Sucheta Bhattacharya; Modernity, memory and myth: Reynolds's News and the cooperative movement, Ian Haywood; A bibliography of works by G.W.M. Reynolds, Louis James; Bibliography of selected secondary materials on G.W.M Reynolds and his works, Helen Hauser; Index.
About the Editor: Anne Humpherys is Professor of English at Lehman College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, USA, and Professor Louis James is Emeritus Professor in Victorian and Modern Literature at the University of Kent, UK.
Reviews: 'Arresting and consistently absorbing, this collection on G.W.M. Reynolds has occasioned original research on this most mysterious of figures by the Reynolds experts alive today. Reynolds's huge part in nineteenth-century literary, political, and media culture is excavated to reveal facets of his diverse production – as editor, novelist, publisher, and proprietor. This largely unknown territory is mapped further by a bibliography of his elusive work and illustrations from it'.
Laurel Brake, Birkbeck, University of London, UK
‘Reynolds's career has been little surveyed in years past, his reputation eclipsed by his links to sensationalist literature. This collection acts as a timely corrective to commonplace assumptions about his work. It is the first major length survey of Reynolds's legacy in the areas of popular journalism and popular literature…’
‘The introduction by Anne Humpherys and Louis James explains what is known – and not known – about Reynold's biography and provides an overview of his work and a history of its reception. Conscientious footnotes to the sources and analyses of their contradictory assertions are actually at the foot of the page (for which Ashgate must be praised). In addition, the book has a good index and a single bibliography of secondary sources... . Studying or just sampling the works of G.W.M Reynolds has become much more widely possible, and the essays in this book provide essential adjuncts to research and appreciation.’
Journal of British Studies
‘This anthology is most welcome for its remarkable breadth, with essays ranging from Reynolds’s early life in Paris after his revolt against a military career, through to his reputation as a radical writer in twentieth-century Britain and Bengal. Like any good collection, it both defines current work and suggests new areas in need of further research.’