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About Nineteenth-Century Fiction


Nineteenth-Century Fiction collects 250 British and Irish novels from the period 1782 to 1903, stretching from the golden age of Gothic fiction to the Decadent and New Woman novels of the 1890s. Major novelists of the period such as Austen, Scott, Mary Shelley, Dickens, Eliot, Hardy and the Brontës feature alongside popular romances, sensation fiction, colonial adventure novels and children’s literature.

Nineteenth-Century Fiction represents the great achievements of the Victorian canon and reflects the landmarks of the period, portraying the genre in all its energy and variety, from Gothic horror to social satire, from moral earnestness to aestheticism, from masculine adventure to feminist polemic. In addition to the better-known novels, the collection covers many neglected or little-known works, most of them out of print or difficult to find.

Contents include:

  • Comprehensive representation of the major authors of the period, ranging from the complete works of Jane Austen and George Eliot, to broad representative selections from the works of the Brontë sisters, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Walter Scott, William Makepeace Thackeray and Anthony Trollope, among others
  • Gothic novels,  for example Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794), Matthew Lewis’s The Monk (1796), Thomas Love Peacock’s Nightmare Abbey (1818) and two versions of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818 and 1831)
  • The ‘Silver Fork’ school, particularly Lady Caroline Lamb’s Glenarvon (1816), Susan Ferriar’s Marriage (1818), Benjamin Disraeli’s Vivian Grey (1826–27), Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s Pelham (1828) and Catherine Gore’s Mrs Armytage (1836)
  • ‘New Woman’ novels, such as Olive Schreiner’s The Story of an African Farm (1883), George Gissing’s The Odd Women (1893) and Grant Allen’s The Woman Who Did (1895)
  • Popular fiction, including R.M. Ballantyne’s The Coral Island (1858), Mary Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret (1862), Charles Kingsley’s The Water-Babies (1863), Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty (1877), Richard Jefferies’ Bevis (1882) and H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines (1885)
  • Fin de siècle fictions, ranging from Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Sign of Four (1890) and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), to Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine (1895) and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897)

Editorial Policy

Nineteenth-Century Fiction contains 250 complete works of prose fiction by 102 authors from the period 1782 to 1903. Each text is reproduced in full, including all prefatory matter and annotation by the original author. Bibliographic details are included from each of the editions used along with illustrations where available.

Editorial Board

Professor Danny Karlin, University College, London
Dr Tom Keymer, St Anne's College, Oxford


The principles guiding the choice of editions are as follows:

  • In general, the first editions to be published in volume form have been adopted.
  • Prior magazine serialisations and corrected second editions have occasionally been preferred.
  • Later lifetime editions have been used in a few cases where extensive authorial revision has made them the standard versions. The text of Frankenstein is given twice in different states, to represent the wide variations between different editions.
  • In all cases in which serialisation of a work preceded publication in volume form, details of the vehicle and dates of first publication are given.