The women's sensation novel of the 1860s and the New Woman fiction of the 1890s were two major examples of a perceived feminine invasion of fiction which caused a critical furore in their day.
Both genres, with their shocking, `fast' heroines, fired the popular imagination by putting female sexuality on the literary agenda and undermining the `proper feminine' ideal to which nineteenth-century women and fictional heroines were supposed to aspire.
By exploring in impressive depth and breadth the material and discursive conditions in which these novels were produced, The `Improper' Feminine draws attention to key gendered interrelationships within the literary and wider cultures of the mid-Victorian and fin-de-diècle periods.
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