Birkbeck Forum for Nineteenth-Century Studies
Peltz Gallery at 43 Gordon Square, London
November 11, 2013
The next Birkbeck Forum for Nineteenth-Century Studies event will feature Tabitha Sparks (McGill) presenting on “The Symbolic Economy of Disease in Sensation and Satire: Lady Audley's Secret and Dr Phillips: A Maida Vale Idyll” on Monday November 11, 2013 from 6:00-8:00pm in the Peltz Gallery at 43 Gordon Square, London, UK, WC1H 0PD.
Julia Frankau's Dr Phillips: A Maida Vale Idyll (1887) has generated a range of convincing explanations for this Jewish novelist's belligerent treatment of late-century London Jews. Attention to the novel's generic signs, and particularly its echoes of Mary Braddon's foundational sensation novel Lady Audley's Secret (1862), however, can inflect Frankau's text with a somewhat different interpretation of its explicit racism. This paper follows the fortunes of the anti-heroines and the relationships between errant sexuality and medical management in both novels, and treats Braddon's and Frankau's representations of hereditary disease insanity and syphilis as narrative registers of moral censure and irony, respectively. This perspective tilts Dr Phillips towards parody, and so destabilizes a straightforward reading of Frankau's racism.