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The Style and Genre of Lady Audleys Secret Lady Audleys Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon is a novel of many elements It has been placed in many different style or genre categories since its publication I feel that it best fits under the melodrama or sensational genre and under the subgenre of mystery It contains significant elements of both types of writing so I feel it is best to recognize both keeping in mind that melodrama is its main device and mystery is a type of Victorian melodrama In order to understand how the story fits into these categories it is necessary to explore the Victorian characteristics of each and apply them to the text In addition to establishing the genres it is important to explain why and how these genres fit into Victorian culture The term melodrama has come to be applied to any play with romantic plot in which an author manipulates events to act on the emotions of the audience without regard for character development or logic Microsoft Encarta In order to classify as a Victorian melodrama several key techniques must be used including proximity and familiarity to the audience deceit rather than vindictive malice lack of character development and especially the role of social status The sensational novel is usually a tale of our own times Proximity is indeed one great element of sensation A tale which aims to electrify the nerves of the reader is never thoroughly effective unless the scene be laid out in our own days and among the people we are in the habit of meeting In keeping with mid-Victorian themes Lady Audleys Secret is closely connected to the street literature and newspaper accounts of real crimes The crimes in Braddons novel are concealed and secret Like the crimes committed by respected doctors and trusted ladies the crimes in Lady Audleys Secret shock because of their unexpectedness Crime in the melodrama of the fifties
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