Beyond Scandal: Seeking Morality in Sensation Fiction
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Contemporary critics condemned sensation novels on the grounds of excessive immorality. However, three of the most popular sensation novels display a pattern of increased social status as a reward for good behavior is common, clearly suggesting that notions about the genre as immoral are misguided. The thesis demonstrates the ways upward social migration rewards good behavior, while the downward spiral of those in social power as punishment for immoral behavior indicates that the sensation novel actually supports a very traditional framework of Victorian morality, rather than disrupting morality.