chapter  11
10 Pages

Historicising genre (2): sensation fiction, women's genres and popular narrative forms

Gane Tompkins 1985:123) The evaluative system and its attendant process of cultural sifting described by Jane Tompkins (above) have not only played a crucial role in writing the women's sensation novel out of literary history, but were also important components of the contemporary critical response to sensation fiction, and constitutive elements of the genre itself. However, a variety of recent historical and theoretical work on popular forms and genres (particularly narrative forms by and for women) has enabled us to rethink the equations Tompkins outlines, and to reassess both the contemporary cultural meaning of sensation fiction, and its subsequent changing significances.