Aurora Floyd

Aurora Floyd

Aurora Floyd

Aurora Floyd


With Lady Audley's Secret, Mary Elizabeth Braddon had established herself, alongside Wilkie Collins and Mrs Henry Wood, as one of the ruling triumvirate of `sensation novelists'. Aurora Floyd (1862-3), following hot on its heels, achieved almost equal popularity and notoriety. Like Lady Audley, Aurora is a beautiful young woman bigamously married and threatened with exposure by a blackmailer. But in Aurora Floyd, and in many of the novels written in imitation of it, bigamy is little more than a euphemism, a device to enable the heroine, and vicariously the reader, to enjoy the forbidden sweets of adultery without adulterous intentions. Passionate, sometimes violent, Aurora does succeed in enjoying them, her desires scarcely chastened by her disastrous first marriage. She represents a challenge to the mid-Victorian sexual code, and particularly to the feminine ideal of simpering, angelic young ladyhood. P. D. Edward's introduction evaluates the novel's leading place among `bigamy-novels' and Braddon's treatment of the power struggle between the sexes, as well as considering the similarities between the author and her heroine.


Faint streaks of crimson glimmer here and there amidst the rich darkness of the Kentish woods. Autumn's red finger has been lightly laid upon the foliage--sparingly, as the artist puts the brighter tints into his picture: but the grandeur of an August sunset blazes upon the peaceful landscape, and lights all into glory.

The encircling woods and wide lawn-lake meadows, the still ponds of limpid water, the trim hedges, and the smooth winding roads; undulating hill-tops melting into the purple distance; labouring men's cottages, gleaming white from the surrounding foliage; solitary road-side inns with brown thatched roofs and moss-grown stacks of lop-sided chimneys; noble mansions hiding behind ancestral oaks; tiny Gothic edifices; Swiss and rustic lodges; pillared gates surmounted by escutcheons hewn in stone, and festooned with wreaths of clustering ivy; village churches and prim school-houses; every object in the fair English prospect is steeped in a luminous haze, as the twilight shadows steal slowly upward from the dim recesses of woodland and winding lane, and every outline of the landscape darkens against the deepening crimson of the sky.

Upon the broad façade of a mighty red-brick mansion, built in the favourite style of the early Georgian era, the sinking sun lingers long, making gorgeous illumination. the long rows of narrow windows are all a-flame with the red light, and an honest homeward tramping villager pauses once or twice in the roadway to glance across the smooth width of dewy lawn and tranquil lake, half fearful that there must be something more than natural in the glitter of those windows, and that maybe Maister Floyd's house is a-fire.

The stately red-brick mansion belongs to Maister Floyd, as he is called in the honest patois of the Kentish rustics; to Archibald Martin Floyd, of the great banking-house of Floyd, Floyd, and Floyd, Lombard Street, City.

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