publishing poetry and advice books in addition to sensational, sentimental, and humorous fiction.
Her fiction is marked by topicality and exciting plots. In the 1850s she wrote two temperance novels, The Senator's Son ( 1853) and Fashionable Dissipation ( 1853). Mormon Wives ( 1856) decried polygamy. Appearing in 1861, Maum Guinea and Her Plantation "Children" was the most popular of her dime novels and was credited by contemporaries with swaying British opinion to the Union cause. Twentieth-century critics recognize her as the author of the first detective novel, The Dead Letter ( 1864), written under the pseudonym Seeley Regester.
Victor also produced a number of humorous works, often under the pseudonyms Mrs. Mark Peabody and Walter T. Gray. These include Miss Slimmens' Boarding House ( 1882) and A Bad Boy's Diary ( 1880).
Maum Guinea was well received by Union loyalists, deemed "as absorbing as Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Abraham Lincoln, and praised as a "telling shot" by Henry Ward Beecher ( Harvey39, 43). Like Stowe's novel, however, Maum Guinea has been criticized by twentieth-century critics for its use of stereotypes, particularly those associating black women with illicit sexuality ( Carby26, 33- 34).
Presenting Victor's earliest work, Willis declared, in typically florid style, that her poetry bore "unquestionable marks of true genius" ( Coggeshall518). But what was perhaps most striking to both modem and contemporary readers is the range of work produced by Victor. As one nineteenth-century reader remarked, "Mrs. Victor is unusually endowed; her success has been remarkable in poetry of imagination and fancy; in humor and satire, prose and verse; in fiction and romance; in tales of purely imaginative creation; as well as in the departments of literary criticism and essays upon popular themes" ( Coggeshall519).
Carby, Hazel V. Reconstructing Womanhood: The Emergence of the Afro-American Woman Novelist. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987. 26, 33-34.
Coggeshall, William T. The Poets and Poetry of the West: With Biographical and Critical Notices. Columbus, OH: Follett, Foster & Co., 1860. 518-526.
Harvey, Charles M. "The Dime Novel in American Life." Atlantic Monthly C ( July 1907): 37-45.
Johannsen, Albert. The House of Beadle and Adams and Its Dime and Nickel Novels. Vol. 2. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1950.
Taylor, William R. "Victor, Metta Victoria Fuller." In Notable American Women 1607- 1950: A Biographical Dictionary, edited by Edward T. James. Vol. 3. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University, 1971.