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Sensation Drama, 18601880An Anthology$
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Joanna Hofer-Robinson and Beth Palmer

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474439534

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474439534.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 15 June 2021

The Missing Witness,

The Missing Witness,

An Original Drama in Four Acts

(p.309) The Missing Witness1,2
Sensation Drama, 18601880

M. E. Braddon

Edinburgh University Press

The Missing Witnessis set in the Swiss alps and features a romance plot aborted by a jealous villain and saved by the servant Genevieve, the ‘missing witness’ of the title. It offers a wonderful example of an extended sensation scene involving not one, but two hand-to-hand fight scenes on a treacherous mountain pass, the first ending with the hero seeming to plunge to his death and the second with an avalanche engulfing the heroine and the stage. Unfortunately the play was hastily withdrawn when the actor playing Gustave, Mr. J. F. Stephenson, misjudged his ‘sensation leap’ and broke his leg only three weeks after its opening at the Alexandra Theatre in Liverpool. Here we follow the printed edition of the text as published by John and Robert Maxwell, Braddon’s husband and stepson.Aided by these familial arrangements Braddon had become adept at managing and maintaining control over her published work, so there was no need for her to engage with another theatrical publisher.

Keywords:   Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Avalanche, Swiss Alps, Fight scene, Melodrama, Servant

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