In 1818, Birmingham audiences shaken by the real-life rape and murder of servant Mary Ashford could re-live the experience by watching a lurid melodrama entitled The Murdered Maid. They thrilled to see the villain ‘Thornville’ pursue the innocent ‘Maria’ as she cried, ‘Begone, and learn that the humble and low-born Maria abhors the wretch, though a diadem sparkled on his brows, who would shock her ears with such base proposals and try to lure her from the paths of rectitude and honour.’1 In the period of economic depression and political radicalism after the Napoleonic Wars, these strong words provided a clear, defiant metaphor of the exploitation of the poor by the upper classes.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||The Progress of Romance|
|Subtitle of host publication||The Politics of Popular Fiction|
|Publisher||Taylor and Francis|
|Number of pages||24|
|ISBN (Print)||0710209630, 9781138213715|
|State||Published - Jan 1 2016|