Abstract: The Australian fictional archives contain a wealth of fictions from the colonial period, most of them serially published in journals, and often neglected in Australian literary history. However, fiction by colonial women writers reveals much about women’s social status at the time and early feminist claims. Among them can be found Mary Fortune’s (“Waif Wander”) serial novel “Dora Carleton,” published in The Australian Journal in 1866. The aim of this paper is to reflect on Australia’s neglected wealth of colonial women’s fictions and their potential re-evaluation as more than examples of the minor genres they seem to belong to, through the instance of the recovery of Fortune’s neglected text. This paper shows that the serial, anchored as it is in the historical context of the colony of Victoria, uses the conventions of the popular genre of the sensation novel to question gender differences, and that furthermore it can be read as an early New Woman novel.
Keywords: Mary Fortune, Waif Wander, Dora Carleton, colonial, Australia, New Woman, sensation novel
Copyright © Alice Michel 2016. This text may be archived and redistributed both in electronic form and in hard copy, provided that the author and journal are properly cited and no fee is charged.