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The Victorian Historical Romance and Urban Fantasy Mash-Up

It is not as silly as it sounds.
Victorian historical romances are exactly as they titled, they are romance stories set in Victorian England, but are written by modern authors and tend to feature modern sensibilities, such as the right to choices, agency for women, the right to work, but still have aspects of the period such as passivity, manners and gender responsibilities. Urban fantasy are stories set in distinctly urban locales that incorporate the presence of supernatural forces. They also tend to feature strong female leads, moralistic messages and evoke the essence of city life.

The Victorian era was actually the period of the emergence of city literature, with great works by Charles Dickens that captured the new industrial London. It was a period too when superstitious beliefs and the beginning of science-fiction with Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ and Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella ‘Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.’ It was a period that saw much of its literature immersed into the urban. This is a central concern of urban fantasy, and with the suggested supernatural interactions into the city that highlight the anxiety and fear present in the modern city, as captured beautifully in Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula,’ it is unsurprising that contemporary authors are still so captivated with using this as a setting.

As such a new mash-up genre has emerged that is not yet named but is basically ‘Historical Victorian Urban Fantasy Romance’ genre – terrible name but a descriptive working title. Key authors in this field have been C. J. Archer with her series ‘Glass and Steele,’ and ‘The Ministry of Curiosities.’ Both feature strong female leads that must navigate through the streets of London on a series of adventures, with magics and supernatural forces surrounding them. Another is Colleen Gleason’s series ‘The Gardella Vampire Hunters,’ which focuses on Victoria, the most recent hunter called to hunt the vampires of London and Europe.

This new genre deserves further discussion and a closer examination.

  • Thanks for bringing up this idea! I saw this movie "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies", another of such mash up fiction. I absolutely enjoyed the film. It's interesting to see how such Victorian canonical texts constituting primed-up characters are usually mashed up with supernatural creatures. Also, you have strong female leads taking the front pitch against the invasion of supernatural creatures, so you have a feminist undertone to it. – Azira101phale 3 years ago
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