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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XII. The Romantic Revival.

XI. Lesser Novelists

§ 5. Catherine Crowe: The Night Side of Nature

Frankenstein is founded upon scientific research, as if the time had come when it was necessary to give some rational basis to the terror which novel-readers had been content to accept for its own sake. A later writer, Catherine Crowe, went further than Mary Shelley in this direction. Mrs. Crowe not only delighted in ghosts and similar occasions of terror; in The Night Side of Nature (1848), she attempted to find a scientific, or, as we should now call it, a “psychic” explanation of such things; and the result is an engaging volume of mingled story and speculation. In her two novels, Adventures of Susan Hopley; or Circumstantial Evidence (1841) and The Story of Lilly Dawson (1847), the horrors owe but little to the supernatural. Robberies, murders and abductions are the chief ingredients. Mrs. Crowe had some power of imagination, or, rather, perhaps, of ingenuity in spinning tales of crime. But her work is very ragged. She introduces so many characters and so many unrelated episodes, that any skill which she may show in weaving them together at the close of the book comes too late to console the still bewildered reader.