Published in 1894, The Story of a Modern Woman was written by Ella Dixon. The novel was actually first printed in a series in The Lady’s Pictorial. The book was written in the late Victorian age in England, and is one of the works in the New Woman genre of this time period. The protagonist is named Mary Erle, and this character is very similar to the author herself: both became journalists after their fathers died.
Mary writes “three-penny-a-line fiction” to earn her living after her father dies, and her controlling editor demands there be a ball, a picnic, and a death in the progression of her stories. As Mary tries to fully take hold of her independence as a writer, and as London is becoming a modern city, Mary’s growth through her development as a professional writer in a city on the edge of the turn of the new century. The Story of a Modern Woman is filled with the themes of maturing, coming of age, gender roles, independence, and hope for the future.