Beyond the Pale


Penny Dreadful
August 3, 2009, 3:26 pm
Filed under: Literature, Victorian Originals | Tags: , ,

mysteries of london

Knowing the visitors to this blog to be of the ‘coarse & vulgar’ sort, I thought this might be of interest. 😉

The so-called Penny Dreadful was a mass-produced, cheap & tawdry, blood-curdling series published weekly for the delight of the (usually working class) masses of Victorian London. Not acceptable in polite society, Victorian moralists frowned on these supposedly hysteria-inducing works, with a certain James Greenwood declaring they were “sow[ing] the seeds of immorality” amongst society at large…

“What are the assured grounds of safety? Is it because it stands to reason that all such coarse and vulgar trash finds its level amongst the coarse and vulgar, and could gain no footing above its own elevation? It may so stand in reason, but unfortunately it is the unreasonable fact that this same pen poison finds customers at heights above its natural low and foul water­line almost inconceivable. How otherwise is it accountable that at least a quarter of a million of these penny numbers are sold weekly?”

Thanks to author Lee Jackson’s excellent Victorian London website, you can now read an original Dreadful, or Penny Blood, in full, for yourself! Marvelous stuff.

Yes! I am of the ‘coarse & vulgar’ sort, and wish to begin reading The Mysteries of London…


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