Penny Dreadfuls ~ Episode 1 ~ The Birth of The Penny Bloods

Penny Dreadfuls ~ Episode 1 ~ The Birth of The Penny Bloods


What is a Penny Dreadful? Known as a Penny Blood in its beginning days,
Penny Blood was a violent adventure, horror, or crime story. Noted for their lack of extensive care for
techniques attributed to the classic writing of the time. Their production spoke the name of their genre. Penny-bloods are said to be the boom of something
revolutionary—cheap printing. The series booklet were 8-16 pages per installment,
were printed on cheap paper, in large volumes, and sold for a mere penny. Printing culture in the 19th century experienced
an unprecedented printing expansion in terms of volume and in diversity. The literatures of the 19th century were reaching
broader audiences than before, with works from novels to periodicals, to etiquette manuals
and cookery books, reaching people in every social status. The expansion can be attributed to improved
distribution methods and advancements in printing technology. The printing press from the 1400s, had become
mechanized and automated. In 1814, the steam powered rotary press was
made public via The Times. They were capable of 1000 sheets per hour. 5 times faster than manual printing presses. Advancements making printing faster and cheaper
and in larger volumes quickly became the wave of the future. By 1851, the Applegath cylinder was exhibited,
at the Great Exhibition, with the capability of making over 5000 impressions per hour. Later, the Hoe press, from the United States
boasted an unheard of 20000 impressions per hour, with cost of manufacturing decreasing
to just half a penny. Another factor of the success of print publishing
were the rising literacy rates of the middle and working class. The educational and social changes happening
among society, as a whole, were effectively increasing the need and demand for various
kinds of printed works of literature. Liberal parties felt that educating the working
class would instill the working class with a sense of moral responsibility and religious
integrity. Liberals influenced by Utilitarianism thought
that an educated working class was less likely to become a revolutionary one. Liberals pushed for states to provide education
for the poor in the early 19th century. This led to a Bill of Reform in 1832 in which
school access was expanded to working class families. Changes in society also affected Middle and
Upper-class families, with their schedules beginning to institute structured free time
and doing more traveling due to transportation advancements, they too were socially influenced
into increased recreational reading via library subscriptions, book circulation stalls on
trains, and things of that nature. Distribution-wise, print publication owed
part of their widespread success to the steam railway. They were part of the gateway to nationwide
daily distribution of newspapers and periodicals. They also become a new reading space. With book Circulators setting up borrow book
stalls for travelling subscribers and Libraries with convenient pick up and drop off at different locations. However, Penny Bloods weren’t exactly always
welcome on the circulating scene. Two major owners of circulating libraries,
shared typical concerns on Victorian times. The quality of printed literature. Especially in relation to the lower class. Preferring “improving” works to sensationalism. Nonetheless, Penny Bloods and their sensationalist
tactics, purveyed successfully. The first ever recorded Penny Blood was David
Stuart Davies’ ‘Lives of the Most Notorious Highwaymen, Footads, and Murders in 1836. They were a collection of biographical articles
about Britain’s famed criminals of past and (then) present. Highwaymen were famed for being a deadly menace
to rich travelers in England since the Elizabethan era. (Clip audio) HighwayMan on Horse: “Stand and Deliver!”
Man in carriage: “Who are you?” They robbed, they kidnaped, they stalked and
harassed. While some were glamorized into being gallant
Gentlemen of mystery and danger-many were just reckless criminals. After the highwaymen and evil aristocrats
lost favor with the public, Penny-Bloods found more success in stories about true crimes. Especially murder. One of the most successful series being ‘The
Demon Barber’ or ‘Barber of Fleet Street’. But soon, Foot and Horse bandits and murderous
citizens weren’t scintillating enough. The public wanted more. More blood, more macabre. Thus was the inevitable rise of something
feared more than violence….the undead.

local_offerevent_note September 6, 2019

account_box Matthew Anderson


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