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Penny Bloods and Penny Dreadfuls


First published around the mid-1830s in the United Kingdom, penny bloods and penny dreadfuls are a fixture of the Victorian popular fiction and entertainment landscape. Responding to the nineteenth-century literacy boom and making use of technological advancements, the phenomenon met with tremendous success as the cheap publications circulated throughout society, receiving stark criticism from the higher classes due to their so-called immoral character and poor quality. The serials were often published anonymously, and authorship is still the subject of scholarly investigation in the case of many titles, but research in this field has demonstrated that contrary to the assumption that penny dreadfuls were both read and written exclusively by men, many women were active contributors, too.


The cheap, sensational, serialized stories widely known as “penny dreadfuls” are an almost exclusively Victorian popular fiction phenomenon. First published around the mid-1830s...


  • Penny Dreadfuls
  • Penny Bloods
  • Popular Fiction
  • Women Writers
  • Sensationalism
  • Gothic
  • Periodicals
  • Cheap Fiction
  • Serialization

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Correspondence to Manon Burz-Labrande .

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Burz-Labrande, M. (2022). Penny Bloods and Penny Dreadfuls. In: The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Victorian Women's Writing. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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