‘…every wise man would wish to absent from, rather than pay for a feat to behold, a mixture of noise, nonsense, and confusion. Amidst this jargon of men and things, thus promiscuously […]
Jargon of Men and Things
Penny Dreadful PDFs: The New Newgate Calendar (1863) | Stephen Basdeo
Here are the scans I’ve recently completed of the penny dreadfuls in my collection so far.
The New Newgate Calendar
In the penny dreadful version of The New Newgate Calendar, scenes of the most sensational and sexual type were included for publication – torture scenes, nudity, and flagellation – and sparked a moral panic amongst middle-class press commentators.
A Real Robin Hood?
Who is the most likely candidate for being the original Robin Hood?
The last historian to address this was James Clarke Holt, and the evidence for the most likely candidate which he identified is laid down here.
Newgate Novels: “Rookwood” (1834)
The novel emerged as the dominant literary genre in the eighteenth century. One of the first majorly successful novels was Pamela (1740). Most novels during the eighteenth century are classified into two […]
Charley Wag, Jack Rann, and the Wild Boys of London – Penny Dreadful Boy Thieves
Penny bloods were cheap pieces of serialised fiction which offered a chance for young working-class readers to indulge in ‘carnivalesque’ entertainment; they allowed their readers to indulge in mocking authority. Their subject […]
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street | Stephen Basdeo
This post has been adapted from a chapter in my MA Thesis which was completed under the supervision of Dr. Heather Shore. The tale of Sweeney Todd, the ‘demon barber,’ (originally entitled […]
“Robin Hood and the Duke of Lancaster”
The early eighteenth century was one of the best ages for satire. Writers such as Joseph Addison (1672-1719) and Richard Steele (1672-1729) wrote their Spectator and Tatler magazines to expose the follies […]
Organised Crime in “The Mysteries of London” (1844)
The Mysteries of London was a long-running penny dreadful serial which ran between 1844 and 1846 and was the biggest selling novel of the Victorian era. Read the ebook here. A version […]
Dying Speeches Broadsides – New Thoughts about their Uses
The trade in broadsides recounting the ‘Last Dying Speech’ of felons before they were hanged thrived during eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. These broadsides are a fascinating area of research for those interested […]
The Rise and Fall of Highwaymen in Print
In 1751 the novelist and Magistrate of Westminster, Henry Fielding (1707-1754) published An Enquiry into the Causes of the Late Increase of Robbers. ‘The great Increase of Robberies within these few years,’ […]
Jonathan Wild – London’s First Mob Boss
Whilst most people generally conceive of organised crime as being a distinctly modern, 20th-century, phenomenon, it has a longer history than first assumed. This post uses the theoretical framework of modern-day criminology to analyse the organised crime network established by Jonathan Wild in London in the early 18th century.
Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood
The folktale of “The Two Children in the Wood” has always been popular with audiences, in spite of its grim content, depicting as it does the death of two children. However, the legend became incorporated into the Robin Hood tradition in the nineteenth century, This post discusses why two very different legends came to be associated.
Robin Hood in Romantic Period Poetry
Romanticism was a cultural and intellectual movement spearheaded by poets, artists, writers, sculptors and musicians. Whereas in the eighteenth century men such as Joseph Addison (1672-1719) complained that rural people and provincial […]
“Launched into Eternity”: Public Hangings and Last Dying Speeches in 18th-Century England
During the 18th century crime was the talk of the town in England. In 1751, the crime rate had reached such hellish proportions that the Magistrate of Westminster, Henry Fielding (the author […]
Joseph Addison, Richard Steele, and Robin Hood’s History
Whilst re-organising my home work space, I came across my undergraduate dissertation. I focused upon representations of polite society in eighteenth-century print culture, with a particular focus upon the periodicals of two […]
Oral Transmission of the “Rymes of Robyn Hode” over Time
I can nought parfitly my pater noster as the prest it syngeth, but I can rymes of Robyn Hode and Randalf erle of Chestre – The Vision of Piers the Plowman (c.1380) […]
“Game of Thrones” in Historical Literary Context
This post examines the debt that George R.R. Martin owes to one of the nineteenth century’s foremost novelists, Sir Walter Scott.
Robin Hood’s Death
One of the reasons for the longevity of the Robin Hood legend is the fact that, in the original medieval ballads, his origins are not stated. He is simply there, in the […]
Doctor Who: Robot of Sherwood (Review)
An early Christmas present I received was the Doctor Who Series 8 box set. This gave me the chance to sit down and properly review the episode ‘Robot of Sherwood’ which transports […]
‘The Outlaws’ Code’. Robin Hood: Research Update, Number 7, December 24th, 2014
Medieval outlaws are arguably one of the first examples of organised crime in England. All organised crime gangs have certain codes of conduct which, to be counted as part of their respective gangs, they must adhere to. In this post I discuss the Outlaws Code laid down by Robin Hood in the Medieval ballads, and how and why such gangs of criminals enjoy the support of the people.
Robin Hood: An International Hero
Further to my post about the book Robin Hood’s Garland I told you about earlier, I thought that I’d bring to your attention the following finding. Whilst most people think that Robin […]
Robin Hood’s Garland (1856)
When you begin researching the original Robin Hood ballads, the names of a few late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century antiquarians become familiar to you. The likes of Thomas Percy, an Irish Bishop […]
Hello everyone, An online presence is ever-important in the world of academia, hence the reason for my persistent tweeting/blog posts and Facebook updates. I should say that I consider myself primarily an […]