Mysterymania gripped the world in the 1840s and 1850s. From London and France it spread to USA, Germany, Italy, Brazil, and Portugal. Camilo Branco’s Misterios de Lisboa was part of this thrilling genre.
Victor Hugo’s “Ninety-Three” (1874) | Stephen Basdeo
Revolution is humanity’s surgeon, it cuts out the tumour, it cuts off the gangrened limb—What! would you have pity for the virus? For the gangrened limb!
The First British Edition of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Feathertop” in Home Circle (1852) | Stephen Basdeo
The first British edition of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Feathertop” in Home Circle in 1852. Hawthorne scholars have previously been unaware of the appearance of “Feathertop” in this magazine.
Luke Hutton’s “Black Dogge of Newgate” (1596) | Stephen Basdeo
During the sixteenth century a new genre of popular literature arrived in England. Adapted from literature that was flourishing in Spain, a stream of printed books and pamphlets shined a light on the seedy underworld in England’s capital city. The genre — Rogue Literature.
The Early Works of Eugene Sue | G. W. M. Reynolds
His style reminds us of Cooper’s most approved nautical fictions, rather than of the coarse and vulgar “yarns” so tediously spun by Captain Marryat. He introduces us to scenes and adventures of stirring and painful interest.
De Balzac’s Works | G. W. M. Reynolds
A page of his book an echo to the tablet of his memory; and hence does he occasionally detail minutely those feelings and passions which the generality of authors usually express in one word.
Eugene Sue’s “Mysteries of the People” (1848): “The Poniard’s Hilt” and the Arrival of Feudalism in France | Stephen Basdeo
By Stephen Basdeo, a writer and historian based in Leeds, United Kingdom. This article follows on from previous posts on Eugene Sue’s epic socialist novel Mysteries of the People. In 1848 Karl […]
Victorian Killer Snakes | Stephen Basdeo
Snakes are one of mankind’s most feared enemies, and the Victorians loved to read about them. Killer snakes appear in a variety of popular magazines and novels.
G. W. M. Reynolds’s ‘Memoirs’ Novels (1850–57) | Stephen Basdeo
In 1851 G.W.M. Reynolds launched a new series of ‘memoirs’ novels that told the story of poor women struggling to make their way in a heartless and alienating capitalist world.
George R. Stewart’s “Earth Abides” (1949) | Stephen Basdeo
George R. Stewart’s novel Earth Abides grapples with the question of what shape society will take after a deadly pandemic kills off most of the earth’s population.
Eugene Sue’s Epic Socialist Novel “The Mysteries of the People” (1848): “The Casque’s Lark”
It was to me, strange and unaccountable as it may seem, as if I abhorred Neroweg by reason of the future as much as of the present; as if that hatred was to perpetuate itself not only between our two races of Franks and Gauls, but also between our families, individually.
George W.M. Reynolds’s Exposure of Army Brutality | Stephen Basdeo
G.W.M. Reynolds launched a personal crusade against army brutality, speaking out against it in both his fiction and his journalism.
Eve: Humankind’s First Revolutionary (1851) | Daniel Stern
She preferred grief to ignorance, death to slavery. She seized with a bold hand the guarded fruit, and moved the man to participate in her act of daring. The All-powerful chastised both, banished them.
Ragnar’s Death Song | Stephen Basdeo
Legend has it that Ragnar composed his “Death Song” as he lay in the pit of snakes waiting to die, the sentence upon him having been passed by the Anglo-Saxon Northumbrian King Aelle. Stephen Basdeo examines the publication of this ancient song.
Out of the Darkness: “The Catacombs of Paris” (1840) by George W.M.Reynolds | Louis James
Distinguished G W M Reynolds specialist, Prof. Louis James, talks about Reynolds’s only known play.
George W.M. Reynolds’s Italian Chartist Republic | Stephen Basdeo
What would a Chartist republic look like in practice? Very few Chartist novelists discussed this question in depth, as most of them merely shined a light on social issues of the day. G W M Reynolds, however, used the fictional Italian state of Castelcicala in The Mysteries of London as a ‘laboratory’ in which his progressive theories of government might be tested.
The History of the Bastille | G.W.M. Reynolds
There have been many brief and detached accounts of the Bastille current in the English sphere of literature; but this is the first connected and important history that has hitherto satisfied the curiosity of the public regarding an event that must be considered with no ordinary degree of attention. The throne of him whom the French deemed a despot was only to be essentially shaken by the destruction of the worst engine of its tyranny; and when the adamantine bars of the gates of that terrible castle were destroyed—when the secrets of the prison-house were displayed—when the dark dungeon of slavery was illuminated by the torch of popular vengeance—then emanated from that dismal abode young Liberty.
The Progress of Civilization in Belgium | G.W.M. Reynolds
Belgium is now an independent kingdom, which, although circumscribed to exceedingly narrow limits, may still one day stand conspicuously amongst the nations of the European continent, if its government continue to be wisely administered, and its vast resources appreciated and brought into action, as they are at present.
19th-century French Poets and Novelists (Part II) | G.W.M. Reynolds
If the attractions of any art can cause the soul of man to feel itself suddenly lifted afar from the grosser joys of earth, and wrapped in a species of blissful delirium—it is poetry. If there be any author who has complete power over the minds of his readers, to enchain them in the mystic bonds that his effusions cast around them, and actually to implicate them and their feelings, their sympathies, and their passions, in the scenes that he depicts in glowing colours—it is the poet.
19th-century French Poets and Novelists (Part I) | G.W.M. Reynolds
If Walter Scott consecrated the actions of the savage and licentious ruffians of the olden time, who were called “gentle knights,” P. de Kock has not at least been guilty of exaggeration in his delineation of the good and bad qualities of ancient characters, morals, and manners. But as de Kock is one of the most important and most celebrated of French novelists, we shall proceed to examine his principal works in detail.
Hungarian Literature | G.W.M. Reynolds
Bilassa and Rimai distinguished themselves in lyric poetry and odes on sacred subjects; but the imperfection of their language and their metrical measures superseded the possibility of those two eminent bards attaining any very great perfection. It was the same with Bornemisa and Goénezi; and similar defects have characterized the Hungarian translation in verse of “Pierre de Provence et la Belle Maguelove.” Notwithstanding that poverty of language and metrical imperfection which threatened to ruin all attempts at eminent literary productions, the sixteenth century also witnessed the infancy of the Hungarian drama. Dramatic songs and dialogues in verse were the primal essays. We must, however, notice that in the thirteenth century, during the reign of Ladislaus the fourth, a troop of buffoons or jesters had appeared in Hungary, and were well received by the inhabitants of the principal towns where they performed.
The History of Novels | Stephen Basdeo
Suddenly the middle classes “saw themselves” in fiction, so to speak. The next major novelist, Samuel Richardson, also wanted to give readers a “realistic” novel. In 1740, he published Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded. This novel, set in readers’ own times (the 1700s for 1700s readers) was written as though it was a series of letters written by the title character, Pamela, a servant girl in the household of Lord B——, to her poorer family in the country. This format, used by many novelists since, including Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula, became known as the epistolary novel. Now, Pamela was a pure and virtuous girl, but her depraved master, Lord B, is infatuated with her. He offers her many fine things, which she refuses, because she is virtuous. He spies on her undressing through the keyhole of her room, and even attempts to rape her, but she resists him. Then at the end of the novel, Lord B is so impressed with her virtue that he marries her, to which she eventually consents, for she has in fact fallen in love with him. Richardson’s message was clear: if a woman holds on to her virtue (if she doesn’t have sex before marriage) then she will be rewarded, either in this life or the next.