Tuesday, May 6, 2014

From The Penny Dreadful to the Ha'Penny Dreadfuller

I'm currently reading Robert J. Kirkpartick's From The Penny Dreadful to the Ha'Penny Dreadfuller. So far it has proven to be an enjoyable and serious read and the best study of children's periodicals I have ever come across, quite possibly the finest and most complete ever compiled. Not only does it cover the history of the children's story papers, but it also looks into the backgrounds of the publishers who made them. Such research has been conducted in the past with the better-known publishers such as Alfred Harmsworth but for many it has never been studied before.

At the back of the book is featured a list of every single story paper published between 1762 - 1950, no matter how short a run they had, listing the title, run dates, publisher, which comic/paper it merged into (if any) and number of issues published. Along with two other lists and an almost 500 page history this just goes to how much time, effort and research has gone into this book.

Although there's sadly no room for every single paper to be illustrated there are a good number of illustrations throughout, all taken from either the author's collection or the British Library.

All this doesn't come cheap, and rightly so. It costs £50 from the British Library website, but the p+p is free as a result. The price was more than I could afford so I requested my local library to purchase it, which they did, so if it is too expensive for you trying this is a great alternative.



Lew Stringer said...

I bought this book a while ago but still haven't gotten around to reading it. Certainly looks a very well researched volume though.

George Shiers said...

It's definitely well researched - I woudn't be surprised if it's the most in-depth study of the papers/comics to date, and if so it's unlikely to ever be beaten, not only due to it's detail but also the lessening interest in comics of this time.