Price One Penny: A Database of Cheap Literature, 1837–1860

A beta version of Price One Penny: A Database of Cheap Literature, 1837–1860 is available via the University of Cambridge. It is intended that the database will catalogue early Victorian fiction, facilitating access to extant copies of this most ephemeral of literary forms, as well as providing accurate bibliographic information. Users can search by title or browse by work, author, publisher, periodical or author. The database currently contains 344 individual records of works (covering 390 editions and 59 periodical serializations) by 236 authors gathered from 187 libraries and published by 39 concerns. Helpfully, these data are also summarized in a section on statistics, which forms part of the website.

Launched in November 2010, Price One Penny (POP) was created and is maintained by Marie Léger-St-Jean, doctoral candidate in English at the University of Cambridge, to provide bibliographical and eventually biographical data about the countless publishers and authors involved in the production of penny bloods, weekly serials sold for a penny to a varied audience throughout the 1840s and 1850s. It is modelled on Troy J. Bassett’s At the Circulating Library. Its content draws from pioneering research by Louis James, Fiction For The Working Man (1973), and current work by Helen R. Smith, as well as from the wealth of information gathered by collectors, the true repositories of penny-publishing knowledge.

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