01 June 2006

American Women's Dime Novels

Here's a site about a topic I'd never thought about before: American Women's Dime Novels, 1870—1920. The site gives us information about the cheap fiction for women that became popular in this time period. Thanks to the growing number of literate people and the cheaper cost of paper, publishers had a bigger readership, and the dime novels were created. They were written by authors such as Effie Adelaide Rowlands and Bertha Clay--names unknown today, but very celebrated at the time. The popularity of these novels was not universally appreciated. The site quotes Hawthorne as saying the following:
America is now wholly given over to a dammed mob of scribbling women, and I should have no chance of success while the public taste is occupied with their trash--and should be ashamed of myself if I did succeed. What is the mystery of these innumerable editions of the 'Lamplighter' and other books neither better nor worse?--worse they could not be, and better they need not be, when they sell by the 100,000.
There's a lot of information here, and there are also some good links to even more specific material about the topic. Via Yahoo! Picks.


Blogger Finch said...

"a dammed mob of scribbling women" would be a great name for a group or project of some kind.

Seeing those covers reminds me of Molly Gloss' "Wild Life," in which she imagines a woman who writes dime novels at the turn of the the 19th/20th Centuries.

6/01/2006 05:48:00 a.m.  
Blogger Amy said...

That *is* a great idea for the use of that phrase. I'll have to keep it in mind.

I'm not familiar with Molly Gloss--thanks for the tip. She's now on my "people to check out" list.

6/03/2006 07:18:00 a.m.  

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