Tales Retold

Jane Shore

Jane Shore: Being an Authentic Narrative of the Occurences Which Attended Her Seduction From Her Husband to the Arms of King Edward IV.

The penny magazine Jane Shore is not dated. The subject matter, a story based upon an historical incident in the late 1400s, concerns a young woman who was taken from her husband by King Edward IV to serve as the King's mistress.

Like his predecessors, Edward VII, heir to Victoria's throne, was not averse to a collection of mistresses. These included the most famous actresses and singers of the era.

The story of Jane Shore shares some features of the Mordaunt divorce proceedings and would have provided an indirect comparison without "naming names."

Similar tales involved other royals or aristocrats and their paramours and were among the "Anonyma" of Victorian fast literature. Click on the text below for images of women from other "tales retold."

From the series Women Whose Loves Changed the World:

Amadine & Francoise: Demi Mondes of the Paris Boulevards
Josephine D'Orme: The Heroine of Many Loves
Princess Dolgourouki: The Morganatic Wife of Alexander III [sic]
(Includes a page of advertisements for other titles)

Nell Gwynne (Includes a page of advertisements for other titles)

Also: Crimes of the Aristocracy

The Resurrectionist
Cover Detail. Police News Miscellany: A Sensational Journal
of Fact & Fiction.
No. 1. Vol.1
"The Resurrectionist."
March 24, 1877." Woodblock engraving. 45 x 30 cm.

"The Resurrectionist" is an example of the typical sensational serialized story. The tale involves a rogue and a young lady he rescues. The premise derives from the actual practices of 17th and 18th century grave robbers.

The job of resurrectionist continued into the 19th century. Reynold's The Mysteries of London, told of a "Resurrection Man" in the tale "The Body Snatchers." Dickens brought the same character back to life, though in a less heroic mode than the story here, via Jerry Crutcher in A Tale of Two Cities. The most famous British tale that deals with a resurrectionist, of course, is Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

Mother Shipton
At left. The Great Prophecy of the End of the World.
Mother Shipton and Her Remarkable Prophecies.
18 x. 12.5 cm.

Click on the title below to view a printed doily of the "prophecies."

Mother Shipton's Amazing Prophecies!!!
Ephemera. 18 x 11.5 cm.
"Here lyes she who never ly'd,
Whose skill often has been try'd,
Her Prophecies shall still survive,
And ever keep her name alive!"

Mother Shipton was a long-standing folktale/ hoax concerning a witch in the 1400s who predicted the end of the world in the late 1800s. Samuel Pepys wrote about her in his age. The "prophecies" were embroidered through the years to reflect current changes, such as the doily here that "predicted" Disraeli and railroads.

This version has been attributed to 1862, and created something of a panic when the fated year of 1881 arrived. Mother Shipton's popularity was no doubt fueled by growing millennial fears of the end of the world.

A Rake's Progress
Centerfold Detail. Sensation Magazine. March 7, 1877.
"A Rake's Progress: A Story Told in Eight Plates."
Plate III. (The Tavern Scene.) 30 x 44 cm.

A Rake's Progress, above, and Tom Jones, below, were concurrently serialized in Sensation Magazine.
Hogarth's Rake and Fieldings' panoply of ribald characters were at home in the fast literature "genre."
Hogarth centerfolds, as with larger broadsheets, could serve as "wallpapers." The use of famous stories also allowed penny magazines to display females under the guise of historical accuracy.

Mr. and Mrs. Partridge
Detail. Sensation Magazine. Feb. 28, 1877.
Woodblock engraving for a serialization of Tom Jones
From Tom Jones:

"As fair Grimalkin, who, though the youngest of the feline family, degenerates not in ferocity from the elder branches of her house, and though inferior in strength, is equal in fierceness to the noble tiger himself, when a little mouse, whom it hath long tormented in sport, escapes from her clutches for a while, frets, scolds, growls, swears; but if the trunk, or box, behind which the mouse lay hid be again removed, she flies like lightning on her prey, and, with envenomed wrath, bites, scratches, mumbles, and tears the little animal.

Not with less fury did Mrs Partridge fly on the poor pedagogue. Her tongue, teeth, and hands, fell all upon him at once. His wig was in an instant torn from his head, his shirt from his back, and from his face descended five streams of blood, denoting the number of claws with which nature had unhappily armed the enemy.

Mr Partridge acted for some time on the defensive only; indeed he attempted only to guard his face with his hands; but as he found that his antagonist abated nothing of her rage, he thought he might, at least, endeavour to disarm her, or rather to confine her arms; in doing which her cap fell off in the struggle, and her hair being too short to reach her shoulders, erected itself on her head; her stays likewise, which were laced through one single hole at the bottom, burst open; and her breasts, which were much more redundant than her hair, hung down below her middle; her face was likewise marked with the blood of her husband: her teeth gnashed with rage; and fire, such as sparkles from a smith's forge, darted from her eyes. So that, altogether, this Amazonian heroine might have been an object of terror to a much bolder man than Mr Partridge."

right finger