Cover Detail. Police News Miscellany: A Sensational Journal
of Fact & Fiction. No. 1. Vol.1
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.
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,
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.
Whose skill often has been try'd,
Her Prophecies shall still survive,
And ever keep her name alive!"
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.
Centerfold Detail. Sensation Magazine. March 7, 1877.
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.
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."