Victorian England's Best-Selling Author
The Revolutionary Life of G W M Reynolds
by Stephen Basdeo, Mya Driver
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Pub Date 30 Aug 2022 | Archive Date 01 Sep 2022
Pen & Sword, Pen & Sword History
George W.M. Reynolds (1814–79) was one of the biggest-selling novelists of the Victorian era. He was the author of over 58 novels and short stories and his “penny blood” The Mysteries of London, serialised in weekly numbers between 1844 and 1848, sold over a million copies. A controversial figure in his lifetime, Reynolds’s Mysteries, and its follow-up The Mysteries of the Court of London (1849–56), contained tales of crime, vice, and highly sexualised scenes. For this reason Charles Dickens remarked that Reynolds’s name was one “with which no lady’s, and no gentleman’s, should be associated.” Yet Reynolds was much more than just a novelist; he was lauded by the working classes as their champion and campaigned for universal suffrage. To further the working classes’ cause, he established two newspapers: Reynolds’s Political Instructor and Reynolds’s Weekly Newspaper. The latter newspaper, as Karl Marx recognised, became the principal organ of radical and labour politics. This book provides a biography of Reynolds and reproduces his editorials from Reynolds’s Political Instructor as well as excerpts from his fiction.
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