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The period from roughly 1860 to 1915 was the age of the dime novel. Inexpensive but packed with action and romance, these popular books were read and enjoyed by millions, filling an entertainment void that had not yet been occupied by movies, radio or television. Thousands of titles were published during this period, written by hundreds of authors, many of whom individually produced staggering volumes of work during their lifetimes. Even at the time of their publication, few dime novel authors received much personal recognition. Publishers often preferred to publish works pseudonymously, sometimes creating the illusion of uniformity when many different writers contributed to a series, other times allowing a single person to appear as a full staff of authors. Today, even the most famous pseudonyms – Burt Standish, Bertha Clay, Nicholas Carter – are largely forgotten. The goal of this series is to shed light on the work and biographies of some of the hard-working writers of the dime novel era. Even though their names (real or assumed) have left the popular imagination, their work still has something to offer, both in entertainment value and as a record of a past era. This first volume contains two works by Francis Worcester Doughty, an author best known for his Old and Young King Brady adventures in the Secret Service series. The stories here are from outside the Old King Brady pantheon. Shadow, the Mysterious Detective is a relatively early work that will show you why some critics feared dime novels were corrupting the youth while also raising some interesting questions about the author’s perception of gender, violence and the role of the police. Bats in the Wall, while less lurid than Shadow, may be most interesting for its portrayal of New York, which is given a fairly vivid portrayal as the backdrop for a typically convoluted mystery. Both of these novels show signs of being written hastily – Doughty clearly did not have much time for revision based on his prolific output – and they contain many of the standard clichés of the day (including some references and portrayals that would today be viewed as extremely politically incorrect). However, given the extreme restrictions of time and convention imposed on the tales, they are not quite so flat and predictable as one might expect – the books (and Shadow more than most) can still surprise the reader and raise interesting questions about how the real 19th century popular culture compares to our contemporary imagining of it.
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Book Description CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M1500310131