Book cost/penny dreadfuls
Posted by Jane Elizabeth on November 04, 1997 at 14:38:46:
In response to How much did a novel cost in The Regency?, written by Mary Collette on November 04, 1997 at 13:21:22
"Jane Austen in Style" had a section about this. I don't remember the exact costs, but your brother is wrong. Books were very expensive in the early 19th century, and many people joined for-profit lending libraries because it was too costly to purchase them. (I think Fanny Price joins one during her Portsmouth stay. In any case they are mentioned in Austen. Also remember Darcy's library. Wealthy people could afford to amass libraries) I'm not sure when the cost of books came down enough for the hoi polloi (calling Henry) but remember that Dickens' novels were sold in series, making the cost of individual sections more reasonable.
My Webster's defines a penny dreadful as "a novel of violent adventure or crime" and dates the term from 1873. Unless Lydia's elopement can be considered a violent adventure, I think we can safely leave Miss Austen out of this category!
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