Last time, I talked about Now.
Let’s go back.
Less than a century and a half ago the populace of
the country was mostly illiterate. Remember all the
trouble Abe Lincoln had with learning to read and then
getting the books to read?
So? No Borders Superbookstores. Plenty of books. But
if you don’t read…what the heck?
It was only after the American Civil War that literacy
increased sufficiently to start the concept of American popular fiction!
(No, Edgar Allen Poe never signed a BEST OF MY HORROR STUFF at his local bookstore.)
So what happened next? Well, you only have to read Mark Twain’s biography to get some idea. His stories and novels help too, of course.
But popular literature?
Some of the most famous were in magazines.
No, not newspapers. Magazines.
And these were called the Penny Dreadfuls.