News | August 31, 2023

Penny Bloods: Gothic Tales of Dangerous Women

British Library

Penny Bloods: Gothic Tales of Dangerous Women cover

Penny Bloods: Gothic Tales of Dangerous Women, edited by Nicole C. Dittmer, continues the British Library's programme of bringing forgotten classic works back into publication.

In the mid 1800s, the inexpensive publications known as penny bloods were all the rage in Britain. Spinning tales of high Gothic drama, violence and monstrosity, this literary phenomenon was significant for its depictions of dangerous and transgressive women. These popular figures established archetypes like the beguiling vampiress and inspired such milestone Gothic works as Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla.

Publishing in September 2023, this latest volume features seven tales from classic and truly obscure penny publications - among them the story of Mrs. Lovett, the piemaking counterpart to Sweeney Todd - and features newly edited text and insights from Dr Dittmer’s research to revive a company of witches, femme fatales, vampire mistresses and deadly criminals for a new generation of readers.

Nicole C Dittmer is a Lecturer of Gothic Studies at The College of New Jersey, whose books include the monograph Monstrous Women and Eco- feminism in the Victorian Gothic, 1837–1871 and the co- edited collection Penny Dreadfuls and the Gothic; or, Investigations of Pernicious Tales of Terror.