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Victorian England's Best-Selling Author (Hardback)

The Revolutionary Life of G W M Reynolds

British History P&S History Victorian Era England 19th Century

By Stephen Basdeo, Mya Driver
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 232
Illustrations: 32 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781399015721
Published: 30th August 2022

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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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About Stephen Basdeo

Stephen Basdeo is Assistant Professor of History at Richmond: The American International University. He has spent over a decade researching the life and work of G.W.M. Reynolds and is the author of several academic papers examining Reynolds’s novels. He has also published several books and academic papers relating to the works of other Victorian popular fiction authors.


About Mya Driver

Mya Driver is an independent scholar based in Leeds with an interest in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century fiction. She has previously assisted Stephen Basdeo in transcribing the unpublished works of Robert Southey.

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