Case #16: The Strand and the Black Mask-Pulp Legends


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“A pulp story without a detective and, obviously, somebody for him to do battle with is unthinkable, and I can't remember reading a pulp story that didn't have a dame - either a good girl or a bad girl.”

-Otto Penzler

The 1890’s in Europe was, for all intents and purposes, a golden age for serialized stories in print. In England Charles Dickens became the first rock star the world had ever seen, and in France, serialized versions of The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo were spread out over hundreds of installments, making their publishers wealthy.

In one case, a German novel published in serialized form for Die Gartenlaube catapulted their circulation to over 350,000 readers in 1875.

The public was hungry for serialized literature, and the novel, thanks to writers such as Dickens and Wilkie Collins, was still in its infancy. Put those two facts together, and you were truly on to something.

In 1890 George Newnes and Editor H. Greenhough Smith founded The Strand Magazine, named for a fashionable London area. The goal of the magazine was to elevate story-telling and discourse and it attempted to appeal to mass market family readership.

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